Will artificial intelligence take over photography?

Artificial intelligence and photography

Artificial intelligence has long been part of everyday conversation today. After all, technology is finding its way into more and more areas of our lives, so it's no longer absurd to talk to a machine - I'm talking to you, Siri! But the artificial intelligence is not only available in our digital voice assistants, it has also found its way into photography. Thanks to machine learning, our cameras are getting smarter and image editing programs are getting smarter. I'll take one thing straight up front: Artificial intelligence is by no means about to take on the role of the photographer. Rather, it is a wonderful support that helps us take better photos. Let's take a closer look at that.

Artificial intelligence has long since arrived in all areas of life

Anyone who believes that artificial intelligence and clever machines are just sci-fi material and dreams of the future are truly wrong, because they have long been part of our everyday lives. Artificial intelligence is generally a collective term that summarizes all non-human learning, approaches and problem solving. The aim is to teach a machine to “think” and react in a similar way to a human being. You can already see that in a wide variety of areas. Scientists have long been using games to test the intelligence of a computer. It all started with games like checkers, chess, go and jeopardy, but a breakthrough came in 2017 when a program defeated four professionals in the card game of poker. But what is the point of such a test? It's not just about letting a computer play a game. Rather, it is about the fact that a machine can make well-considered decisions, even with limited information, in order to act and react like a human in everyday situations. That's why Siri jokes us, Netflix suggests which movie to watch next, and our cameras show us how to get the most out of a snapshot.

Artificial intelligence in the camera

In photography, work is continuously being done to develop AI-supported functions that should make photography easier and the results better. The progress that is being made in this area is truly impressive. A look at the photos I take with my iPhone 12 Pro Max shows that. The software is so ingenious and excellently recognizes the object in numerous situations in order to adjust the settings accordingly and improve the picture. What exactly happens when you take a picture is really remarkable. With the shutter release, different exposures are made and combined and offset to make the photo shine. This is only possible thanks to machine learning or artificial intelligence that has learned how a good picture should look. This means that sometimes better photos are created on my iPhone than with my Sony!

The artificial intelligence has been fed huge amounts of data sets with which the program learns what a good photo looks like. This has now gone so far that cameras not only interpret the lighting conditions and colors, but can even recognize whether the object is a person, an item of clothing, a house or a cat in order to make the appropriate settings. This is impressive! And thanks to machine learning, the programs in the cameras are getting smarter and better at interpreting scenarios in the best possible way.

Simplified image editing through machine learning

But not only with the click of the shutter button is the artificial intelligence at hand as a helper, because the clever programs can also help the photographer significantly afterwards. The algorithms in image processing are getting better and better through machine learning and the effects that are partially achieved are really impressive. Is the picture too dark and the object not sufficiently illuminated? No problem, because in the image processing the program recognizes exactly how artificial light sources can be built into the photo afterwards. The algorithms of the programs are developed in such a way that they understand how, for example, color, lighting and composition work in order to achieve effective images. While some image editing programs help to optimize images, others can be used to fundamentally change images and add impressive effects. Another great thing is that you can easily erase people from the background in a photo. The program then calculates what the image would look like without the interfering object and makes them disappear as if they had never been there. Now nobody has to wait for hours until nobody is in the picture.

What artificial intelligence makes possible in photography is really impressive and helps both professional and amateur photographers significantly. But one thing must be said in any case: Artificial intelligence will never replace the creativity of a photographer, it will only support it in order to create even better photos.

Photos from Unsplash

13.05.2021