Artificial Intelligence Is Great, but Should It Affect Photographers Fees?

AI is making our lives easier, but is it starting to muddy the waters we wade in?

Artificial Intelligence, or AI for short, has come into the photography world with a vengeance. Not long ago, AI in cameras was limited to merely tracking an object. Now, AI in our cameras can detect and track the eyes of humans and animals. Some cameras have AI that can tell what animal or object you’re tracking. AI can help you focus stack in-camera. It can help create surreal long exposures and so much more. A photographer’s job has never been easier. We ask you this question. Since we’re doing less work, should we still charge as much for our services? Let’s talk about this after the break.

An article on The Next Web talks about how AI is changing thousands of people’s work lives. AI was starting to make its influence known a while back. The pandemic has now thrust it into the limelight. As many people have been left stranded at home, more companies have started to employ AI to do the work of those who cannot make it into work. Or, at the very least, it’s now being used to help those who cannot be in a specific location do their job. The article talks about UBI or Universal Basic Income and whether businesses should pay us UBI while AI does the bulk of the work. While the article isn’t directly related to photography, it made us think. As AI improves, should we charge our clients less? After all, we don’t have to do as much work. So, are clients getting their monies worth?

AI Raises Ethical Concerns

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence does raise some ethical concerns. Do people give as much for the money they earn as they did before AI made their lives easier? Are employers, or clients, really getting the most out of your expertise? You could easily see why a customer could question whether or not they are getting your all during a shoot. Are you as a photographer doing extra with the AI in your cameras, or are you just offering the same old shoots and doing less work? How does that sit with you? Do you feel like you have earned the same amount of money as before? Something like this will eat away at an honest, professional photographer. Unfortunately, some will just let it slide. Smart photographers, though, will be able to charge as much or even more if they find a way to make the most out of artificial intelligence.

Make Artificial Intelligence Work For You and Charge More Ethically

Artificial Intelligence

The answer doesn’t have to be that we should charge less. If you’re one of those photographers who will let AI basically do all the work for you while you just press a shutter, you should question your desire to be a photographer in the first place. Photography is all about creating. Photographers have been creating for decades, and they have made the most of the technology available to them. I think, for the most part, AI will not make this or the next generation of photographers lazier. Sure, there will be a few who will use it as an opportunity to slack off and still rake in cash. Still, this will be the exception, not the norm.

Smart photographers will use AI to their creative advantage. Artificial Intelligence is allowing us to perform more complex shoots. It’s opening up new avenues of creativity that simply didn’t exist before. I could name tons of photographers who are using AI technology in their cameras to create images that simply wouldn’t have been possible before.

Artificial Intelligence
The Sony a1 is packed with AI.

The technology in new cameras is there to make our lives easier. There’s no denying that. However, Don’t rest on laurels. Use the extra brainpower saved by not having to worry about focusing on new creative ideas. Come up with new techniques that will make your work stand out from the crowd and still rake in cash ethically. Let AI do the mundane tasks while you visualize the project and inspire your subjects. The only thing holding you back is your imagination. What do you think about the advances of AI and how it’s changing our work as photographers? Let us know in the comment section below.

Brett Day

Brett Day is the Gear Editor at The Phoblographer and has been a photographer for as long as he can remember. Brett has his own photography business that focuses on corporate events and portraiture. In his spare time, Brett loves to practice landscape and wildlife photography. When he's not behind a camera, he's enjoying life with his wife and two kids, or he's playing video games, drinking coffee, and eating Cheetos.