The end of professional photography

Every year I hear that some new technology is going to kill the photography industry. I ignored everything, until now.

Smartphones are killing the camera market. In 2007, over 110 million digital cameras were sold, but in 2021 the world bought only 8.4 million. The phones come with multiple cameras capable of different focal lengths, macro and long exposure photography, but of course the real value is in the software. Photography software is getting so good that it will soon be able to take any photo, of any quality, and make it look great. Mobile phones will always have a huge advantage over dedicated cameras because they are connected to the internet. They have direct access and the processing power to run the software that will change the industry in the future.

The most frightening technological advancement has happened in the past few weeks. Artificial intelligence art generators like MidJourney or Dall-E 2 have appeared on the market. These programs can instantly create world-class quality artwork for free just by typing in a few keywords. You may think this will destroy the graphic design and illustration industry, but what does this have to do with photography? Well, new updates allow these programs to create photorealistic images.

All pictures below are not of real people. They were not taken with a camera. These images were generated with a program, in seconds, for free.

Why would anyone bother to hire a photographer, model, makeup artist, stylist, and location scout, when they can create something that looks better, instantly, and for free?

And I know what you’re thinking, “photographers” will always be needed to take photos of real people, like a celebrity on the cover of a magazine or a photo for a website. Oh really? These programs allow you to upload pictures of faces and then create new art with those people.

It’s obviously not perfect yet, but I never imagined it would be possible today. What happens when a person is able to scan their face with their phone, then a “photograph generator” creates world-class photos of themselves in any location, with n any garment, with any lighting, in any style? I never imagined we would be here so quickly, but it’s just around the corner.

You will soon have to pivot. You’re going to have to embrace this new technology or, like all my filmmaker friends who refused to learn Photoshop, your work will eventually dry up as well.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel and stay tuned to Fstoppers.com as I will be keeping a close eye on this new technology over the next year. My goal is to figure out how to take advantage of it and share it with you.


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