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The End of Professional Photography

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Every year, I’ve had to hear about how a new technology was going to kill the photography industry. I ignored it all, until now. 

Smartphones are killing the camera market. In 2007, over 110 million digital cameras were sold, but in 2021, the world only bought 8.4 million. Phones are coming with multiple cameras that are capable of different focal lengths, macro, and long exposure photography, but of course, the real value is in the software. Photography software is becoming so good that it will soon be able to take any photo, of any quality, and make it great. Cell phones will always have a massive 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 scariest advancement in technology has happened in the last few weeks. Artificial intelligence art generators like MidJourney or Dall-E 2 have hit the market. These programs can instantly create world-class quality art for free by simply typing in a few keywords. You might 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 of the images below are not real people. They were not taken with a camera. These images were generated with a program, in seconds, for free. 

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Why would anyone go through the trouble of hiring a photographer, model, makeup artist, stylist, and location scout, when they can create something that looks better, instantly for free? 

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

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This is obviously not perfect yet, but I would never have guessed that this would be possible today. What happens when any person is able to scan their face with their phone, and then have a “photography generator” create world-class photos of themselves in any location, with any clothing, with any lighting, in any style? I never dreamed we would be here so fast, but this is right around the corner. 

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

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Subscribe to our YouTube channel and stay tuned on Fstoppers.com because I’m going to keep a close eye on this new technology over the next year. My goal is to figure out how to capitalize on it and share it with you. 

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