Here’s Why You Need To Invest in This AI Retouching Software

AI editing software is becoming more and more popular among photographers. The main advantages are that these types of software perform complex tasks quickly and at a relatively high level. This actually saves a lot of time, and it is this time saving that can be extremely valuable.

Editing is a waste of time and money

In my experience as a photographer, I’ve found that image editing as a term of a contract is pretty much expected. I was never able to negotiate the retouching process as an individually billable service. There is also the question of the end results and what you want to present to the client. If retouching was a separate service, some customers might not want to pay for it, leaving you with potentially bad results. Our creative ego basically forces us to retouch the images we take.

The problem is that the time you spend editing your images does not pay you anything back. This time cannot be used to find new customers. You’re also stuck behind a screen instead of doing your job as a photographer. Basically, the more time you spend editing your images, the less time you have to generate more revenue.

Interestingly, this is one of the main reasons why so many professional photographers hire retouchers. For a fee, you can send all your images to a retoucher who will edit your photos while you continue to work and earn more money.

Unfortunately, this is not an option for all photographers. Depending on the budget of your projects, it may not be possible to hire a retoucher. However, the time you spend editing your images is still a cost that needs to be controlled and minimized. This is where AI software such as Imagen can come in extremely handy.

What is Imagen?

Imagen is an artificial intelligence software that works with Adobe Lightroom Classic. The software works seamlessly with Lightroom thanks to the cataloging system. Imagen is able to work with images already imported into Lightroom. Once the images are imported, you close Lightroom and start working in Imagen.

Software landing page

The landing page of the software is clear and easy to understand. There are several things you can access from this page. However, if you are starting the software for the first time, you can create your own profile. Imagen learns how you like to edit based on images you’ve imported into Lightroom.

For example, if you’re a wedding photographer, you probably have your own style of editing that you’ve developed over the years. Imagen calls these creator AI profiles. If you edit your images in Lightroom, Imagen will be able to read the edits you normally make and create your own profile. Ideally, you’ll want to have a minimum of 5,000 images that you can feed into the software to learn your style. This is not necessary if you plan to use Imagen’s Talent AI profiles.

If you don’t have at least 5,000 images available for the software to create your own profile, the new update offers a great alternative. You have access to the editing profiles of several well-known and established photographers. Imagen calls these Talent AI Profiles. You have the option to switch between profiles depending on the style you prefer.

After these initial startup steps, the AI ​​photo editing software is ready to go. What’s great is that as your style changes, you can keep feeding more images into the software and your Creator AI profile will also update with you.

It’s obviously great if you’re still just starting out as a photographer. At the start of your career, chances are you don’t have a set style or you don’t have 5,000 images available. Therefore, you can audition the profiles on the website and choose the one you like. Once you find a profile you like, you add the profile and then simply select the images you want to edit into that specific style.

How does Imagen work?

As the name suggests, Imagen uses artificial intelligence to apply changes to your images. The algorithm doesn’t just apply the same settings to all your images like a preset would. Instead, the software will review all of your images and, based on the type of edits you would normally make, Imagen will quickly apply edits to a large number of images.

For example, lighting conditions can change very quickly depending on the type of photography you are doing. This is especially the case if you are shooting in natural light. A preset would not be able to compensate for changes in lighting conditions. Imagen, on the other hand, will be able to tell how much editing is needed on each image based on how it was taken.

For example, highlight and shadow recovery can vary greatly from image to image. The software takes this into account and applies the adjustments accordingly. Of course, this largely depends on the type of images you provide to the algorithm or the type of profile you select. This software will continue to build your profile even if your style starts to change over time.

The results

The results are what matters most, and so far they have been impressive. I chose to use one of the built-in profiles because, as someone who doesn’t photograph weddings, I don’t have thousands upon thousands of edited images of one genre that I can give to the software. My favorite field is architectural photography and portrait photography.

For this particular editing session, I selected my quick collection and gave the photo set a name. The filters section allows you to control which images will be edited. You can also select or deselect certain options to control the type of edits applied to your images.

The profile I selected was Susan Stripling’s Clean & Crisp profile. The profile produces a subtle, warm result which I think works well enough for the type of portraits I take. Below is the unmodified image that I will use to demonstrate how the software works.

What is impressive is the time it took the software to edit 186 images. The fact that Imagen was able to finish editing almost 200 frames in just a few minutes is remarkable. Obviously, one would assume that larger batches of images will take longer; however, I doubt an individual editor could work that fast. Again, it should be noted that the software edited each image individually.

In the screenshot above you can see some of the changes applied to the image. Not only did the software make color changes, but it made smart choices when it came to lighting and even image geometry.

Final Thoughts

Imagen is not for everyone. In my opinion, this software is probably more effective for photographers who shoot a lot of weddings. Many wedding photographers do most, if not all, of their editing in Lightroom. There may be particular images that they spend a bit more time on in Photoshop, however, Lightroom is probably the primary software. Based on this, Imagen is something you simply cannot ignore.

Admittedly, the software requires an initial investment of time and effort when getting started and creating your own profile. However, it is definitely worth it as the results are fantastic.

Hiring a retoucher is also an option, although this can end up being very expensive. Also, an external retoucher may not edit your images the way you want. With Imagen, you don’t have any of these issues because it uses your style to produce a profile and it’s great value for money.

The price for the software is 5 cents per photo you edit. There is a minimum monthly fee of $7 per month, but this monthly amount is still applied to any images you edit. If you don’t edit enough images in a month to use up the $7, the remaining amounts will roll over to the next month.

Ultimately, ImagenAI is an amazing tool and considering the price, it’s something every wedding photographer should invest in.

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