Photo AI is awful and it won't replace photographers

Photo AI example photoshoot
(Image credit: Hannah Rooke)

Last week I had a massive rant about Photo AI – an AI image generator that claims to be able to save people money on expensive photoshoots. Instead, you can use Photo AI to "Create AI models (of yourself!) and do photo shoots in different poses, places, and styles" without even leaving your desk chair or sofa. With a turnaround time of 14 seconds, you might think it sounds too good to be true – and you’d be right! 

To make PhotoAI's software work you first need to upload at least 30 photos of yourself to train the AI machine. Of course, the more photos you upload the better, and it's recommended you upload photos from different angles with different expressions. It can take anywhere between 30 mins to an hour to train the software but once it's ready you can start generating your photoshoots.

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There are three ways to generate a set of images; you can either write a prompt where you describe how you want your model to look, where you want it set, and what clothes and position you want them in. Another method is called "Copycat photo" which enables you to upload an image and Photo AI will generate four images similar to it but with slight differences, and the third method is to design your photo shoot by choosing the style of shot (close up, medium, or wide), the body type, an outfit, a location, time of day, style of lightning, the expression on the model, and their age.

A selection of images I uploaded to train Photo AI (Image credit: Hannah Rooke)

Some of the options are pretty limited, for example when choosing an outfit you can't opt for common colors like green and you can't specify what shade of a color you want. 

While the images are not bad images, they are not an accurate representation of how I look and if I wanted to do a photoshoot for my website for example, I wouldn't be able to use these photos. It does do a pretty good job of turning text into a photo that fits the description but it doesn't look similar enough to me for it to be used in place of an actual photoshoot.

A selection of images based on my uploads  (Image credit: Hannah Rooke via Photo AI)

On first impressions, I'm pretty underwhelmed, sure, there are some similarities between the models and me in terms of hair color, cut, and face shape but there's no way I'd be able to use these images in place of images actually taken of me, especially for official documents (another of the site's claims). 

I'll continue to use it and train it with more photos to see how much it improves but photographers really have nothing to worry about. I don't see it ever replacing photoshoots – that's just a fantastical idea dreamed up by the creator. I'm pretty sure no self-respecting brand or business would ever see this as an alternative. 

If you didn't catch it, do read my reaction to Photo AI's marketing line (the rant I mentioned before), or – looked at it a bit differently – George Cairns reminds us we've all been using AI for years – we just didn't call it that. 

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Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.