AI, Human Nuance, & The Art of Photography

March 12, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

1Y3A2679-Edit1Y3A2679-Edit I recently had the fantastic opportunity and privilege of being the event and headshot photographer for SmartWIN24 where I spent two days immersed in the world of some of the brightest and most talented people in the universe of architecture, engineering, and construction along with the team that develops growth strategies for these firms. Tangentially, I was thoroughly enjoying living one of my lifelong core philosophies: surround yourself with people who elevate you. From my view as a professional photographer, there was a compelling and complementary subject on the agenda.

There was a segment of the conference dedicated to artificial intelligence and its application in the AEC world. Prior to the presentation, the speaker, Scott Steiding, asked me about my experiences and opinions regarding AI in photography and its effect on my work. AI, and its application to enhance workflow and efficiency in probably every rote endeavor imaginable, has unlimited and spectacular potential as a force-multiplying tool. For example, the evolution and advancement of AI in the digital darkroom is a paradigm-shifting time-saver for working photographers. But, there is a potential conflict of perception here. It’s not that I’m looking for tools to do artificial enhancements of people, places, or things. Like everyone in a people-related, service profession, I’m looking to spend less time at my computer and more time with clients.

Quantum leaps in photo-processing AI have allowed this. But, like everything in creation, there is nuance to consider. We should never look to machine-learning artificial intelligence to replace the human connection, which is a grand element of photography. There is a self-evident and visceral need for people to interact. Without it, we die from the inside out. We die spiritually, intellectually, and physically. AI is an enhancement for work tasking, not a replacement for the workforce.

Great photography is made by the incomprehensible human mind and its singular ability to find the art and beauty in everything. The machinery involved is merely a conveyance of the art. AI can process digital imagery, enhance and even create photos and videos, and operate a camera, but it can’t connect with people. It can’t feel the emotion of a bride as she waits with her dad to walk down the aisle. It can’t empathize with a young mom dealing with a disinterested husband and unruly kids just trying to get family photos done. It can’t stand in front of an apprehensive new team member during their headshot session and put them at ease so that they are able to allow their confidence to shine through the reluctance. It absolutely cannot tell a story through imagery that isn’t immediately recognizable as inauthentic because there is an intrinsic element of beautiful asymmetry and imperfection in people that something lacking a soul cannot process.

For better and/or worse, AI is here and there’s no turning back. Partner with it and allow it to enhance your work through the completion of tasks. Do not allow the misperception that AI is a replacement for nuanced human capability to foster. To do this you must continuously work to demonstrate the value you bring to the arena of business. The human spirit is irreplaceable. Keep that fire burning.

 


Captured Moments

February 14, 2017  •  1 Comment

Those of you who know me personally know that I can be verbose, but no lengthy post from me today about Valentine's Day. Just a simple thought. Because of my job, I am constantly witnessing special moments - a laugh, a hug, a surprise, or just a simple glance that says it all. I see love shared between couples, between parents and kids, between best friends, between teammates, between brothers and sisters. Keep sharing that love, and thanks for sharing it with me. Happy Valentine's Day.

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Words of Praise from a Happy Bride

February 07, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

"Scott and Meredith felt like part of the family! We were so glad to have them there on our special day!" - Jen Cahill

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These are the words we love to hear! Our job is to create beautiful photos of the biggest day in your life, and we are able to do that by putting you at ease and making sure that you don't have to worry about the pictures.

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Jen was so sweet to leave this review on our Facebook page. She and her groom live in the Atlanta area and were traveling to Hilton Head for a Lowcountry wedding. We were not able to meet face-to-face before their wedding day, so there were plenty of emails and phone calls. Meredith felt a special connection to Jen since she is a teacher and Meredith is a former teacher. Then we learned that Sebastian's brother would be the celebrant. Learning details like this about the bride and groom and their families really helped us connect with them when we finally met on the day of the wedding. Plus, Jen's adorable personality just came shining through in our phone calls, and she was exactly as we imagined.

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So yes, by the time your wedding day arrives, we hope you consider us part of your family, because you are part of ours. 

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Joy & Prosperity!

January 04, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Happy New Year, all!

My greatest joy comes from the people I photograph and the moments that are shared among friends and family. Moments are the essence of what I do. Video is a long story in motion, but photographs stop one moment in time and give it to you forever. A first look between bride and dad at her wedding. A shy teenager realizing how unique and amazing they are during a senior session. An extended family coming together from around the globe for their parents' anniversary. A young mother-to-be with that special maternity glow. Can you believe how wonderful and extraordinary my days are?!?! You trust me and invite me into these moments and I make sure you can look back at them whenever you wish.

A new groom bear-hugged me at his reception and said, "You capture these memories for us and give us memories of the things we didn't even see!"

A father-of-the-bride found me while I was packing up my gear and said, "I looked down and you were on your back on the floor in the middle of the dance circle taking pictures. That's what I'm talking about!"

When seeing his gallery for the first time, the mom of a grumpy teenager said, "I haven't seen him smile like that since he was little. How did you do that?"

Those moments, and so many others, are what bring me joy. And with joy comes prosperity. That is what I wish you all in 2017. Joy and prosperity!

-Scott

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Home of the Brave

July 04, 2016  •  1 Comment

A couple of months ago  I was contacted by a client whose husband was due home from his latest deployment, and she wanted photos of his homecoming. I was happy to hear from Keri. We had tried this once before, but Beau's arrival date was up in the air and I was already booked up, so it didn't work out. This time was going to be different. Very different.

I soon received an email from Beau. Keri told him that she had hired a photographer to capture his return to Bluffton, but she was not aware of his plans for a surprise homecoming. So the tables were turned, and after weeks of plotting emails among friends and neighbors, everyone knew their role, and it was time for Beau to come home.

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It was a true celebration, and I was honored to capture Beau's return home to his friends and family. I hope all of you have enjoyed celebrations of your own this Independence Day!

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