Google has released a new product photography tool aimed at helping businesses to create their own high-quality images without the need for an “expensive” photographer.
Product Studio uses generative artificial intelligence (AI) to help merchants create better images of their wares in the e-commerce space.
The AI photo tool can create “custom product scenes” changing the background depending on the marketing needs. Google gave the example of a beauty product that was given a synthetic background of peaches and tropical plants.
Conversely, if a vendor has taken a photo with a messy background then it will remove the background and generate a plain white one instead.
Product Studio also offers the opportunity to improve the quality of a low-resolution image without having to reshoot or hire a professional.
“In e-commerce, eye-catching images are a business’s digital window displays — and merchants with the right mix of imagery online can get better results,” reads the announcement on the Google Blog.
“In fact, while many product offers on Google have just one image, we see an increase in both impressions (+76%) and clicks (+32%) for product offers that include more than one image.
“It’s not always easy to get a range of high-quality images, though. Businesses tell us creating lifestyle images gets expensive and time consuming.”
What Does This Mean for Photographers?
It’s easy to assume that Google launching a product like this spells bad news for photographers, who, as the press release reads are “expensive and time consuming.”
Bad news for product photographers. https://t.co/UDoqodj28s
— tom serre (@thomserre) May 23, 2023
It seems like Product Studio is aimed at small, independent sellers who in all likelihood will mostly try to do the photography themselves; many vendors simply don’t have a budget for photography.
Google is trying to help out these small-time players and it’s very difficult to gauge how much of an impact tools like this have on photographers’ livelihoods — but it is doubtful there are many professionals out there making their living from small merchant commissions.
Generative AI is suddenly a new major player in the photography space. It’s a fast-changing world but right now it appears as though photographers taking “general” photos — such as stock imagery, products, and lifestyle — could be most at risk from the new technology.