Photographer’s AI Side Hustle: Creating Unique Dog Posters

AI retro dog posters

There are many who say artificial intelligence is about to destroy photography as we know it — but one photographer is using it to earn a little cash on the side.

Before Jim Henderson took up photography at the age of 55 years old, he was an art director and he used his past creative endeavors for a bit of inspiration.

“I’ve always liked these kind of retro travel posters that I’ve seen over the years,” Henderson tells PetaPixel. “So I thought I would make a couple of travel-like posters using my two dogs and posted them to social media.”

AI-generated retro dog posters

AI-generated retro dog posters

AI-generated retro dog posters

People love their dogs. So, perhaps unsurprisingly, people started enquiring if Henderson could make the retro AI posters for their own pooches.

“I just started doing it on the side,” he explains. “It’s not my job. I’m still a photographer. It’s more of a hobby than anything but I enjoy doing them and people really like getting a nice piece of art of their dog.”

He says that right now it is not paying all the bills — far from it. But they are proving popular and he finds the process fun.

“People seem to get a lot of joy out of these. A fair amount of ones I do are for people whose dogs passed away and they like having something that’s not just a photo but something that looks a little bit more heroic,” he says.


It is possible to use a photograph as a prompt for AI image generators — but that’s not what Henderson does. Instead, he gets people who want a poster to fill out a profile sheet about their dog so he can understand their personality more to better inform the poster.

He does get reference photos sent over that were taken by the owners but they are used to inform his text prompt — rarely does he use them as a prompt.

“The AI is getting better and you can put an image of the dog into a prompt but it hasn’t worked out all that well and I’ve ended up using mostly just word prompts,” he says. “I’m not trying to duplicate a photo.”

AI-generated retro dog posters

AI-generated retro dog posters

AI-generated retro dog posters

The 69-year-old insists he’s “not very tech savvy” but he uses Midjourney which operates off of Discord.

“It’s really not that bad. There are a lot of people offering tips and advice out there. There is an art to a prompt. I don’t just type in a prompt and get the poster — it doesn’t work like that,” he says.

“I type in a prompt and it gives me something back and then I have to start refining it. Sometimes you just have to keep running and running and running — and rerunning.”

Henderson says when he’s creating a custom piece for someone it has to look like their dog.

“You can just plop in a picture of a golden retriever because body shapes are different and some are stocky, some are lean,” he says.

In fact, most of the time he has to take the AI image into Photoshop to perfect the picture and that’s why he thinks anyone doing this will get better results if they are a creative person and have an eye.

AI-generated retro dog posters

AI-generated retro dog posters

AI-generated retro dog posters

AI: Friend or Foe?

Henderson says that he will be winding his photo business down one day but adds that if he was 25 or 30 years old he would be concerned about AI.

“There’s definitely stuff that photographers shoot now that they won’t be shooting in five or 10 years time,” he says.

But Henderson doesn’t have as much disdain for AI as many other photographers do.

“The reality is: it’s here and you need to figure out how to work with it. It can definitely help a photographer in certain ways. You just have to figure out how to utilize it to the best of your abilities.”

More of Henderson’s work can be found on his website, Facebook, and Instagram.

Image credits: Jim Henderson.