Home Artificial Intelligence Why Headshots Taken by a Photographer Are Better Than AI

Why Headshots Taken by a Photographer Are Better Than AI

Real headshot, left, AI headshot, right.

The creative behind an AI photo booth says that it is still best to get a headshot taken by a real photographer.

Generation Z are said to love AI-generated headshots; after all, they are much cheaper and take less time than the traditional method.

But Nicholas Rhodes, who founded OutSnapped and has been a successful events photographer, tells PetaPixel that while AI can be great fun, there are multiple reasons why professional headshots should be done by a photographer.

“I think a headshot is a situation where you should be pretty honest about who you are, and AI is going to be a misrepresentation of that,” he explains.

“We all want that silver bullet that’s going to make life easier and cheaper and better. I don’t think that the AI headshot hits that.”

An advertising image for Outsnapped features male and female headshots alongside AI-generated renders of the same individuals. Text highlights the recommendation for original headshots by professional photographers and includes customization background options.

Rhodes has a patent-pending AI photo booth which is the first of its kind in event photography. A photo is taken and fed directly into an AI program that will render images of those people in any setting; whether it be in the style of Dutch painters or custom setting relevant to that particular group.

Rhodes, who ran the successful photo blog Nicky Digital, thinks that this type of fun imagery is a better use for AI than using it for a “headshot that sort of looks like you.”

“It’s about using the right tool for the right job. You wouldn’t use a sedan to try and tow another car, you would use a tow truck,” he tells PetaPixel over Zoom.

“So much about having your portrait taken is about the interaction between the photographer and the subject. It’s the photographer’s job to take an amazing photo and to make that person feel amazing, to feel confident, to feel beautiful, to feel handsome, any of those things.”

Moral Issues

Rhodes points out that if someone were to use an AI headshot on a dating website then it is “morally objectionable” because it is not actually you. And that’s before the inherent biases found in AI technology.

“One of the reasons why I don’t suggest artificial headshots is because AI is built on all of these biases,” he says. “So it’s likely the same thing that’s made you insecure your entire life because of society that’s going to show up in the photos.”

He says that there is false advertising around AI headshots because people only share one good one after going through 50 terrible ones.

“So people assume that AI headshots are very good, then they try themselves and they don’t get a thing that works,” says Rhodes.

“For example, we’ll do these C-suite events, which in America is often older bald white men and the AI will give them hair. Some of them will think it’s very funny and will joke about updating their dating profiles and the others get very offended.”

A guide titled "Corporate Blues" showcases how AI-generated renders transform generic photos into polished corporate headshots. The image compares an original male and female photo with their AI-generated versions in various poses and backgrounds.

Rhodes says that AI images can make people feel insecure about themselves and has seen “weird” instances where a person sees their AI image and declares it looks nothing like them but everyone else in the room will say they look exactly like that.

“And it’s very uncomfortable,” he adds. “Our experiences should make you feel good and have a good time. And as a result, I feel like this is kind of a lackluster experience.”

AI is Only Going to Improve

While the pitfalls of AI are obvious and numerous, the technology will only continue to improve and Rhodes believes we are moving into a world where AI headshots will replace photographers.

“I think AI will replace a lot of things, and that’s just one of them,” he says.

“I think it will never replace the human touch of a photographer but AI will look at a photo of a profile, a side shot, whatever, and give you this very predetermined output of what it thinks you should look like.”

Rhodes also predicts that society will expect less and less reality from an image.

“People under 30 are probably less afraid of AI and want to play with it because they’ve already done the Facetune filters, the AR things. These are things that they’ve grown up with.”

Image credits: Outsnapped.



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