Google unveiled Product Studio, a new tool that makes it easier to create product photos, but sadly, reduces the need for product photographers. With the help of generative AI, sellers will be able to create any setting they want for their product images.
The new tool was announced during a Google Marketing Live event, and the company plans to integrate it into Merchant Center Next, Google’s platform designed for businesses to manage how their product appear on Google. The goal is to empower brands by providing them with a cost-effective way to create, or better to say generate, captivating product imagery. No elaborate photoshoots, no models (hi Levi’s), no expensive gear – just you, your product, your camera – and some AI magic.
With Google’s Product Studio, you can change the setting of your shot and create the background or props that you want in your images. You can also remove distracting backgrounds from images. If your photo has a busy or unsuitable background, you can seamlessly replace it with a plain white backdrop. The tool even lets you enhance the image quality and upscale small or low-resolution images.
Product Studio will become accessible to merchants in the United States within the upcoming months. It will extend its availability to those utilizing Google and YouTube apps on Shopify.
Pros and cons
I see both the good and the bad sides of AI tools like this – but if I look at them from two different perspectives.
As a creative who makes all kinds of handmade items, I know many people who do the same. They’re not big companies and corporations. They’re regular people like you and me, running their small business alone or with the help of one or two people. They often do everything: they’re their own bosses, social media managers, accountants, photographers, and whatnot.
Most of these people can’t afford a professional photographer, let alone an elaborate photo session for their products. Many of them can’t find enough time for photo shoots. For them, Product Studio and similar tools could really make life easier and save them some money and time.
On the other hand, I was a photographer before I started doing embroidery, crocheting, and other “granny hobbies.” :) And as a photographer, I don’t like this much use of AI at all. Just like other creators and artists, photographers live from their skill and knowledge too. A clothes designer charges for their items, and you charge for taking professional photos of them. And what happens when they switch to using AI-based tools for product photos? Well, you lose your job.
I’ve always thought that AI couldn’t replace genuine human contact, opinions, and connection. It can’t replace your unique style of photography and the story you tell with your photos – they come from your own authentic experience. And I firmly believe this will never change (unless AI develops consciousness, but then we’ll have bigger problems).
However, AI tools do help companies, big and small, to save a lot of money –so many of them choose to go down this path. I can’t blame them, especially if they’re micro businesses and one-man bands, but I can’t help but feel replaceable as a photographer.
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