WORST Photoshop update for photographers EVER! (even in Beta)

Jun 6, 2023

Chris Parker

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

WORST Photoshop update for photographers EVER! (even in Beta)

Jun 6, 2023

Chris Parker

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

Join the Discussion

Share on:


Did you hear the news?

There’s this new fantastic AI tool in Photoshop that is going to… Blow. Your. Mind. Or is it?

Every top creator has been saying roughly the same thing about Photoshop’s new AI technology, which includes a Midjourney-like app directly in Photoshop they call Firefly.

They’re saying things like OMG, this is the best thing ever, blah, blah, blah.

Well, I’m not so impressed. I think it’s the WORST Photoshop update for photographers EVER.

Yes, it’s just Beta, and it will get better in time. But, the art of photography is doomed.

However, even if the results were perfect one hundred percent of the time, I don’t see myself using it.

Why? Well, I’ll let you know why at the end.

Adobe Didn’t Tell You This…

You need to know something critical about Photoshop’s Generative Fill that no one talks about.

And that is, Adobe is stealing your photos. Well, maybe not stealing, but they are analyzing and using your images to improve Generative Fill.

You probably didn’t know that, did you?

Here’s a “help” article that Adobe quietly put out that basically says… that Adobe performs content analysis on content processed or stored on Adobe’s servers. In other words, to use Generative Fill, you must be connected to the internet so Adobe can see and analyze your image to give you your desired results and improve their technology.

That last part, “or stored on Adobe’s servers…” is quite interesting, isn’t it? Does that mean if you’re using their Creative Cloud photo storage, they’re analyzing those images too? That’s how I read it. How ’bout you?

Adobe didn’t ask for your permission to analyze your photos. You’ve already been automatically enrolled!

You didn’t know that? Well, check this out…

…go into your Adobe account, navigate to Account and Security, click on Privacy and personal data, and under Content analysis, it says… “Adobe may analyze your content using techniques such as machine learning to develop and improve our products.” Wow, so they are using our images without our initial consent!

To disable consent, click on the switch.

Adobe content analysis
Adobe content analysis approval

For transparency, Adobe has said the following…

“Adobe takes your privacy seriously. Your Privacy is maintained during content analysis for product improvement and development. None of your content is included in our products or services unless you make them public.”

Ok, fine, but I still don’t wish to have images of my kids analyzed. Or my paying portrait and wedding clients since they haven’t given me permission for this type of use via the contracts they’ve already signed.

Generative Fill Low Res Output?

The next reason I’m not a big fan of Generative Fill is that, at this time, results are limited to a resolution of 1024×1024, meaning the output is only suitable for online use. And this is understandable when you factor in what it probably costs Adobe to run this AI technology on their servers and the fact that it’s not costing us anything extra… yet.

Does anyone honestly believe that Adobe will eat the costs of running the servers once this becomes universally available? I doubt it since their costs will probably increase once they remove the resolution limits and more photographers have easy access to it. How much is Generative Fill going to cost? Another ten dollars per month, twenty, fifty? Or will there be a tier system where you can process “x” images per month?

Also, I’ve read that the content they’re sourcing from is through their Adobe Stock agency. And they plan to compensate photographers for having their images used with this AI technology to ensure copyrights are not infringed upon. Enjoy it while it’s free!

Generative Fill Produces Horrible Results!

The last reason I’m not a big fan of Generative Fill is because it doesn’t suit my current needs.

Plus, I guess you could say I’m an old-school photographer. And I have no interest in being a digital artist. I elaborate a little with images from some of the top Photoshop instructors via the video tutorial below.

Russel Brown from the Adobe Photoshop channel

I’ll admit, this composite from Russel Brown that he created with Generative Fill is pretty awesome.

YouTube video

Aaron from Phlearn

Aaron from Phlearn also showed off several images and how easy it is to add content. Although the results are somewhat impressive…

…to me, once you add a photo or two or more and place them into another photo, it’s a composite. Not a photograph!

Generative Fill is probably a dream come true if you’re into creating composites or digital art. I have no desire to do these types of composites.

YouTube video

Change Background

Aaron also showed how easy it is to replace the background. Again, to me, not that impressive.

If I was commissioned to create a portrait with a dark, moody feel in a forest, guess what…

… I’m going to shoot that on location. I find no joy in compositing another image to achieve what is possible while shooting.

Remove a Person

For this image, Aaron showed how easy it is to remove someone from a photo.

This is a little more practical. Although, if I were doing street photography, a commissioned portrait, or a wedding shot, I would do my best to get it right in camera…

  • by either asking the person in the back to move
  • or reposition my subject
  • or change my position and/or perspective… to name a few

Changing Clothes

What about changing someone’s attire?

I saw Unmesh over at Piximperfect do a demo of changing outfits, and although the results were decent, I think he chose a safe image to demo Generative Fill.

YouTube video

The demo by Colin Smith at photoshopCafe… is a little more complex, and the final results are awful.

YouTube video

Canvas Fill

The one feature I could benefit from in Generative Fill is using it to expand a Canvas.

Sometimes, when shooting wildlife, I’m presented with a situation of capturing the moment or skipping it.

This was the case when photographing this juvenile Burrowing Owl that was trying to take off for the first time.

This was in a field next to some homes, and there was a PVC pipe sticking out of the ground with a warning sign about not disturbing the owls.

I’ll probably use Generative Fill on less than one percent of my images.

Original image prior to Generative Fill. PVC pipe is clearly visible.
Original image before Generative Fill. PVC pipe is clearly visible.
Canvas expanded and filled with Generative Fill. Not bad!
Canvas expanded and filled with Generative Fill. Not bad!

Generative fill is not perfect.

In the end, I guess I’m old school and like to get it right, as much as possible, in camera, which I’ve done for the past thirty-plus years.
For those needing this technology more than myself…

… you’ll still have to master Color Grading, dodging and burning, and more to get the best results.

At least based on my testing and what I’ve seen from other creators.

I’m a dinosaur

Back in 2001, I embraced digital photography. Twenty-two years later, I’m now a dinosaur. The “Art of Photography” is becoming a thing of the past with each passing year, and with the advancement of AI technology, it’s, well, who knows what photography will look like in five or ten years.

About the Author

Chris Parker is a photographer and educator based in Hollywood, CA. You can see more of his work, and learn quite a bit on his website here. This article was also published here and shared with permission.

Filed Under:

Tagged With:

Find this interesting? Share it with your friends!


We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

Join the Discussion

DIYP Comment Policy
Be nice, be on-topic, no personal information or flames.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

9 responses to “WORST Photoshop update for photographers EVER! (even in Beta)”

  1. Libby Sutherland Avatar
    Libby Sutherland

    I’m an old timer too having come from 4×5 film during my young years. But I have found Gen Fill very useful. Especially for a recent architecture project where my only choice was to shoot the full front facade tight. I was able to use Fill to build out the sides a small bit. Took multiple attempts to get things right, but after some trials I got acceptable output. It’s your choice to use or not use. It’s just new technology, just like digital cameras were at one time.

  2. Offline Rulez Avatar
    Offline Rulez

    Quote https://helpx.adobe.com/manage-account/using/machine-learning-faq.html#CanIturnoffoptoutofmachinelearning: “[…] When does content analysis opt-out not apply? […] Certain beta, prerelease, or early access products or features. […]”.

    So for those ofyou using Adobe Photoshop Beta Generative Fill: Tough luck. Enjoy subscription trap!

  3. DPWL Avatar

    To the author, time has changed ‘photography’. Photography is an art, it’s not up to you to judge whether if it’s someone’s art is a poison or vitamin pill. Broaden your horizons and learn to accept and adapt. I’m pretty sure you’re one of those people that can’t even identify whether a photo has been edited or unedited. Because of technology, photography has become more than just a photo. However the essence of photography remains the same. Of course, this by definition might be different from one’s perspectives. As the old saying goes, “a picture paints a million words”, that’s the essential part of photography which have remained. I.e. sending a “message” from a photo whether it be edited or unedited.

  4. Makita Macaw Avatar
    Makita Macaw

    First of all, there is no such thing as personal information or any form of privacy on the internet. Once an image hits your computer it’s available to anyone who knows how to extract data. And finally, Gen Fill is simply another tool to assist in your workflow. All you puritan photographers get used to it. AI is only going to get better.

  5. Steven Gotz Avatar
    Steven Gotz

    I am 70 years old, so draw your own conclusions. 😀

    I think that all of this Ai generation excitement will eventually fade away and will become just another tool in the photographer’s toolbox. In much the same way that highly overdone HDR and selective color has become much less common.

    I photograph people and zoo animals more than anything else. People photos are about the person, and more specifically, the expression on their face. Ai is not a lot more help there than the current tools we have. The zoo uses my photos of their animals because of my patience and skill in getting the peak of action or facial expressions. No real help from Ai there.

    When we can submit a dozen photos of a specific person or animal and then, based on those images, get a totally new set of photos where even the photographer is not sure if it was one of theirs, that is when I start to worry. But that could happen pretty darn soon.

  6. Hearl Fesches Avatar
    Hearl Fesches

    Seems like Photoshop has evolved. Now, it is become more like a giant, sprawling toy for people–who can’t take crowd-pleasing pictures with their cameras–to play with.
    I would now expect disparaging responses from “professionals” who will go on and on about wedding shoots or wildlife or whatever, like they all work for National Geographic or something.
    This is all getting tiresome. I read an article, here, maybe, about a wedding where all the guests were given cameras and all the wedding pictures consisted solely of pictures taken by them. How refreshing that would be.
    Hoping, wishing, that “photography” will move in that direction. In other words, some direction that Photoshop can’t figure out how to monetize.
    We need to ask ourselves what are we doing.


    No disrespect to the author but he will not last worry long if he has this mindset About this New era of Photography..

  8. Schuyler Grace Avatar
    Schuyler Grace

    Wow! I’ve only just started playing with GF, and I find this author’s take ignorant at worst and ill-informed at best. I think it’s going to be a valuable tool in the Photoshop kit, even if I won’t likely be using it to its fullest. Of course, Adobe analyzes the images you wish to use the tool with; how else would they be able to accomplish what GF does? And if they are using them to train their AI what a tree is or how rocks look or how a sweater drapes, that’s part of the process. The pixel “limitation” isn’t a limitation at all and is easily dealt with, just like using workarounds with other Photoshop tools to get the job done.

    This article sounds more like sour grapes to me, along with a critique of Adobe’s business model, rather than a review of a new product (and one that’s in beta, at that). Why not give an introduction to and overview of the product, reminding readers that this is AI technology which uses their images to help train the AI, and letting the reader decide it the tool is something they wish to use, instead of going on the tired rant about how this tool and Adobe are going to ruin everything? There are, after all, other image editing tools out there, and even if you use Photoshop, you don’t have to use GF.

  9. Jolyon Ralph Avatar
    Jolyon Ralph

    No-one’s forcing you to use it!