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UPDATED: 6 February 2023 | PUBLISHED: 9 November 2022
- Quick Details
- All Aboard - Why Try AI Photo Editing Software?
- Is Utilising AI to Edit Photos Cheating?
- AI Editing or Presets: Which is Better?
- Video Review: Imagen 'Vs' PHAiTO
- Aftershoot Edits (in Beta)
- But What About Human Photo Editors?
- Post Partner: Hybrid Photo Editing - Humans Using AI
- What Are You Waiting For?
I'm talking best AI batch photo editing software for professional photographers.
Not AI photo enhancer apps or one-by-one image editing software utilising Artificial Intelligence (AI).
That's what typically pops up in 'best AI photo editing software' style posts online...but they're only so helpful.
They're presenting a bit of a mixed bag of photo programs utilising AI.
Instead, let's take a look at AI batch photo editing softwares for working photographers needing premium, speedy output combined with the somewhat plug-and-play convenience AI offers.
The programs listed here aim to speed up and streamline your editing workflow; to reduce hours of laborious photo editing work down to potentially minutes.
So if you find yourself overwhelmed with the amount of photos you have in your 'to edit' pile and / or fast becoming disinterested in the photo editing process, I strongly encourage you to get on board the AI batch photo editing train.
It's fast picking up speed.
No time to read it all?
|Editing||Crop + Straighten|
|Imagen||.05c ea.||01c ea.|
|PHAiTO||.15c ea.||Straighten only: .01c ea.|
|Aftershoot Edits||(free while in beta)||(free while in beta)|
|batch.ai||$29.99 p/m OR $64.99 p/a||N / A|
|Imagen||✅|||||$7 p/m min. Unused credit carries over|
|PHAiTO||🚫|||||Pay as you go. 15c p/image|
|Aftershoot Edits||❓|||||(free while in beta)|
|batch.ai||✅|||||Annual *'unlimited' photos: $64.99 USD or 3 p/m tiers starting at $29.99 USD|
|Imagen||1,500 free edits|
|PHAiTO||500 free edits|
|Aftershoot Edits||(free while in beta)|
|batch.ai||500 free edits|
Best Suited To
AI batch photo editing softwares were no doubt created with bulk shooters in mind i.e. weddings predominantly.
But there's no one style or genre they're ultimately better suited to.
TIP: You don't need to be a high-volume photographer to benefit from AI batch photo editing software.
I highly recommend all photographers try AI photo editing. It's free and you'll find out pretty quickly whether it'll suit your work and workflow...or not.
- IMAGEN: Photographers who either want to A) outsource and speed up editing while maintaining their existing style; or B) photographers looking to adopt and customise other photographers' 'quick styles' (aka Talent Profiles) for their own auto editing. Great for those who prefer smaller monthly payments
- PHAiTO: Photographers who want to outsource and speed up their classic / neutral style of editing AND / OR those who want to continue using presets but don't want to do all the basic editing work prior to. Great for those who prefer paying on a per image basis i.e. smaller volume photographers
- batch.ai: Photographers who want to outsource and speed up their editing but still have manual control on a per shoot basis. batch.ai users enjoy editing a selection of images (aka anchor images) per shoot from scratch. Great for those who want to pay one lower fixed price annually for an 'unlimited' amount of photo edits (capped at 600k)
- Aftershoot Edits: Currently unknown who it's best suited for but if you're already a happy Aftershoot culling user, you'll likely stay in that ecosystem
All Aboard - Why Try AI Photo Editing Software?
There's certainly nothing to lose that won't be gained back once you find the best batch AI photo editing software for your needs and workflow.
They're typically free to trial so the only initial 'cost' involved is your time - a small investment now to make a large gain moving forwards.
TIP: You might find the very concept of AI technology intimidating, but keep in mind it's doing aaaaall the techy bits behind the scenes for you; let the bots do the work for you.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to use AI-powered software 🚀🙅🏻♀️.
In fact, it's essentially the opposite: AI is there to help make the hard work easy for you.
"AI editing - it's not software you have to manipulate yourself and go through each picture one-by-one. It's a process of sending off a Lightroom catalogue and going away and having a cup of tea. By the time you've had your cup of tea, the pictures are back and edited.- Steve Gerrard, Photographer, "The FUTURE of Photo Editing?" Imagen & PHAiTO Review
Is Utilising AI to Edit Photos Cheating?
Another objection some photographers might come up against is the whole 'art' argument; the idea that using the assistance of a 'machine' to produce your photography is somehow cheating or lazy or inauthentic.
I get it.
But I get the value of time more 😊.
Plus, we've been using all sorts of tools and programs to help us further refine and improve the photos we take for a long time. It's nothing new.
That and the primary premise of AI batch photo editing software is it typically uses the power of your existing style and editing ability to operate.
Or you train it over time to edit in the same way you do.
"I'm not a fan of AI technology...I do not want AI doing everything for me. However, I became curious and started looking into the new AI software. It is quite amazing - I'll admit - and does photos in minutes or seconds still being able to customise how the user wants the image to look. I feel very torn on this."- Laura Birch, Photographer, NorthNodeWanderlust
Photographers have been buying and using other photographers' presets and/or outsourcing their editing for as long as it's been possible to do so.
Utilising the power of AI batch photo editing is essentially the same thing...with a souped-up level of sophistication and function.
If you think presets are good, wait till you try AI-powered editing software ✨.
It's next level.
Your face will go like this: 😮.
QUICK TIP: Your clients do not care who or what edits your photos or how long it takes. All they want is an excellent finished product ✅.
"My clients aren't generally aware culling or editing time even exists...They think the rate they're paying me is for time on site and generally have no idea of the time it takes on the back end to deliver photos. Any tool that improves my workflow is a good business decision in my mind."- Bill Rush, Photographer
AI Editing or Presets: Which is Better?
So you've heard of editing presets right?
Let me put it plainly: they don't compare to AI editing software.
Presets certainly can be helpful - they can also be a total disappointing money pit (#sadtruth).
Basic premise though is they apply another photographer's editing 'recipe' to your photos to achieve a particular finished look.
That recipe though, is set in stone.
AI batch photo editing software like Imagen works sort of like presets but in reverse: instead of applying a fixed set of editing instructions to varying images in the hope of making them look uniform, it applies dynamic, individualised editing instructions to varying images to achieve a genuinely uniform finished look.
The latter won out in the end and my AI photo editing journey began with Imagen.
You have two 'paths' to choose between when utilising Imagen:
- Make your own Creator Profile: upload at least 3000 edited photos (inside a Lightroom catalogue[s]) and automatically 'train' Imagen to edit exactly the way you do
- Start straight away with a Talent Profile: utilise one of the pre-built profiles from other professional photographers who've partnered with Imagen. (Preview all Talent Profiles HERE.)
When it's time for you to get batch processing, submit your Lightroom catalogue of unedited RAW files for editing, take a drink or bathroom break, and wait for the magic to happen.
Individual images are edited at a lightning fast speed of 0.33 seconds.
That equates to some 1,500 photos in just 10 minutes 😮 (pending your internet speed).
It's literally unbelievable until you experience it for yourself.
You can get 1,500 free edits to trial with Imagen...so get 'ta experiencing!
Given it's speed and ability, Imagen is surprisingly user-friendly 🙌🏼.
It's faaaar simpler.
More plug-and-play because the AI is doing all the intricate, techy editing stuff in the background. You're just feeding it the LR catalogue(s) to work with.
Imagen returns edited photos anywhere between 80-95% complete.
You check over them making any further tweaks or localised adjustments then call it a day.
A fine-tuning feature is also available, which allows you to re-submit catalogues you've tweaked and Imagen reprograms itself to be even more accurately akin to your personal style and editing preferences.
In other words: the more you use Imagen, the better it gets.
Price wise, Imagen charge .05c per image (and an additional .01c each if you'd like AI cropping and straightening too). There's a minimum $7 USD charge per month and any unused credit remains yours moving forwards.
Having mastered the AI batch photo editing game, Imagen added AI culling ability to their arsenal too. It's currently in beta and free to use.
"The quality from PHAiTO's end is fantastic and really only needs some quick adjustments. It's perfect for somebody that's hesitant to outsource the whole editing process as you still have some control and can put your personal touch on the images."- James Groat, Photographer
(I wonder how this isn't a case of potentially cannibalising your own successful human photo editor business model 🤷🏻♀️.)
Rather than learning from your personal editing style, PHAiTO offers 4 pre-programmed 'looks' to choose from - each an adjusted version of natural / neutral so if you like your edits to be clean and true to life, it gives you a solid starting point:
- CLASSIC: the most popular PHAiTO look (and typically the best option for adding presets onto)
- LIGHT & AIRY: to mimic Fuji 400H film. Slight matte and desaturated look
- DARK & MOODY: to mimic Kodak Portra. Increased contrast and grain
- PUNCHY: neutral with extra saturation and contrast
For those who use and love presets, PHAiTO makes a great starting point on top of which to add a preset and they encourage photographers to do this.
PHAiTO's edits are more 'safe' and neutral - the kind of you-can't-go-too-wrong sort of thing 👍🏼.
Something like Imagen offers a selection of clean and neutral editing styles too, as well as some more eclectic, stylised looks.
This can go both ways: you could love 'em or hate 'em (though with umpteen Talent Profiles to choose from, it's a pretty safe bet something will appeal ✅. That, or just build your own custom Creator Profile and you're on your way).
Video Review: Imagen 'Vs' PHAiTO
NOTE: Imagen pricing is cheaper than mentioned (currently .05c) and the amount of photos required to build your own Creator Profile has lessened to 3000 edits, rather than the 5000 Steve cites (which was correct at the time of recording. Software improvements in November 2022 allowed for the significant reduction).
Aftershoot Edits (in Beta)
In photography circles, Aftershoot is pretty well known for its AI culling prowess.
(You can also check out FilterPixel and Narrative Select if batch culling is what you're after. Imagen currently offers free AI culling too. It hit the market with editing ability only and quickly developed AI culling ability to follow.)
In terms of AI batch photo editing though, Aftershoot Edits is relatively new to the game.
Still in beta in fact...but you can join the waitlist to be the first to know when it goes into full release.
If you want a ticket on the AI batch photo editing software train right now though, first stop: Imagen.
Should you already be in the Aftershoot ecosystem however and familiar / happy with how it functions, you may prefer to wait.
They offer either per month pricing (three tiers available ranging from USD $29.99 - $129.99 pending number of photos edited and number of devices being used).
There's also a fixed price, 'unlimited' annual plan (capped at 50k images per month) across 3 different devices for USD $64.99.
Fortunately you can adjust or pause your subscription any time as needed.
And in these subscription-heavy times, that's always a welcome feature ✅.
You can try batch.ai for free and receive 500 free edits.
Where Imagen edits an entire shoot or set of images once you upload the corresponding LR catalogue of unedited images, batch.ai requires you to edit a series of what they call 'anchor images' before any AI work begins.
So you spend a few minutes setting up each batch of photos for processing (by way of editing your anchor images to your preference) then you hand over the work to batch.ai.
It's the power of the LR syncing function on steroids and topped with individual AI fine-tuning per image.
From shoot to shoot, you demonstrate how you want things edited and batch.ai follows suit.
"I thought I'd give batch.ai a go on a small wedding gallery, as you get a free trial for 500 images. On most [photos], I still have to do a bit of adjusting - I probably need to edit more anchor images to help it along - but I was pleasantly surprised with the edit that it applies...I can see this technology will definitely help a LOT of people out. My editing is a little more bespoke so I'm not a hundred percent sold, but it's still pretty cool!"- Melissa Crisa, Little Miss Liss Photography
You could call it smart business in this transitional period between 'old' and new ways of outsourced editing.
(You could also call it straddling the fence 😊.)
But What About Human Photo Editors?
Some photographers may prefer to hire or contract on a per job or ongoing basis to real people for their photo editing needs.
And it's great to support that part of our industry if you're a people person; if you want personal contact and a personal touch - both literally and figuratively.
"We're looking for an editor and whilst I appreciate there are a lot of services and companies out there that do this work, I'm looking for someone that we can connect with. The relationship to me is just as important as the work itself."- Garth Kirky, Photographer
Obviously too, if you're outsourcing for retouching purposes, there's no doubt (at least for now...but watch this AI space) a skilled retoucher is worth their weight in gold.
Particularly for specialist work like certain newborn and portrait photography, real estate, commercial etc. where detailed localised retouching is required / preferred.
But for batch photo editing purposes, AI software is arguably the way to go ✅.
I'd certainly recommend starting there at least.
Try those programs listed in this post - each for free - and if you're finding they're not meeting your needs, then you might want to look at finding, trialing and training a private human editor or a photo editing company utilising human editors (or are they?!!! 🕵️♀️)
As with any custom 1:1 service, it'll obviously cost you more to outsource your editing to a person and there's a level of reliability you're going to need to consider too.
TIP: Whatever your preference - human or AI editor - have a look into outsourcing your photo editing.
Post Partner: Hybrid Photo Editing - Humans Using AI
If you dig the idea of all the time and hassle to be saved from utilising AI batch editing but just can't come at the idea of doing it on your own, a hybrid editing service like that from Post Partner may be a great solution for you (if you're a wedding photographer, that is).
The human team at Post Partner have been doing their thing for some 14+ years and now offer a hybrid editing service - arguably giving you the best of both worlds. You get a dedicated human editor who utilises AI tech on your behalf for 0.19c per image (non-AI-assisted editing with Post Partner costs 0.36c per image).
There's the option to add culling onto your hybrid editing order for 0.04c an image.
TIP: To find out more about hybrid editing with Post Partner, you can book a free 15-30 minute discovery call with production manager, Myles. Tell him (on the booking form) Photogeek sent you ✅ 😉.
What Are You Waiting For?
Be it to a dedicated AI batch photo editing software, an individual operator, a private company offering human editing services (or a combination of both), photographers have much time, freedom and sanity to gain by outsourcing some - if not almost all - of their editing.
And for the fastest, most affordable results...head straight to the bots in AI land 🤖 ✅.
What are you waiting for?!