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UPDATED: 14 August 2023 | PUBLISHED: 11 January 2022
Heard of Imagen photo editing software, wondering if you should try it...but unsure what it actually is?!
Think the power of photo editing presets...but a hundred times better.
And waaaaay more dynamic.
Imagine little invisible artificially intelligent tech pixies who've learned exactly how you typically edit your photos and automagically do it for you in (literally) a fraction of the time it'd otherwise take.
(Yeah, yeah, sounds good right?! Like to know concrete numbers: how does about 0.33 seconds per photo sound?! 😮)
Imagine NOT having to do all the time-sucking image-by-image editing drudgery you're used to: individually adjusting exposure, white balance, contrast, highlights, shadows, clarity, vibrance, luminance etc. etc.
And imagine what better things you could be doing with your time in that case.
That's where the real Imagen comes in.
Let me introduce you to it.
(You can use my partner link to get 500 extra free credits than the standard trial allows. You'll find it throughout this post so keep reading to see if it's something that interests you.)
"Save time editing your photos, without compromising quality."- Scott Wyden Kivowitz, Content & Community Manager, Imagen
AI is All the Rage
In tech speak, Imagen is powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI), which is the simulation of human intelligence by - in this case - computer systems.
In plain speak: I don't really care.
I care how it helps me.
I care why I should invest my time and money into it.
And I bet that's exactly what you care about too.
"Editing takes a lot of time. It's probably the most time-consuming task you have as a photographer but you want to keep your personal editing style...so it's really hard to automate...We thought we could break this trade-off and make things both personal and automated."- Yotam Gil, Imagen co-founder
Imagen's designed to drastically lessen photographers' (and image editors') workload, thus saving us time.
And don't you wanna just about weep with delight when a software product actually does what it promises to?!
Take. My. Money. Now 🙋🏻♀️.
HOT TIP: Imagen's actually free to trial. (Don't even need a credit card to get going.)
How to Use Imagen Photo Editing Software
You've got three options when you're ready to start using Imagen; three workflows to choose from:
1) use one of the in-house TALENT AI PROFILES (think: other photographers' plug-and-play 'presets' on steroids. Get started instantly)
2) create your own unique AI editing profile aka PERSONAL AI PROFILE from your existing edited Lightroom catalogs (think: your individual editing style auto applied to whole shoots at once; an AI editing assistant that edits the same way you do)
3) released in August 2023, there's now the option to speedily create a LITE PERSONAL AI PROFILE that doesn't require 3000+ edited images to build (think: your own AI editing profile based off any preset from any photographer or preset company; make your own editing style AI 'preset' based off an existing standard one)
So, it's a bit of a choose-your-own-adventure situation.
If you just want to get stuck into the software and see how (and how fast) it works - or if you don't have at least 3000 already edited images in your Lightroom catalogue(s) - you're going to want to go down the TALENT AI PROFILE or LITE PERSONAL AI PROFILE route.
You may also just love the look of one (or more) of the existing talent profiles and/or be keen to try something new and different to your current editing style.
Alternatively, if you've honed and love your personal editing style, have an ample collection of Lightroom edits to pull from (min. 3000) and don't want to use a 'canned' profile other photographers can access, you're probably best to head down the PERSONAL AI PROFILE path instead.
"At the beginning, we had to get tens of thousands of photos from each photographer to actually get the AI to understand the style. With time, this number decreased and today we need 3000 photos...Based on these 3000 photos that you edited with different lighting conditions and scenarios - but with the same editing style - the AI can actually understand how you edit and edit personally like you."- Yotam Gil, Imagen co-founder
Imagen Personal AI Profiles - Made for You
For those who have a good bank of consistently edited photos inside Lightroom (be that a single or multiple catalogues) and are satisfied with their current editing aesthetic, creating an Imagen profile(s) to automate the initial editing process is the ideal option.
"It analyses your unique editing style down to the very last detail and applies it instantly and uniquely to every new image from your [chosen] Lightroom catalogues."- Imagen intro video
Talent AI Profiles and Lite Personal AI Profiles will get you going quick smart, no doubt, but Personal AI Profiles are what ultimately harness and show off Imagen's true power and customisation ability.
Train your own AI 'bot' to edit the same way you do but soooo much faster?
And it continues to learn your preferences and refine the output as you go.
Once you've uploaded these into the software, it'll take up to 24 hours for your profile to be created and returned to you.
The More the Merrier
The more edited photos you send to Imagen to generate a creator profile, the more accurate that profile will be.
So go nuts and use double or triple the minimum amount of consistent images in catalogues if you've got 'em - but know at least what you'll need to get started building your own customised profile.
(NOTE: to be able to fine-tune, you'll need to have edited / tweaked at least 50 percent of the amount of photos that you originally trained / created your Personal AI Profile with, assuming it was more than the minimum amount e.g. train with 3000 = require 3000 to fine-tune, train with 8000 = require 4000 to fine-tune, train with 12000 = require 6000 to fine-tune and so on.)
You can also make multiple Personal AI Profiles i.e. if you want your own colour and black & white profiles, or a profile for your wedding work and another for your newborn work etc.
HOT TIP: The photos used for making your own Personal AI Profile(s) need to be the 'live' edited files inside Lightroom, NOT the 'flattened' exported JPEG / TIFF files.
Imagen Talent AI Profiles - Done for You
Want to get started straight away?
Talent AI Profiles are a set of ready-to-go, pre-programmed editing styles (made from hundreds of thousands of professional photographers' images) - for you to auto batch apply to your unedited photos.
Choose one...and go.
Change your mind?
Choose another and go again.
Sounds just like the Mack daddy of all presets right?
The difference between presets and Imagen profiles (both talent and creator) is presets apply an identical and global set of adjustment 'instructions' to a set of photos, where Imagen profiles individually and dynamically tweak each photo.
Think of presets like concrete and Imagen profiles like playdough.
Profiles are the Michelin star chef who cooks to order using the finest seasonal ingredients you ask for...where presets are the less experienced home cook who serves up a microwave dinner.
Both will get you fed.
But there's a pretty significant difference.
"If you're not using [Imagen], you have to apply some kind of a preset then go over each photo to adjust and fix. And it takes a long time."- Yotam Gil, Imagen co-founder
HOT TIP: If you use a Talent AI Profile but find you're tweaking certain settings to suit your personal style, once you've a catalogue(s) of 3000 images built up using it, you can make your own Creator AI Profile. It'll be based on the talent profile you started with but take into account all of your personal editing tweaks since made.
Particularly during your free trial and if you're not ready to build your own Personal AI Profile yet, it's not a bad idea to try a bunch of talent profiles across the same control set of images to get a feel of how each is adjusting things and thus affecting the final output.
Have a look and see if there's a Talent AI Profile(s) that delights your eye and works well on the style of photos you typically shoot.
Each has a dedicated preview page where you can play with a couple of 'before & after' sliders and see a selection of photos edited with the relevant profile.
List of Imagen Talent Profiles
18 included Imagen Talent Profiles (in alphabetical order) are:
- Michael Anthony (wedding photographer): "California Dreaming" profile (colour)
- Pable Beglez (wedding photographer): "Peachy" profile (colour)
- John Branch IV (wedding photographer): "Natural Feels" profile (colour)
- Michele Dell'utri (wedding photographer): "Body Language" profile (in colour + B&W)
- Sarah Edmunds (wedding / portrait photographer): "Love & Light" profile (colour)
- Nitzan Gur (wedding / engagement): "Warm Skin Tones" profile (colour)
- Roey Harazay (wedding photographer): "Romantic Pastel Colours" profile (colour)
- Michelle Harris (wedding / family photographer): "Luxe Colour" profile (colour)
- Fer Juaristi (wedding / family photographer): "Tierra" profile (colour)
- Kevin Mullins (wedding photographer): "Silver Film" profile (B&W)
- Rachel Nielsen (wedding photographer): "Timeless Colour" profile (colour)
- Charmi Patel-Pena (wedding / engagement / portrait photographer): "Cinematic Luxury" profile (colour)
- Linzie Russo (studio newborn photographer): "Natural Light Studio" profile (color)
- Susan Stripling (wedding / commercial / portrait photographer): "Clean & Crisp" profile (colour)
- Tracey & Dee (wedding photographers): "The Modern Classic" profile (colour)
- Rocio Vega (wedding photographer): "Momenticos" profile (in colour + B&W) - JPEG compatible
- Yervant Zanazanian (wedding photographer) "Simply Sublime" profile (colour)
These photographers have formally partnered with Imagen and receive royalties for each photo edited with their style.
Fair enough too: they've done the hard work editing and refining their profile so the rest of us can benefit from it. It's also their personal editing style and intellectual property they're sharing so only fair to be compensated for it.
HOT TIP: There's no way for a photographer(s) to see or access your Personal AI Profile(s) that you create. It's your Intellectual Property and that's exactly how Imagen treat it. The ability to share your own Imagen profiles however is possible! ✅
Imagen Talent AI Profile Samples & Comparison
I'd love to see the Imagen team show us the same control set of photos - say a selection of half a dozen with a mixture of 'typical' content i.e. different skin tones, indoors, outdoors, colourful, neutral etc. - so we can quickly see and compare at a glance, how each talent profile affects an image when applied.
Not unlike the way you can use something like the Photodisc test image when testing different paper stocks.
You can currently explore (both via 'before & after' slider and statically) how the profile looks on a selection of the talent's photos, but when comparing between all available profiles, it's a case of comparing apples and oranges to a degree.
So in the interim, I've put a copy of the same RAW photo file of mine through some of of the existing Talent AI Profiles to give you some basic direct comparison idea (limited in range of content though it may be).
Fine-Tuning with Imagen
"You have the ability fine-tune [Imagen]; to teach it more...It constantly perfects itself until you are absolutely 100 percent in love with it, which is what has happened with me!- Samantha Li, photographer
Because Imagen is an AI technology, it has the ability to continue learning and updating your personal editing preferences (when using a Personal or Lite Personal AI Profile) 😮.
Will it get it 'right' according to your preferences the first time? Probably not.
Will it get better, more accurate and more informed the more you use and train it?
If you utilise the (free) fine-tuning feature.
So after every batch edit you put through Imagen (when using a Personal or Lite Personal AI Profile) and finesse to your personal style in Lightroom, you want to 'Upload Final Edits' (from the 'Projects' tab).
This stores your tweaked edits and when you've accumulated enough (i.e. 50 percent of the same amount you initially used to create the profile, with a minimum of 3000) the system registers there's an equivalent amount of new data to fine-tune with...and builds an updated, even more refined profile for you.
Profile Adjustment - Tweak to Suit
Too impatient to wait for your AI Profile (Personal or Lite) to be ready for fine-tuning? Or are you utilising a Talent AI Profile that you want to make ongoing adjustments to?
That's what Imagen Profile Adjustments were created for: instant gratification and adjustment control for us finicky and impatient photographers! 🙈.
Profile Adjustments allow individual editing parameters to be tweaked and the relevant profile changes saved so next time it's applied for batch editing, it'll better reflect the overall look aiming to be achieved.
My Imagen Photo Editing Experience
When I started using Imagen in 2021, I had thousands of edited photos available to train my own profile...but they were in dozens of different catalogues stored on a 5-bay Drobo NAS (a data storage server separate from/external to my computer).
(Quick shout out to Drobo. I've had my unit for more than a dozen years and while it could certainly benefit from an upgrade, it's never let me down. Literally, never.)
I was too lazy and impatient to drag the required files and catalogues all back to my desktop for custom profile training i.e. dropping into the Imagen software.
(I'm also certain I didn't have the available space on my hard drive to do so.)
I get shiny object syndrome something chronic though and wanted to suss out Imagen ASAP.
Ain't got time to wait for thousands of files and LR catalogues to copy to my desktop.
(Can you see why I'm so enthusiastic about the time-saving power of Imagen?! #Lazyandimpatientmuch 🙋🏻♀️😂)
"AI is amazing. It's magical. But it has one limitation: the fact that it needs a lot of data to learn from."- Yotam Gil, Imagen co-founder
So I tried a few of the Talent AI Profiles, settled on one to put a whole in-home newborn shoot through...and had the edited photos back in under five minutes.
Say whaaaaat?! 🤯.
Well, that was easy.
I did go back over each photo (the control freak tendency of photographers and creatives is strong) and fine-tune a couple of adjustment sliders to better suit my taste, but the process was significantly faster and easier than starting from scratch.
And I actually enjoyed it.
The photos fell into my proverbial lap already looking stylish and deliverable. All I 'had' to do was add a little extra personal flair to finish them off to my exact taste.
I've been using Imagen for my in-home newborn and family lifestyle work since and will continue to do so. It legitimately saves me a bunch of time and it's made editing fun again.
Here are a few samples, with the SOOC (Straight Out Of Camera) RAW file preview on the left and the Imagen edit on the right:
Is Imagen Just for Weddings?
(I don't even photograph weddings any more and I'm an Imagen fan 👍🏼.)
"The technology is most valuable if you need to batch edit so a wedding is a classic example...We know people are using us for portraits, conferences, sport events and pet photography...newborn and school photography. Any genre in which you need to edit a lot of photos."- Yotam Gil, Imagen co-founder
Though all of the talent profiles seem to come from wedding photographers, true, the software itself works on all genres of photography.
Don't be mislead.
Wedding photography is just an obvious choice given the typically high volume of photos involved.
"As a [photography] customer, you're not actually aware that editing takes so much time... According to our discussions with photographers, for every hour of shooting you have about two hours of editing, which is crazy! It's also crazy that people are unaware of that."- Yotam Gil, Imagen co-founder
At the time, he and co-founder, Yotam Gil, happened to be studying how to enhance photos using deep learning and artificial intelligence.
(In other words, they and third co-founder, Ron Oren, are total computer geeks and we get to benefit from their genius 🤓).
Imagen was officially released to the world in 2020.
And the rest is recent history.
Imagen Discount Code
Interested in trying it for yourself?
Anyone can access Imagen's free trial, which gives you 1,000 FREE image edits (no credit card required).
Or you can utilise my partner link to receive an extra 500 free edits on top of that (so 1,500 total).
Imagen Photo Editing Pricing
It's $7 USD p/m (approx. $10 AUD - but check current conversion here).
If your monthly usage is less than $7 worth (which is equivalent to 140 standard photo edits either with your creator or talent profiles), the difference is charged and used as editing credit in the future.
This is to help account for the often seasonal nature of professional photography: some months you're flat out and some months you're quiet.
So in the quieter months when you're not utlising Imagen as much, the credit balance carries over for the next month (or so on) when your workload increases.
And - bonus - you can cancel your subscription whenever you need to.
There's no lock-in contract 🙌🏼.
Here are some pricing examples for you to help you quickly gauge your potential Imagen expenditure. AI cropping, straightening and subject mask are all optional editing extras charged at 1c each:
|No. of Photos (5c ea.)||Crop (1c)||Straighten (1c)||Mask (1c)||TOTAL ($USD)|
Now, I don't know exactly what outsourcing to a real life editor currently costs but I BET you it's more than that...and takes a bucket load longer.
Co-founder, Yotam, said Imagen as a company is always listening to photographers' feedback and welcomes ideas re: pricing model (and anything else).
"We're definitely open to changes," he said.
Extra optional paid services in Imagen include AI straightening, cropping and subject masking. Each is an additional 1c (USD) per photo.
Some users don't like handing these step over to an AI service (as per discussions in the Imagen Community page on Facebook).
I think each is another way to save time and fussing about ✅.
In my experience thus far, Imagen does a solid job at auto straightening and cropping overall.
Sometimes the crops are on the tighter side of things.
Other times I wonder how I got so precise at my in-camera composition...before I remember the invisible Imagen tech pixies - in a number of cases - actually did it for me 😊.
The Local Adjustment AI Subject Mask feature is quite impressive.
Not only does it auto apply Lightroom's surprisingly accurate (and easily editable) subject mask for you, it also applies minor smart editing adjustments to this area for you simultaneously, in an effort to even further enhance the look of the final image.
Worth every cent - literally.
There's Always a Catch
It sounds dire but stick with me.
1) Imagen is not retouching software.
Not yet anyway - although let's be honest, with such powerful AI technology at its core (and driving its development), I'd suggest we probably need to stay tuned on that one...
The Local Adjustment AI Subject Mask feauture was released in 2023 and no doubt there'll be more of that advanced and individualised editing to come.
2) It's important to be clear and fully transparent: when you start with Imagen, it's unlikely to edit your photos to your 100 percent satisfaction.
Highly likely in the first instance? No.
Photography is, after all, a creative (and subjective) pursuit.
"After you finished finalising your photos in Lightroom, you send back the final edits [to Imagen] and the profile keeps learning your style. It keeps getting more and more accurate and reflecting your style better."- Yotam Gil, Imagen co-founder
A Photographer's Dream - The Fastest Photo Editing Software
Frankly, I'm somewhat relieved Imagen 'only' does say 90-95 percent of the heavy-lifting editing for me.
It speedily gets my photos to that near-done point so when I start manually editing / finessing, I'm only focusing on the fun bit: adding my personal touch; my signature style and brand aesthetic.
Doing the subjective and creative work only a human can do.
Aaaaall the grunt work's done for me (and the more I edit, the more accurately I can train my profile by way of fine-tuning). I get to play with local and stylised adjustments to help further finesse the finished product.
And I'm able to use all the time saved elsewhere and on better things - be that for business or personal purposes 👍🏼.
Friends, it's a photographer's dream.
It's got to be the fastest outsourced photo editing available.
If you value your time, try it for yourself and see ✅.
"[Imagen] has increased my ability to get my work-life balance back. I get to spend more time with my kids, I get to read more books...whereas before, with the amount of photography I did, I wouldn't have had this time."- Samantha Li, photographer
"Our main goal is to make photographers' lives easier and more productive...so if you feel you have something that holds you back; that takes a lot of your time; that you think can be automated, we want to hear it. It could be any aspect of your work. Today it's be editing but we are thinking about any part of your workflow as a photographer."- Yotam Gil, Imagen co-founder
Free Imagen Resources
Looking for more information and other's opinions on Imagen? Check out the other free resources available:
- Imagen website
- Imagen pricing info
- Imagen Community user Facebook group (also find out more about it here)
- Imagen YouTube channel
- Imagen knowledge centre
- Imagen blog
- Workflows podcast (by Imagen on saving time and money in your photography business)
- All quotes from Yotam and Samantha were sourced from the "Getting Started with Imagen AI" video produced by Brilliant Prints in Australia
Thanks so much for visiting.
Please share this post if you know another photographer or image editor who might be interested and if you have a moment to leave a comment below - positive or constructive - that'd be most appreciated.