AI – changing smartphone photography?

Smartphone cameras just got smarter…
AI – changing smartphone photography?

Ever wished you could take better photos? Now, thanks to AI-powered photography, you can. It’s the next big thing in mobile, and it could revolutionise the way we take photos for good. In short, you’ll never take a bad photo again. But what is AI photography, and how does it work? Let us explain.

But first, what is AI?

Artificial intelligence, or AI as it’s commonly known, has its roots in machine learning from the 1950s. Scientists taught a computer to play draughts, and to anticipate and predict the moves of a human opponent before they took place.

With practice, the computer would learn to become a better player. By mimicking natural human behaviour, the computer became indistinguishable from a real person.

You can read more about machine learning here, but today AI has come much further. It’s now inside our smartphones in the form of Google Assistant, Siri, or Amazon’s Alexa at home, helping us accomplish day-to-day tasks, almost like a virtual butler. It understands us, and responds to our voice commands.

These AI voice assistants are constantly improving as they learn about the world around them. And it’s that skill which is changing the way we take photos.

What AI means for photography

AI in photography has always existed in a roundabout way. Like the red-eye removal feature when you take a snap, or image stabilisation. However, modern AI photography will feel more revolutionary than that.

When Huawei revealed its P20 Pro Smartphone earlier this year, it was heralded as a ‘renaissance in smartphone photography’, with AI technology capable of letting anyone take “professional photos”, according to Huawei CEO, Richard Yu.

AI technology is now able to understand what you’re pointing your camera at, and adjust the settings accordingly for the perfect photo. The implications are huge. Thanks to AI, you might soon be able to take photos as good as on any DLSR camera. Smartphone photographers could one day be on a par with professional photographers. And that’s exciting.

What does AI photography actually do?

Pretty much everything. By automatically adjusting the camera settings, AI takes care of all the little things such as ISO levels, what aperture to use, focus and more.

What are the best phones that use AI photography?

Huawei’s P20 Pro can recognise up to 19 different scenes and objects from waterfalls, to cats and dogs. It knows if you’re taking a photo of food or a person, and adjusts the settings for the perfect photo. Just like that computer from the 1950s, your phone acts like a human being that understands the world around you.

Huawei spoke to a number of professional photographers to understand how to take the best pictures depending on what you’re shooting, so each time you take a photo using an AI-powered camera, your phone is using real-world human knowledge.

It’s like having a professional photographer by your side doing everything for you but hitting that shutter button. It’s perfect if you’re too lazy to fiddle around with manual camera settings. Just snap and go.

Samsung’s new Galaxy Note9 is the latest phone to use AI recognition skills. It has 20 modes that recognise what you’re shooting, from sunsets, to flowers, mountains, street scenes and more. The Note9’s Scene Optimiser intelligently detects what’s in the frame to help you shoot the perfect picture.

Note9 also has a flaw detection mode. It lets you know if you’ve taken a bad photo by detecting blur. A message will appear on screen telling you that your ‘last shot may be blurry’. And it will tell you if someone has blinked, if the camera lens is smudged, or whether you need to turn on the HDR to take a better picture.

So, is AI the future of mobile photography?

It could well be. If you’re a novice photographer wanting to take professional-quality pictures without fuss, then AI photography is your friend. You’ll have no trouble whatever you shoot, even in low light.

You’ll always have the manual modes to play around with if you take your photography a little more seriously, but what we do know is that the bar for mobile photography is slowly being raised. And that’s something worth getting hyped up about.

What are your thoughts? Join the conversation here…

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