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Content branding is moving across a variety of visual mediums. From Instagram to Facebook to Snapchat to Twitter, brands are finding themselves in need of creating platform-specific visuals to engage their audiences. And while it takes a lot of hard work to create different content for different mediums, it is one of the best ways to keep an audience interested in not only a brand but their products.
But the question arises: with the need for different content packages for various mediums, how does one brand find a way to create all the visuals needed without taking up too much time? Is there a way to automate the photography aspect of product and fashion images? Can it be done in a way that adheres to a company’s preferred aesthetic?
One design company thinks that is possible.
In a move that could revolutionize the way content creators, photographers, designers, and creative designers approach fashion photography, Danish design company StyleShoots is bringing automation to the studio.
The company has been in business since 2011; its focus is on fashion product photography utilizing flat and mannequin photography. Products are designed in-house by a Dutch team of engineers and designers with a list of clients that includes Macy’s, Zalando, and Marks and Spencer.
Resource Magazine is reporting that the company has designed a photography booth that was created specifically for the fashion industry and the growing need to create fashion catalogs for different platforms. The booth works in conjunction with AI technology and can be controlled by either the model or a stylist; a photographer isn’t needed.
The booth comes with a Canon 1DX Mk II camera installed and an adjustable 24-105 mm STM lens. Six high-CRI LED striplights and skylight panels introduce just the right amount of lighting for any product photography session, and the backdrop can be changed by using a company’s seamless paper of choice.
All a model has to do is step inside the booth in the clothes to be shot and let the system do its job.
The genius of this design is the company’s Style Engine software, which is capable of accurately reading the model’s height and where they are located within the booth to ensure the best photograph for the company’s needs. Everything except the brightness setting is automated by the machine, allowing for quick photography sessions that have the exact settings a company desires for its photographs.
The Next Web also mentions something else: not only does StyleShoots Live shoot photographs, it also shoots video, a fast-growing element that engages the audience on a deeper level than just images alone. It is also possible to take video internally and manipulate it from the iPad or the Mac Pro from which it is being controlled. The booth is capable of shooting 4K HDR video and can deliver it in the formats that are needed for publishing on the web.
The StyleShoots Live Studio is currently priced at $80,000; leasing plans are available for companies who are interested in utilizing this new piece of technology.
StyleShoots Live, or any automated photography studio, is for brands that have — or need — a massive online presence. It is for companies who have a large catalog of clothing and need to display them on various platforms but don’t have a lot of time between seasons to plan fashion shoots with photographers, which can be expensive.
It is also for companies who don’t necessarily need the same amount of creative direction for cataloging clothes as it would need for campaign adverts or editorials. Because many online brands use simple backdrops to present clothing, the automated photography studio is the perfect fit.
In one simple word: no. This is not the end of fashion photography.
This is because the automated photography studio is not capable of making creative decisions. It is also not available to shoot outdoors, on large sets, or take on shots that include a lot of scenery or even more than one model. It is simply for taking catalog shots of fashion products for various platforms.
But fashion photographers do so much more: magazines and readers enjoy narrative marketing through a visual medium, something that fashion photographers, like Tim Walker or Ellen von Unwerth do quite well. From taking on fantasy in a well-lit outdoor space to photographing models and celebrities against interesting interiors, fashion photographers are still a force to be reckoned with.
And consider this: magazine editorials are one of the first ways that readers are introduced to clothing companies. A well-staged fashion editorial takes time, discipline, originality, and yes, fashion photographers and creative directors. It is a team effort to create an exceptional editorial, and that, as of right now, cannot be left to the AI of an automated fashion photography studio.
StyleShoots is taking the first step to automating part of the fashion photography industry. By utilizing AI technology in an automated studio, the firm is freeing up a company’s time by ensuring that clothing products can be shot and formats can be delivered ready to be published in roughly half the time. It is a great first step, but the fashion photography industry still requires human input and creativity in order to keep the audience happy. It will be a long time before this industry is completely automated.