AI: How will it Impact Photography?

There is a lot of chatter in the photography community about how AI will change the industry. And in the Midjourney beta, you can already see that graphic designers and digital artists of the future will need good verbal prompting as part of their skills repertoire.

The future of photography is less certain, but photographers are concerned about the negative impacts of AI on their craft. However, I am not worried. AI is bound to alter the way many people shoot and edit images. Yet much of the technology’s impact will be time-saving rather than putting professionals out of business: a wedding photographer might only have to edit a couple of images before asking AI to cull and edit the rest of a night’s work in the same style; and a travel or sports photographer—knowing that an AI editor will improve the atmospherics posthoc—might worry less about the perfect light and focus on composition and the perfect moment. Of course, AI will erode people’s trust in what they see, but it’s not like photographers and publishers haven’t been doing this since photography came about; the hyperreal editing style popular on social media and viral videos of model retouchings haven’t helped.

Despite the changes this new technology will bring—barring the apocalyptic scenarios warned of by some—I don’t see how AI will diminish my enjoyment and appreciation of landscape photography. On social media, the ‘war of the spectacular’ will rage on, and AI-produced digital art is already winning the first skirmishes in the landscape photography communities there. But impressive AI-generated landscape images, only make me question afresh: why do I take photos?

I’ve written before about my motivations for doing photography. The end result—although important—is nothing to the experience of being out in nature and figuring out how to compose a scene in a way that represents my experience and feelings for a place. No matter how good an AI image looks, and even if your AI-enhanced hardware makes taking photos easier, nothing will take away the creative challenge of learning to witness and curate the landscape.

Yet there is one area of AI where landscape photographers will go down a rabbit hole—and I include myself in this: writing. In my last post, I bemoaned the many things that are not photography that a professional photographer has to do. For this reason, large language models like ChatGPT might be an appealing shortcut for many would-be professionals. With just a few prompts and minimal tweaking, language models can write in a few seconds what might take a copywriter the best part of an afternoon.

I have been working on a Bristol Photographers guide for the past 6 months or so. It rapidly turned into a mammoth project similar to my Somerset Landscape Photography Guide. OpenAI’s ChatGPT wrote this for me in under ten seconds:

Bristol Landscape Photography Guide

Bristol is a city in the southwest of England that offers photography enthusiasts a wide range of opportunities to capture its mesmerizing landscapes. From vibrant culture to stunning sceneries, Bristol is a perfect destination for landscape photography. In this guide, we will offer you some useful tips and locations to help you make the most out of your Bristol landscape photography.

Best Locations for Landscape Photography in Bristol

1. Clifton Suspension Bridge

The Clifton Suspension Bridge is one of the most iconic landmarks in Bristol, offering a stunning view of the Avon Gorge. You can capture some great shots of the bridge and the gorge from the Clifton Observatory or the Clifton Downs. The bridge is especially photogenic at sunrise or sunset when the sky is filled with brilliant colors.

2. Brandon Hill

Located in the heart of Bristol, Brandon Hill is a great place to capture panoramic views of the city. You can also take some great shots of the Cabot Tower, a 105-feet tall tower that offers stunning views of Bristol. The park is filled with colorful flowers, trees, and wildlife, making it a great place to capture a diverse range of images.

3. Ashton Court Estate

Ashton Court is a large estate located just outside of Bristol, offering some great opportunities for landscape photography. You can capture some great shots of the estate’s gardens, deer park, and woodland areas. The estate is especially beautiful in the autumn when the leaves change color, creating a stunning backdrop for your photos.

4. The Harbourside

Bristol’s Harbourside is a vibrant area with a mix of modern and historical architecture. You can capture some great shots of the colorful buildings, boats, and reflections on the water. The area is especially photogenic at night when the lights illuminate the buildings, creating a magical atmosphere.

Tips for Landscape Photography in Bristol

1. Timing is key

Try to plan your photography sessions around the golden hour (an hour after sunrise and an hour before sunset), as this is when the light is most flattering for landscape photography. The soft light during this time of day will enhance the colors and textures in your photos, creating a more dramatic effect.

2. Experiment with different angles

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different angles and perspectives to capture unique shots. You can try shooting from a low angle, using leading lines, or framing your shot with foreground elements. By changing your perspective, you can create a more dynamic and interesting composition.

3. Use filters

Consider using filters to enhance your shots. A polarizing filter can help reduce reflections and increase color saturation, while a neutral density filter can help you capture long exposures for silky waterfalls or smooth clouds. Experiment with different filters to find the ones that work best for your style of photography.

4. Bring a tripod

A tripod can be very helpful in landscape photography, especially if you’re shooting in low light conditions. It will help you stabilize your camera and avoid blurry shots. Additionally, a tripod will allow you to take longer exposures without having to worry about camera shake.


Bristol is a city with a rich history and stunning landscapes, making it a great destination for landscape photography. With this guide, you should have some great locations and tips to help you capture some amazing shots of Bristol’s beauty. Happy shooting!

Closing thoughts

So, what did you think? Did you manage to read the guide, or did your eyes glaze over early on?

Generic content is hardly a phenomenon that arrived fresh with AI. For years now, I’ve been fed up with search-engine results; SEO-driven writing encourages the mundane. Even by the early 2010s, top-10-list blogs—adding nothing original—were ten a penny, and every time I look for a recipe online, I have to scroll past reems of waffle to the ingredients list and method.

It is important here to note how large language models work. These programmes have ‘learned’ most of the content on the internet, as well as most open-source publications. While the internet is a place of extremes and in-group polarisation, search engine and social media algorithms tend to aggregate in the centre, promoting the popular and the average. Given the input—the vacuous chatter of the internet—it is hardly surprising that AI presents the above as an engaging guide to landscape photography in Bristol. By definition, AI-generated articles are no worse than much of what was on the web before, and doubtless before long before Google will penalise this method creation in its SEO algorithms, but in the short term these generic articles will proliferate generic content at an unprecedented rate!

Of course, large language models will become more specialised. People are already training them to favour a certain canon in the way they respond. But even if I trained a personalised language model to write favouring my biases, I’m not sure I would stop writing. The question here is the same as when we looked at Midjourney and photography above: for what do I write?

Writing is of course an activity that requires no justification. Writing is often an end in itself: I write to improve my writing. But of course, writing is also instrumental. SEO is a consideration, but it is not a primary one for me. On the whole, I write for three reasons: (1) to explore what I think about things; (2) to come to conclusions about why I think certain things; and (3) to sharpen the clarity of my linguistic thinking as a whole.

So how do I see myself using AI? Well, I tend to be a late adopter of most technologies; I like systems to mature and become stable before I put in energy and time. Where I’d see myself adopting AI is when it becomes a personalised assistant. I want AI that can favour a body of knowledge that reflects my research interests and model my thinking by integrating my online note-taking apps like Notion. In short, I would like a graduate research assistant with multiple PhDs to help me pull together research for essays and projects. Of course, we don’t all write our thoughts down, but the more you interact with this assistant, the better it would work with you. Of course, the avenues for abuse through integration with a digital assistant are myriad, but if we can avoid a Black Mirror-style dystopia—and world leaders keep the nuclear codes out of AI’s remit—AI assistants will form the backbone of many of our workflows.