Adobe enrages photographers with its latest ad campaign

Adobe’s latest ad campaign running on social media channels has annoyed a lot of photographers. Reported by PetaPixel, the advert was intended to raise awareness of Photoshop’s new generative AI capabilities.

What does the advert say?

Adobe’s advert highlights Photoshop’s Generate Background feature. It shows a perfume bottle against a plain background and then an AI-generated background with orchids and oranges. However, it’s the caption with the image that has caused the problems. It says “Skip the photoshoot with Generate Background. Add or replace a background that matches the lighting, shadows, and perspective of your subject in fewer steps, right from the Contextual Task Bar.”

Skip the photoshoot

Photographer, director, and artist Clayton Cubitt shared the advert on X. Cubitt commented, “So glad as a photographer I’ve given Adobe tens of thousands of dollars only to have it pivot to selling ‘skip the photo shoot.’” Graphic designer Brian Winkeler also shared Cubitt’s post on LinkedIn. Winkeler wrote, “‘Skip the photoshoot.’ What will Adobe be telling customers to skip next? And when will their consumer message fully devolve down to ‘Skip all experts?’”

Word choice

A post on The Nerdy Photographer website was also critical of Adobe’s advert. It reads “Really, Adobe? You’re telling folks to ‘skip the photoshoot?’ This isn’t about not using AI to enhance images, because that is here to stay and has already been a part of your image editing workflow for a while now, they’re just calling it AI now. No! This is about word choice. They could have chosen copy that reads ‘Enhance your photoshoot’ or ‘Get more from your photoshoot’ instead of ‘SKIP THE PHOTOSHOOT.’”

What has Adobe said?

PetaPixel contacted Adobe for a comment on the advert. However, Adobe’s response didn’t specifically address the concerns of the photographers. Adobe told PetaPixel, “Every massive technology shift offers opportunities to deliver new innovations for our customers, and we are focused on harnessing the power of generative AI to amplify human creativity and expression, not replace it”. In addition, Adobe said, “These latest innovations empower professionals with tools that eliminate mundane tasks, so they are freed up to focus on bringing their visions to life more easily and work more productively.”

What we think

Many of the concerns around generative AI have been that it will start to take work away from artists and creators. Unfortunately, Adobe’s latest advert appears to openly state that as a positive thing. There will be some who say that the photographers are being oversensitive. However, Adobe’s “Skip the Photoshoot” advert is aimed at businesses that would have to commission a photographer. There will be marketing teams looking at the ad and thinking that they can save money by using AI instead. Hopefully Adobe will be more sensitive and supportive of its customer base in the future.

Pete Tomkies
Pete Tomkies
Pete Tomkies is a freelance cinematographer and camera operator from Manchester, UK. He also produces and directs short films as Duck66 Films. Pete's latest short Once Bitten... won 15 awards and was selected for 105 film festivals around the world.

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