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How AI-Art Could Inspire Portrait Photography

Aktualisiert: 23. Okt. 2022

Use Case II - Creating a Mood Board

A mood board is a collection of image, color and texture samples that show what the planned shooting should aim for. It expresses the intent of the photographer and supports communication with the model and/or the client on what should be reached in the photo shooting. Also a mood board can be a good starting point for a photo session to break the ice , it may even develop in a new direction from there.

To create a mood board, you can collect images from a book or a magazine, or search images in internet that more or less match your imagination. A good source to find inspiration and collect photos is Pinterest. In Pinterest you can create pin boards for every shooting or theme and find images to pin to them. Other good sources to search and find images are e.g. instagram or google image search.

Besides a mood board it is also good to have a "cheat sheet" up your sleeve with some poses or ideas for the photo shooting. If the model is not a professional model you have to direct her/him and it may happen that you run out of ideas how to pose the model. Therefore, it is good advice to prepare some posing ideas that you can look up if you find yourself in a "blackout" situation.

That's where AI-art can come into play to provide you proposals for dress, colors, lighting and model posing.

Using Dall-E to Simulate a Portrait Photo Shoot

As an alternative to the classic photo resources mentioned above, an AI-art generator like Dall-E 2 might be a helpful source of ideas. For the experiment we again use the portrait photograph of the previous post (Use Case I) and try to generate images for a mood board that should match with the idea of exactly that photograph - so to say as if we wouldn't have shot that photograph yet and would prepare for a portrait session.

For the prompt, we have to write an expression that describes the image as good as possible. Let's go with this trial:

"dslr wide-angle studio shot of a 20yo caribbean female model with red dress, light-brown curly hair, red lipstick, golden chain, sitting at a table with a glass of wine and holding a cigarette, looking straight to camera, apricot-violet background, from Lindsay Adler"

Experiment 1

The cover image of this post (see above) showed already the results Dall-E 2 generated after some runs (always four at a time). These are my favourites:

It is typical for the current AI-art generators that they often render somehow asymmetric faces, squinting eyes or crippled hands with a slightly horrible touch. In the examples above the eyes have been roughly retouched to not distract from the all-over impression and idea.

We have gained six examples with six different hair styles, different red dresses and different poses and looks for one and the same photo idea.

Experiment 2

Another experiment to try is to just use the face of the portrait model, erase the rest of the photograph and let Dall-E 2 outpaint the empty space with the same prompt as above (out-painting method has been described in my post Use Case I of this series):

Because the face is already defined by the given photograph and is fixed in the same position, the mood and look is very close to the original shot.

Experiment 3

With that in mind, what would be the outcome if we would tilt and reposition the model's face inside the square frame and save it as png file with transparent background to let Dall-E 2 out-paint the new image content according to our prompt and face positioning?

Here are three results (within one run):

This last experiment is like directing the model on how to pose her head and then let Dall-E 2 do the rest of the composition.

With all the examples above we can see that the rendering of eyes and hands and sometimes body proportions are not appropriate for use as final portraits. However, the described methods could be useful as inspiration and preparation for a photo shoot, make ideas more clearer and give starting points for dress, hair style, props, lighting, composition, backdrop etc.

In the next post of this series (Use Case III) will use Dall-E 2 to let create some outfit ideas for a photo shoot.


All chapters of the series "How AI-art Could Inspire Portrait Photography":

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