What is Imagen (& Why You Need it)

Think the power of photo editing presets...but a hundred times better.

And faster.

And waaaaay more dynamic.

Imagine little invisible tech pixies who've learned exactly how you typically edit your photos and automagically do it for you in (literally) a fraction of the time it'd otherwise take.

(Yeah, yeah, sounds good right?! Like to know concrete numbers: how does about one second per photo sound?! 😮)

Imagine NOT having to do all the time-sucking image-by-image editing drudgery you're used to: individually adjusting exposure, white balance, contrast, highlights, shadows, clarity, vibrance, luminance etc. etc.

And imagine what better things you could be doing with your time in that case.

That's where the real Imagen comes in.

Let me introduce you to it.

(You can use my partner link to get 500 extra free credits than the standard trial allows. You'll find it throughout this post so keep reading to see if it's something that interests you.)

HOT TIP: Imagen is currently developing AI culling for photographers too so rather than using separate softwares to cull and edit with AI technology, you'll soon be able to do it all from the one place 😮. Stay tuned to the Imagen Community Facebook group for further announcements and official release news.

"Save time editing your photos, without compromising quality."

- Scott Wyden Kivowitz, Content & Community Manager, Imagen
Imagen AI photo editing software logo

A.I. is All the Rage

In tech speak, Imagen is powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI), which is the simulation of human intelligence by - in this case - computer systems.

In plain speak: I don't really care.

I care how it helps me.

I care why I should invest my time and money into it.

And I bet that's exactly what you care about too.

"Editing takes a lot of time. It's probably the most time-consuming task you have as a photographer but you want to keep your personal editing style...so it's really hard to automate...We thought we could break this trade-off and make things both personal and automated."

- Yotam Gil, Imagen co-founder

Imagen co-founders, Yoav Chai, Ron Oren and Yotam Gil, call it an AI-powered batch photo editing software i.e. a 'personalised cutting-edge Lightroom editing assistant.'

It's designed to drastically lessen photographers' (and image editors') workload, thus saving us time.

And don't you wanna just about weep with delight when a software product actually does what it promises to?!

Take. My. Money. Now 🙋🏻‍♀️.

HOT TIP: Imagen's actually free to trial. (Don't even need a credit card to get going.)

ABOVE: The Imagen dasboard. Clean, simple and user-friendly. (SOURCE: Imagen.)

How to Use Imagen Photo Editing Software

You've got two options when you're ready to start using Imagen; two workflows to choose from:

1) use one of the in-house TALENT AI PROFILES (think: other photographers' presets on steroids)

2) create your own unique AI editing profile aka PERSONAL AI PROFILE (think: your individual style batch + auto-applied to future shoots being edited)

So, it's a bit of a choose-your-own-adventure situation.

Imagen software for photographers profile selection tabs
ABOVE: From the 'AI Profiles' tab in the Imagen software, users can choose to create/train their own custom editing profile(s) and/or use one of the 11 built-in talent profiles provided. (SOURCE: Imagen.)

If you just want to get stuck into the software and see how (and how fast) it works - or if you don't have at least 5000 already edited images in your Lightroom catalogue(s) - you're going to want to go down the TALENT AI PROFILE route.

You may also just love the look of one (or more) of the existing talent profiles and/or be keen to try something new and different to your current editing style.

Alternatively, if you've honed and love your personal editing style, have an ample collection of Lightroom edits to pull from (min. 5000) and don't want to use a 'canned' profile other photographers can access, you're probably best to head down the PERSONAL AI PROFILE path instead.

"At the beginning, we had to get tens of thousands of photos from each photographer to actually get the AI to understand the style. With time, this number decreased and today we need 5000 photos...Based on these 5000 photos that you edited with different lighting conditions and scenarios - but with the same editing style - the AI can actually understand how you edit and edit personally like you."

- Yotam Gil, Imagen co-founder

HOT TIP: Imagen's currently compatible with Lightroom only but rumour has it Capture One integration is on its way...along with HDR functionality AND local adjustments

Imagen Creator Profiles - Made for You

For those who have a good bank of consistently edited photos inside Lightroom (be that a single or multiple catalogues) and are satisfied with their current editing aesthetic, creating an Imagen profile(s) to automate the initial editing process is the ideal option.

"It analyses your unique editing style down to the very last detail and applies it instantly and uniquely to every new image from your [chosen] Lightroom catalogues."

- Imagen intro video

Creator AI profiles, really, are the ultimate intended use of Imagen.

Talent AI profiles will get you going, no doubt, but creator AI profiles are what ultimately harness and show off Imagen's true power and customisation ability.

Train your own AI 'bot' to edit the same way you do but soooo much faster?

Yes, please.

And it continues to learn your preferences and refine the output as you go.

editing software user review on Facebook
ABOVE: User comment from the Imagen Community Facebook page. (SOURCE: Facebook.)

Imagen needs to 'read' at least 5000 of your edited photos with a consistent style in order to properly create and train a custom editing profile specifically for you i.e. your creator profile(s).

Once you've uploaded these into the software, it'll take 2-3 days for your profile to be created and returned to you.

Imagen photo editing software user review on Facebook
ABOVE: User comment from the Imagen Community Facebook page. (SOURCE: Facebook.)

The More the Merrier

The more edited photos you send to Imagen to generate a creator profile, the more accurate that profile will be.

So go nuts and use double or triple the minimum amount of consistent images in catalogues if you've got 'em - but know at least what you'll need to get started building your own customised profile.

And if you find you're tweaking things to update the aesthetic in your existing Personal AI Profile, you can re-train it (via fine-tuning) to suit.

You can also make multiple Personal AI Profiles i.e. if you want your own colour and black & white profiles, or a profile for your wedding work and another for your newborn work etc.

Imagen photo editing software build a profile setup windows
ABOVE: Train your own custom AI bot to edit your photos the same way you do by using your existing Lightroom catalogue(s) and the Imagen two-step creator profile builder. (SOURCE: Imagen.)

HOT TIP: The photos used for making your own creator profile(s) need to be the 'live' edited files inside Lightroom, NOT the 'flattened' exported JPEG / TIFF files.

Imagen Talent AI Profiles - Done for You

Want to get started straight away?

Talent AI Profiles are a set of ready-to-go, pre-programmed editing styles (made from hundreds of thousands of professional photographers' images) - for you to auto batch apply to your unedited photos.

Choose one...and go.

Change your mind?

Choose another and go again.

Sounds just like the Mack daddy of all presets right?

Wrong.

The difference between presets and Imagen profiles (both talent and creator) is presets apply an identical and global set of adjustment 'instructions' to a set of photos, where Imagen profiles individually and dynamically tweak each photo.

Difference between Imagen AI profiles and presets for photographers
ABOVE: Infographic demonstrating the difference between how Imagen profiles and traditional presets work, and the difference between them.

Think of presets like concrete and Imagen profiles like playdough.

Profiles are the Michelin star chef who cooks to order using the finest seasonal ingredients you ask for...where presets are the less experienced home cook who serves up a microwave dinner.

Both will get you fed.

But there's a pretty significant difference.

"If you're not using [Imagen], you have to apply some kind of a preset then go over each photo to adjust and fix. And it takes a long time."

- Yotam Gil, Imagen co-founder

HOT TIP: If you use a Talent AI Profile but find you're tweaking certain settings to suit your personal style, once you've a catalogue(s) of 5000 images built up, you can make your own Creator AI Profile. It'll be based on the talent profile you started with but take into account all of your personal editing tweaks since made.

Testing, Testing

Particularly during your free trial and if you're not ready to build your own Creator AI Profile yet, it's not a bad idea to try a bunch of talent profiles across the same control set of images to get a feel of how each is adjusting things and thus affecting the final output.

Have a look and see if there's a talent profile(s) that delights your eye and works well on the style of photos you typically shoot.

Each has a dedicated preview page where you can play with a couple of 'before & after' sliders and see a selection of photos edited with the relevant profile.

Included talent profiles (in alphabetical order) are:

These photographers have formally partnered with Imagen and receive royalties for each photo edited with their style.

Fair enough too: they've done the hard work editing and refining their profile so the rest of us can benefit from it. It's also their personal editing style and intellectual property they're sharing so only fair to be compensated for it.

editing software user review on Facebook
ABOVE: User comment from the Imagen Community Facebook page. (SOURCE: Facebook.)

HOT TIP: There's no way for a photographer(s) to see or access your Personal AI Profile(s) that you create. It's your Intellectual Property and that's exactly how Imagen treat it.

Imagen Talent AI Profile Samples & Comparison

I'd love to see the Imagen team show us the same control set of photos - say a selection of half a dozen with a mixture of 'typical' content i.e. different skin tones, indoors, outdoors, colourful, neutral etc. - so we can quickly see and compare at a glance, how each talent profile affects an image when applied.

Not unlike the way you can use something like the Photodisc test image when testing different paper stocks.

You can currently explore (both via 'before & after' slider and statically) how the profile looks on a selection of the talent's photos, but when comparing between all available profiles, it's a case of comparing apples and oranges to a degree.

So in the interim, I've put a copy of the same RAW photo file of mine through each of the existing Talent AI Profiles to give you some basic direct comparison idea (limited in range of content though it may be).

Fine-Tuning with Imagen

"You have the ability fine-tune [Imagen]; to teach it more...It constantly perfects itself until you are absolutely 100 percent in love with it, which is what has happened with me!

- Samantha Li, photographer + Imagen Global Ambassador

Because Imagen is an AI technology, it has the ability to continue learning and updating your personal editing preferences 😮.

Will it get it 'right' according to your preferences the first time? Probably not.

Will it get better, more accurate and more informed the more you use and train it?

Yes.

If you utilise the (free) fine-tuning feature.

editing software user review on Facebook about fine-tuning
ABOVE: User comment from the Imagen Community Facebook page. (SOURCE: Facebook.)

So after every batch edit you put through Imagen and finesse to your personal style in Lightroom, you want to 'Upload Final Edits' (from the 'Projects' tab).

This stores your tweaked edits and when you've accumulated enough (i.e. the same amount you initially used to create the profile) the system registers there's an equivalent amount of new data to fine-tune with...and builds an updated, even more refined profile for you.

Imagen photo editing software user review on Facebook
ABOVE: User comment from the Imagen Community Facebook page. (SOURCE: Facebook.)
Imagen photo editing software user review on Facebook
ABOVE: User comment from the Imagen Community Facebook page. (SOURCE: Facebook.)

My Imagen Photo Editing Experience

When I started using Imagen in 2021, I had thousands of edited photos available to train my own profile...but they were in dozens of different catalogues stored on a 5-bay Drobo NAS (a data storage server separate from/external to my computer).

(Quick shout out to Drobo. I've had my unit for more than a dozen years and while it could certainly benefit from an upgrade, it's never let me down. Literally, never.)

I was too lazy and impatient to drag the required files and catalogues all back to my desktop for custom profile training i.e. dropping into the Imagen software.

(I'm also certain I didn't have the available space on my hard drive to do so.)

I get shiny object syndrome something chronic though and wanted to suss out Imagen ASAP.

Ain't got time to wait for thousands of files and LR catalogues to copy to my desktop.

No ma'am.

(Can you see why I'm so enthusiastic about the time-saving power of Imagen?! #Lazyandimpatientmuch 🙋🏻‍♀️😂)

"AI is amazing. It's magical. But it has one limitation: the fact that it needs a lot of data to learn from."

- Yotam Gil, Imagen co-founder

So I tried a few of the Talent AI Profiles, settled on one to put a whole in-home newborn shoot through...and had the edited photos back in under five minutes.

Say whaaaaat?! 🤯.

Well, that was easy.

Control Freak

I did go back over each photo (the control freak tendency of photographers and creatives is strong) and fine-tune a couple of adjustment sliders to better suit my taste, but the process was significantly faster and easier than starting from scratch.

And I actually enjoyed it.

The photos fell into my proverbial lap already looking stylish and deliverable. All I 'had' to do was add a little extra personal flair to finish them off to my exact taste.

#Winning.

I've been using Imagen for my in-home newborn and family lifestyle work since and will continue to do so. It legitimately saves me a bunch of time and it's made editing fun again.

Here are a few samples, with the SOOC (Straight Out Of Camera) RAW file preview on the left and the Imagen edit on the right:

Is Imagen Just for Weddings?

Nope.

(I don't even photograph weddings any more and I'm an Imagen fan 👍🏼.)

"The technology is most valuable if you need to batch edit so a wedding is a classic example...We know people are using us for portraits, conferences, sport events and pet photography...newborn and school photography. Any genre in which you need to edit a lot of photos."

- Yotam Gil, Imagen co-founder

Though all of the talent profiles seem to come from wedding photographers, true, the software itself works on all genres of photography.

Don't be mislead.

Wedding photography is just an obvious choice given the typically high volume of photos involved.

And it's how Imagen was actually born: one of the co-founders, Yoav Chai, waited some three months before receiving his own wedding photos back from his photographer and was surprised at the delay.

"As a [photography] customer, you're not actually aware that editing takes so much time... According to our discussions with photographers, for every hour of shooting you have about two hours of editing, which is crazy! It's also crazy that people are unaware of that."

- Yotam Gil, Imagen co-founder

At the time, he and co-founder, Yotam Gil, happened to be studying how to enhance photos using deep learning and artificial intelligence.

(In other words, they and third co-founder, Ron Oren, are total computer geeks and we get to benefit from their genius 🤓).

Imagen was officially released to the world in 2020.

And the rest is recent history.

Imagen Discount Code

Interested in trying it for yourself?

Anyone can access Imagen's free trial, which gives you 1,000 FREE image edits (no credit card required).

Or you can use my partner link to receive an extra 500 free edits on top of that (so 1,500 total).

Imagen photo editing software user review on Facebook
ABOVE: User comment from the Imagen Community Facebook page. (SOURCE: Facebook.)

Imagen Photo Editing Pricing

Once your free trial is finished, you can opt to subscribe to the monthly Imagen service.

It's $7 USD p/m (approx. $10 AUD - but check current conversion here).

If your monthly usage is less than $7 worth (which is equivalent to 140 standard photo edits either with your creator or talent profiles), the difference is charged and used as editing credit in the future.

This is to help account for the often seasonal nature of professional photography: some months you're flat out and some months you're quiet.

So in the quieter months when you're not utlising Imagen as much, the credit balance carries over for the next month (or so on) when your workload increases.

And - bonus - you can cancel your subscription whenever you need to.

There's no lock-in contract 🙌🏼.

Here are some pricing examples for you to help you quickly gauge your potential Imagen expenditure:

No. of Photos (5c ea.)Crop (1c)Straighten (1c)TOTAL ($USD)
----
500--$25
500YES-$30
500YESYES$35
1000--$50
1000YES-$60
1000YESYES$70
5000--$250
5000YES-$300
5000YESYES$350
10,000--$500
10,000YES-$600
10,000YESYES$700

Now, I don't know what outsourcing to a real life editor costs but I bet you it's more than that...and takes a bucket load longer.

Imagen Photo Editing Software Pricing
ABOVE: Imagen's pricing is the same whether you're opting to use talent or creator profiles. AI cropping and straightening services are optional extras. (SOURCE: Imagen.)

Co-founder, Yotam, said Imagen as a company is always listening to photographers' feedback and welcomes ideas re: pricing model (and anything else).

"We're definitely open to changes," he said.

Optional Extras

Extra optional paid services in Imagen include AI straightening and cropping. Each is an additional 1c (USD) per photo.

Some users don't like handing this step over to an AI service (as per discussions in the Imagen Community page on Facebook).

I think it's another way to save time and fussing about.

editing software user review on Facebook
ABOVE: User comment from the Imagen Community Facebook page. (SOURCE: Facebook.)

In my experience thus far, Imagen does a solid job at auto straightening and cropping overall.

Sometimes the crops are on the tighter side of things.

Other times I wonder how I got so precise at my in-camera composition...before I remember the invisible Imagen tech pixies - in a number of cases - actually did it for me 😊.

There's Always a Catch

It sounds dire but stick with me.

Two things:

1) Imagen is not retouching software.

Certainly not yet anyway - although let's be honest, with such powerful AI technology at its core (and driving its development), I'd suggest we probably need to stay tuned on that one...

Imagen photo editing software user review on Facebook
ABOVE: User comment from the Imagen Community Facebook page. Now Imagen can help cull for you too so you can cull and edit with the power of AI all from the one place. (SOURCE: Facebook.)

2) It's important to be clear and fully transparent: when you start with Imagen, it's unlikely to edit your photos to your 100 percent satisfaction.

Possible? Yes.

Highly likely in the first instance? No.

Photography is, after all, a creative (and subjective) pursuit.

"After you finished finalising your photos in Lightroom, you send back the final edits [to Imagen] and the profile keeps learning your style. It keeps getting more and more accurate and reflecting your style better."

- Yotam Gil, Imagen co-founder

A Photographer's Dream - The Fastest Photo Editing Software

Frankly, I'm somewhat relieved Imagen 'only' does say 90 percent of the heavy-lifting editing for me.

It speedily gets my photos to that near-done point so when I start manually editing / finessing, I'm only focusing on the fun bit: adding my personal touch; my signature style and brand aesthetic.

Doing the subjective and creative work only a human can do.

Aaaaall the grunt work's done for me (and the more I edit, the more accurately I can train my profile by way of fine-tuning). I get to play with local and stylised adjustments to help further finesse the finished product.

And I'm able to use all the time saved elsewhere and on better things - be that for business or personal purposes 👍🏼.

Friends, it's a photographer's dream.

It's got to be the fastest outsourced photo editing available.

Seriously.

If you value your time, try it for yourself and see ✅.

"[Imagen] has increased my ability to get my work-life balance back. I get to spend more time with my kids, I get to read more books...whereas before, with the amount of photography I did, I wouldn't have had this time."

- Samantha Li, photographer + Imagen Global Ambassador

"Our main goal is to make photographers' lives easier and more productive...so if you feel you have something that holds you back; that takes a lot of your time; that you think can be automated, we want to hear it. It could be any aspect of your work. Today it's be editing but we are thinking about any part of your workflow as a photographer."

- Yotam Gil, Imagen co-founder

Free Imagen Resources

Looking for more information and other's opinions on Imagen? Check out the other free resources available:

Facebook community page for Imagen photo editing software
ABOVE: Join the private Facebook community page for Imagen photo editing software. (SOURCE: Facebook.)
YouTube page for Imagen photo editing software
ABOVE: YouTube channel home page for Imagen photo editing software. (SOURCE: YouTube.)
Knowledge centre home page for Imagen photo editing software
ABOVE: The Imagen knowledge centre home page. (SOURCE: Imagen.)
Blog home page for Imagen photo editing software
ABOVE: Helpful and interesting articles over on the Imagen blog. (SOURCE: Imagen.)
Workflows podcast home page by Imagen photo editing software
ABOVE: Check out the 'Workflows' podcast by Imagen. (SOURCE: Imagen.)

Thanks so much for visiting.

Please share this post if you know another photographer or image editor who might be interested and if you have a moment to leave a comment below - positive or constructive - that'd be most appreciated.

Thanks heaps.

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COMMENTS Expand -
    1. Isn’t it cool, Corey?! More and more AI tools and functionality coming our way. It’s exciting indeed. Thanks so much for taking the time to have a scan and leave a comment. I really appreciate it, especially from someone of your calibre 🙌🏼.

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