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Square has just announced a new service, which allows businesses to get product photos for cheap – just $10 USD for a set of three product photos.
The only caveat?
The product photos are all taken by a robot.
Yes, you read that correctly. Square, a company known for its credit-card transaction tools, built a $20,000 USD robot that takes simple product photos with a white background.
Here’s how it works:
You send your products to Brooklyn, where the robot lives. Staff arranges the products on a table surrounded by lights and a white background.
Then an arm moves around your products while holding a Nikon DSLR, snapping away with a single robotic finger.
Square staff then select the best three product photos. They do a bit of post-processing before sending them along to you, the owner.
If you’re a small business owner who doesn’t have product photography skills and can’t afford to spend on a photographer, this may be just what you need.
But if you’re a product photographer who relies on basic product setups for your income, this news doesn’t bode well. If the Square Photo Studio robot is successful, it’s likely that the idea will spread, fast, edging professional photographers out of the more basic product photography markets.
And news of a robot photographer isn’t only relevant to product photographers. It matters to shooters of all stripes.
Automated photography may start with product images, but where will it stop? Will robot photographers expand? What could be the next target for automation?
They may seem like silly questions, but they’re worth asking.
That’s why this story is so important. It gets at a question that many of us have ignored thus far:
Ten years from now, will most photography be done by humans? Or by robots?
What do you think about robot photographers? Do you think that a product photography robot will catch on? Let me know in the comments!