Background Cut Out Apps. Worth it or worthless?

We had a great couple of sessions at London HatWeek (LHW) where we discussed millinery photography. I’ll be posting some tips etc over the next few weeks.

One thing that did come up was a question around how good, bad or indifferent applications that cut out the background.

I have tested a few of these and the results have not been that impressive, for me at least. ‘Selection’ (which is what we call it in Photoshop language) is important. But it also requires a great deal of skill and precision otherwise it can have a counter productive effect, potentially making your image look amateur.

I used one service recently who claimed to use AI technology (doesn’t everyone these days?) to make the process easy to do, simple upload, image back with the background cut out within 48 hours. So I uploaded a copy on a free offer to see what the output would be like. Normally they reckon they could turn around an image for $1.49. If this worked as well as the company said it would I started thinking. I’d have a cheap as chips retoucher and that time/cost would be removed out of my process.

About a day later they sent me back my image edited by them.

Now I get the argument for a magazine white background and I plan to do a separate post on that later. But I think the AI retouch diminishes the image with edges feeling overly harsh and no shadow background. The model, Indy, and the hat look flat. Indy’s hair has lost its softness. This may be exactly what you want but do your clients or potential clients? I rejected the image as not up to the standard of my usual work.

Selection is a very hard skill to master, and I am still learning to do it after 4 years. It is even harder in millinery because feather plumage, for example, is very fine to select and mask.

I guess the moral of the story is that at $1.49 you get what you pay for.

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