March 17

AI Headshots (Fake) that Look Real

I totally need new headshots (and a new demo reel, but that’s a different story).

I’ve been putting it off because, well, my husband started baking bread and I’m celebrating carbs much more than I need to.

So when I saw an offer to create AI-powered headshots for $30 from a company called StudioShot, I couldn’t resist.

My Virtual Photo Shoot

I uploaded about 20 selfies, and about 3 days later, they sent 76 photos (click here for the full collection), which included me with short hair, long hair; bangs, no bangs; one chin, a couple of chins; and a wide variety of clothing and backdrop styles.

Wow. I mean wow. These are way too good.

AI-generated headshots of Beth Z, Your Nerdy Best Friend

Did I mention that it only cost me 30 bucks?

They’re Pretty Much “Me”

The AI version of me closely resembles my real appearance, but with a few enhancements. The hairstyle options are on point, the glasses are accurate, the makeup is impeccable, and the proportions seem correct (although I suspect the AI slimmed me down a bit for this shoot).

However, there are certain details that don’t quite match up. For instance, the earrings in some images aren’t my typical style, and what the heck is that tropical monstrosity? A few of the photos even feature me in vests, which is not my style at all. And one hairstyle appears to be a mullet!

Would You Use a Fake Headshot?

Despite these minor inconsistencies, I could easily see people using these AI-generated photos on promotional materials or on professional platforms like LinkedIn without anyone noticing the difference.

As a keynote speaker, I would rather use authentic photos that better capture my personality. But part of me is intrigued by the idea of using these AI-generated images with a clear disclaimer about their origin to showcase the fascinating potential of AI technology.

However, I find myself grappling with various thoughts and concerns about the implications of AI-generated headshots. I’d love to hear your opinions on this topic. Please share your thoughts in the comments below or join the conversation on LinkedIn (people have thoughts. Lots of thoughts.).


Tags

branding, business essentials, efficiency, photos, social media


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  • While I am VERY worried about A.I. destroying entire industries and professions, I ain’t impressed by all these “fake” portraits. It seems more CUTE than SOPHISTICATED to change the backgrounds and and angles and backdrops. The important thin in a portrait is the EXPRESSION on one’s face. And all of them in this collection are exactly the same. Score: Reality 10, A.I. -0-.

  • I’m very impressed and it is a heck of a lot cheaper to use this option than it is to hire a photographer to give you his/her one magic shot. I’ve had the privilege of attending several of your presentations over the years. I would have had no idea these are AI generated without you providing the disclaimer. They look really good!

    • By using an AI platform for photos, you are taking a person’s means of making a living away from them. It is like self-checkouts– I want to deal with humans, not machines. If I wanted to be a checker, I would apply for the job

  • If AI is used innocently, then it would be good, but like all modern technology, the baddies in our world will use it to evil purposes, some of which I know may and will destroy people’s lives. I cannot live with that.

  • I like it and would use it. Especially since I’m not that photogenic, I can use all the help I can get. Depending on the options, it would be a good way to try out hairstyles or makeup trends before spending a couple hundred bucks on a look that doesn’t fit.

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