Impossible Things VS Imagen VS Aftershoot | AI Photo Editor Comparison

Impossible Things VS Imagen VS Aftershoot | AI Photo Editor Comparison

Editing photos with AI is becoming increasingly popular, and today there are some valuable competitors in the market! What used to be a slow, clunky process is now a powerful tool set that can eliminate hours from your editing workflow.

In this article, we are going to compare what appear to be the top three competitors in the market: Imagen VS Aftershoot VS Impossible Things. All of these AI-powered photo editors are very impressive, indeed, and offer great features and value. However, they are rather different, so one of them might be better than the others for your exact needs.

So, what are the strengths and weaknesses of Aftershoot, Impossible Things, and Imagen? Simply put, it mainly comes down to two things: the workflow and the results. 

In terms of the workflow, ask yourself this question: 

“What does a typical editing process look like, and how could you save time?” 

With regard to the results, of course, it will all come down to the image quality. (To be blunt: how good is the AI behind each of these three programs?)

Each application is working with Adobe Lightroom, so we have access to powerful tools for culling, organizing, and one of the best raw photo processing for color-correction, contrast, highlight & shadow recovery, noise reduction, and more. So, how does each AI use the same tools to get the best results? Let’s dive in and find out!

Impossible Things VS Imagen VS Aftershoot | Feature Comparison

First and foremost, let’s consider the similarities among these three applications. Imagen, Aftershoot, and Impossible things all use their own proprietary artificial intelligence engines to edit your photos. (In other words, they aren’t just piggybacking on an OpenAI / GPT-type AI platform; these are built from the ground up for photographers!)

They all use Adobe Lightroom as your workflow platform, and they all allow you to create your own AI-powered style of editing, or choose from their existing AI “profiles”. Plus, whether you train your own AI profile or start with an existing one, each app has its own ways that you can fine-tune the results so that over time the AI gets better and better at doing a perfect job!

This is where things start to get different, however, and each program might be a better (or worse) value to you as a photographer. 

For example, Aftershoot and Imagen both require you to go out of Lightroom and open up separate program to interact with your Lightroom catalog(s). This creates a bit of back-and-forth, which can take up a few extra minutes of your time for every editing session. Additionally, some of these applications use their online servers to perform edits, while others do not, and this can also affect the speed of your overall workflow, even if the edits themselves are “lightning fast” on a per-image basis. 

In short, here is a quick breakdown:

  • Imagen AI photo editing requires an internet connection; you must load each Lightroom Catalog onto their server, and apparently this also requires smart previews to be generated. 
  • Aftershoot, on the other hand, can work without an internet connection. Once you’ve trained the AI engine, you can edit offline; an internet connection is only required to update the AI profile, or create a new one.
  • Impossible Things works completely within Lightroom, doesn’t require any extensive AI training, but does does require an internet connection to perform edits. (There does not seem to be any upload/download lag time, however, that might be associated with actually transferring an LRCAT file or raw previews over the internet.)

As mentioned, each application offers built-in creative AI styles for you to choose from, such as “Talent AI Profiles” from Imagen, or Impossible Things’ vast collection of “Cloud Styles” from the DVLOP (Lightroom Presets) platform.

Additionally, each app allows you to fine-tune the AI’s editing by giving it feedback, allowing you to save more and more time on post-production. 

However, major differences arise once again, so at this point we’d better dive into the actual Pros & Cons of each product…

Impossible Things - Pros & Cons

  • Platform: Adobe Lightroom Classic
  • AI Training Process: None, Fully pre-trained
  • AI Fine-Tuning Process: User-Based Custom Tuning, Continual deep learning, “Intelligence Slider”
  • Lightroom Integration: Plugin/Extension
  • Culling: No
  • Cloud Backup: No
  • Cropping, Straightening & Masking: Yes (included)
  • Re-Edits: Unlimited
  • Free Trial: 500 Free Edits
    • $0.07 / edit (pay-as-you-go)
    • $0.05 / edit ($10/month)
    • $49 / month = unlimited edits

Impossible Things offers both types of pricing models, and each one offers excellent value compared to the others. Their simplest option of $0.07 per image offers all their AI tools, including your own AI profile which they call “Custom Tuning”, access to all additional “Cloud Styles”, as well as cropping, straightening, & masking. 

For those who need to jump from just a couple/few hundred photos per month to thousands of photos per month, the Impossible Things unlimited subscription is just $49/mo.

The only notable drawbacks compared to the other two in this trio are these: Impossible Things only offers AI photo editing; it does not offer culling (as of yet), nor does it offer any cloud backup solutions.

Honestly, though, the greatest advantage is what’s under the hood in terms of Impossible Things’ AI editing, and how it handles your images. Unique to their AI is a “Lighting Condition Based Development” system, that recognizes a fundamental truth about editing any image: Whether it was captured in “good” light or “harsh” light has a significant impact on how that photo must be edited in order to achieve a certain look! With this in mind, Impossible Things trained its AI on over 1 million images, and can recognize the conditions your photos were shot in, so that your creative style stays consistent whether your photos are captured outdoors or indoors, in good or “bad” light, etc.

This is truly one of the types of things where “you have to see it to believe it”, which is why Impossible Things offers 500 free edits as a trial.

The lack of AI model “training” is a welcome benefit, since you can simply install the application, open Lightroom, and get to work whether it is just one or two photos, or thousands. Meaning, you don’t have to first train the AI with thousands of your own images. You’re good to go right out of the box! 

But here’s one of the most significant differences between Impossible Things and other solutions. The pre-trained 1M+ image foundation that Impossible Things is built on allows users to use any of THEIR OWN presets to edit. Meaning, instead of having to go through the AI training process for each and every style you want to work with, you can simply use any preset that you’ve purchased or created yourself in Lightroom Classic. Or, of course, you can use their pre-built “Cloud Styles”. 

On top of that is the ability to “Custom Tune” the AI with any of those presets. This feature makes Impossible Things unique and powerful right out of the gate, compared to the others which have a set/restricted number of “profiles” allowed, and require each AI profile to be trained on thousands of your own pre-edited images.

Fine-tuning your results with Impossible Things is accomplished in multiple ways: You can go into the (Lightroom plugin) Custom Tuning menu and simply tell it that you’d like your images to be a bit brighter/darker, or warmer/cooler, etc. Additionally, there is the “Intelligence Slider”, which allows you to fine-tune just how much creative liberty the AI is allowed to take when editing your photos. (A lower Intelligence Slider setting causes the AI to copy your current editing as precisely as possible; a higher setting allows the AI to deviate a bit more, based on how it thinks settings ought to change in different lighting conditions, for example.)

Imagen - Pros & Cons

  • Platform: Adobe Lightroom
  • AI Training Process: 3,000 edited photos, OR, 1-image “Lite Personal” profile, OR, Talent AI profile
  • AI Fine-Tuning Process: New LRCAT upload, new profile creation, manual adjustments
  • Lightroom Integration: External Application
  • Culling: Yes
  • Cloud Backup:Optional, Lightroom catalog & raw photos (original or compressed)
  • Cropping, Straightening & Masking: Yes (additional $0.01 charge / each)
  • Re-Edits: Yes
  • Free Trial: 1000 free edits
    • $0.05 / edit (pay-as-you-go)
    • $67.50 / month (18K edits / year)
    • $127.50 / month (36K edits / year)
    • $240 / month (72K edits / year)
    • Enterprise (Custom pricing, 100K+ photos / year)
    • $3 / month (500 GB)
    • $10 / month (2 TB)

Imagen also offers both per-image and monthly subscription pricing, but with some differences in the pricing tiers and overall value. The $0.05 per edit price is suitable for many hobbyist and professional photographers, and the $67.50 monthly subscription offers 18,000 edits per year.

However, caveats include the fact that additional tools such as cropping, straightening, and AI masking cost an additional one cent per tool, per image. Furthermore, note that the monthly subscription 

This could be a value disadvantage if you use these tools a lot, or it could be an advantage if you only rarely need any of those AI tools.

One huge advantage of Imagen, of course, is their built-in culling feature, plus their unique built-in cloud backup tool. Since you are uploading your Lightroom catalog, (and raw image smart previews) …it is very nice that this workflow step can also include a cloud backup of your full-res images too! There are two options for the Imagen Cloud service: Optimized” photos, or Original photos. The former we assume is using LOSSY compression to reduce the file size by up to 4:1, while the latter is uploading your actual original image files. (Admittedly, this would surely bog down your internet quite heavily, and even Imagen themselves recommend using the “Optimized photos” option.) 

Lastly, keep in mind that it is free to back up (we assume 2000px, as this is the size of a LR Classic Smart Preview) ultra-low-resolution versions of your images.

One of the main disadvantages of Imagen is that in order to get the closest to “perfection” in terms of editing to your own style, they require you to upload a Lightroom catalog with at least 3,000 photos you have already edited. (To be clear: ideally, all 3K photos should be edited with the standard and style that you want the AI to achieve!)

This could be a major hurdle to new photographers, whether hobbyist or aspiring professional, since very few will already have an existing Lightroom catalog with that many photos, especially with every single photo edited with the style you want! 

For a working wedding photographer, of course, this might be an average workweek of editing; in fact there are probably tens of thousands of similarly edited photos already complete and ready to train your AI…)

Imagen does offer perfectly good solutions as work-arounds to this, of course; their Lite Personal profile can create an AI profile for you in just a few seconds, using just one of your own edits. Alternatively, of course, you can always choose one of their preexisting Talent AI profiles.

Aftershoot - Pros & Cons

  • Platform: Adobe Lightroom, Capture One (w/ Pro/Max)
  • Lightroom Integration: External Application
  • AI Training Process: Lightroom Catalog uploading, continuous learning
  • AI Fine-Tuning Process: New LRCAT upload, new profile creation, manual adjustments
  • Culling: Yes
  • Cloud Backup: Limited LRCAT backups
  • Cropping & Straightening: Yes ($7/mo addition)
  • Re-Edits: Yes
  • Free Trial: 30-day
    • $10 / month (culling only; unlimited)
    • $15 / month (pre-built AI editing only; unlimited)
    • $20 / month (culling + pre-built AI editing; unlimited)
    • $40 / month (unlimited culling + 1 personal AI editing profile)
    • $60 / month (unlimited culling + 5 personal AI editing profiles, 2 device logins)

Like the others, Aftershoot offers multiple ways to edit your photos, including a “Personal AI Editing Profile” that you train using your own images, (the more the better, of course) …or a Pre-Built AI Style”.

One of the key things to note about Aftershoot is that none of their plans use a per-image pricing structure. Even their most affordable option, at just $10/mo when billed annually, includes unlimited photos! This could be very advantageous to photographers who know they have lots of photos to edit; Aftershoot could provide peace of mind as an affordable solution even if you have a sudden spike in your business.

However, keep in mind that $10/mo only gets you either culling or editing; getting both is $20/mo, billed annually. ($240)

Furthermore, note that the “Essentials” plans only include their Pre-Built AI profiles; you do not get to train your own AI unless you upgrade to the Pro or Max subscription, which are $40/mo and $60/mo, respectively. 

(Last but not least, note that the Pro subscription includes ONE custom AI profile, plus cropping and straightening, and additional Personal AI Profiles are $7 each.)

By comparison, Imagen’s monthly subscription sets you back $67.50/mo ($810/yr) for 18,000 photos per year, for both culling and editing, and Impossible Things’ subscription at $49/mo (588/yr) for unlimited photos and effectively unlimited AI profiles.

The workflow of Aftershoot has one key advantage: no internet connection required! This may be a decision-maker for photographers who do a lot of editing work while on the go, traveling, etc. Once you train the AI profile, you can cull and/or edit as many photos as you want, any time you want.

The proof is in the pudding, however, and in this case, that’s the resulting image quality.

Impossible Things VS Imagen VS Aftershoot | Conclusion

All of these applications are a huge leap forward in any photographer’s post-production workflow, compared to manually color-correcting every single photo you ever deliver to your clients, or share with friends & family. Honestly, you could choose any of these options and be much better off than we all were 10+ years ago!

With that being said, there are a few clear winners. That is to say, there are certain areas where one of these apps pulls ahead of the others.

  1. In terms of actual color-correction, we have to give a nod to Impossible Things for just keeping it simple and offering a great value. They trained their AI on over 1M images, so you can get started right away. Furthermore, the color-correction is very spot-on thanks to their patent-pending AI system that understands lighting conditions better than anything else. On top of that, you can train the AI to work with any presets you have installed into LR Classic. Therefore, if you can afford the $49/mo billed yearly, (or $59 per month) we highly recommend Impossible Things. (The drawback being, it’s the only one of these three that doesn’t currently offer culling.)
  2. For anyone who is looking for a little more versatility in their value, the Aftershoot business model does offer an extensive variety of options. If all you need is culling, just $10/mo will do it! If all you need is editing, again, $10/mo will do it, with their preexisting AI styles, that is. And of course, both tools are $20/mo. (All figures billed yearly) Beyond that, however, the pricing gets close to Impossible Things, and we do prefer their results. Then again, Aftershoot has one unique feature: totally offline editing!
  3. Imagen offers a little bit of everything, with both an affordable per-image option and a monthly subscription. However, the monthly subscriptions of 36K and 72K images per year do get rather pricey, at $127/mo and $240/mo, respectively. Many portrait photographers might not have a problem, but high-volume wedding photographers sure could. Imagen does offer the most additional perks, with culling, cloud backup, and three different ways to get an AI “profile”.

Which one of these three is right for you? Again, it depends on your exact needs and your (yearly, let’s be honest, not monthly) budget. Based on the features and pricing, you should now have a better idea of which one is perfect for you!

David Strauss's picture

David Strauss is a wedding photographer based in Charleston, SC.

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Great article comparing features between those 3 softwares.

I would add, as a wedding photographer that has extensively used Imagen and Impossible Things to edit hundreds of weddings, that indeed Impossible Things seems better on paper. It's cheaper, more simple to use and faster to set up. But in real life what I really care for is for the software to meet the promise of perfectly edited pictured within seconds. And in that regard, Imagen is waaaaay better. Its extremely consistent and deals with difficult lightning scenarios. Sadly, Impossible Things is so inconsistent with its results, that I found it dissapointing.

May I add that FStopper didn't metion their conflict of interest. The owners (Lee and Patrick) are close friends with Pye, the owner of impossible things. You should have disclosed it.

I have not tried any of these but you should look into Evoto also. It does a very nice job.

At these prices you're better off going to take some classes and learn how to do better with what you have.

60 a month? Thats adobes whole suite. The pricing is ludicrous on all of them. But wow they are life-changing. Sure.

I feel like these new businesses are pricing things in a way that's kind of like "find the suckers first and adjust later."

Also think it's pretty disingenuous to make a bold statement like these are going to supercharge your workflow. There's no way for the writer to assess that and that's pure hyperbole.

Hard pass.

--- "Also think it's pretty disingenuous to make a bold statement like these are going to supercharge your workflow. There's no way for the writer to assess that and that's pure hyperbole."

Well, he is a wedding photographer, so in terms of reviewing mass editing software, he is qualified to assess workflow improvements.