Product photography in 3D - the soon to be industry standard

Content production for brands is hard but since the rise of social media more important than ever before. However, photographers are expensive and come with a lot of administrative work. 3D technology is going to change photography at its fundamentals and here you can read why.

September 23, 2019

Obviously, having great product shoots is essential for modern marketing strategies. However, photo shootings are expensive and take quite a long time.

Brands like IKEA or Mercedes have been using 3D product photography to create stunning visuals for over 15 years. This kind of technology is now opening up to smaller brands and basically everyone.

1. The problem of content in marketing

Due to the massive surge of social media, companies need a lot of images and videos on a daily basis. In the early days of the internet having some pictures on the website was sufficient. Today, content is more important than ever before. Companies nowadays have to distribute unique visual content to multiple channels like:

• Instagram
• Facebook
• Pinterest
• Tumblr
• Blogs
• Youtube
• Websites

and lots more.

A reason for the importance of great visual content is that 54% of social media users research products on these platforms. Therefore, companies really want to showcase their products in the best possible manner.

The problem is, professional photo shootings are extremely expensive and take a long time. Consequently, many companies simply just can’t afford to make that many video and photo shootings.

As a result, they often use stock content to fill the blanks, which in the long run hurts their reputation as a brand. Period.

2. Great visuals dominate digital channels

Companies that dominate the digital channels on Instagram, Facebook and co, have one thing in common. They have strong visuals. Take a look at these examples on how they use appealing product shoots to boost online views and consequently their sales.


Nivea is using mainly photos of their products in appealing environments to keep their audience updated on new releases and seasonal products.



3. 3D renderings in advertising

Images created on the computer by rendering (CGI) have been a standard in professionally produced commercials for many years.  Just take a look at this example from Mercedes, where they created a virtual photo shooting for their new E-Class model.

(Mercedes-Benz Making Of The New E-Class (filmed by Spellwork Pictures))


Another example is IKEA. Over 75% of all images in the famous IKEA catalog are 3D rendered images.

Furthermore, many companies start to use 3D generated images in brochures, on posters, catalogs, videos and commercials, in animations, e-mails, webshops, mobile apps, on websites and in augmented and virtual reality applications.

The computer-generated images have to meet an ever-increasing demand for quality on the part of the users. In addition, users are becoming more demanding: they want to view products from different perspectives and have them presented appropriately on every channel.

This behavior is learned from e-commerce: online buyers have developed a good feel for product images and take a closer look before they strike.

A high-quality illustration helps the customer to make a purchase decision. The fact, that the share of CGI in product images is constantly increasing is primarily due to the permanent improvements in hardware and software. 3D rendering is therefore at the brink of becoming suitable for mass content creation.

4. Why 3D product photography is the future

Think about the following scenario:

Imagine all objects on the planet would be digitized in 3D. Every plant, fruit, car, building place and location. Now imagine you could shoot hyper-realistic pictures directly from a PC in all of the locations of this virtual earth.

Would you still fly to Paris or The Bahamas for a photo shooting? For the most cases, no is the obvious answer.

One of the main advantages of 3D photography is, that every object has to be created digitally, just once. As a result objects can be reused to do photo shootings in basically every scene imaginable.

This allows new kinds of creative freedom and takes product photography and maybe one day photography itself to a new virtual era.

New technologies in 3D content creation are evolving fast and it's just a matter of time until the 3D reconstruction of an object will be as easy as taking a plain 2D photo nowadays is.

Take a look at this brilliant GitHub Repo summarizing the state of the art in 3D content creation supported through various machine learning methods if you want to get a more in depth understanding.