How can virtual photography benefit eCommerce businesses?

Photorealistic Rendering / Virtual Photography / eCommerce

October 26, 2021 – Gerda Verbickaite

Product photoshoots can be quite an expensive and time consuming affair for various eCommerce businesses. From finding a photographer, renting the photoshoot venue, building the set, having all the products and all their possible variations brought to be prepared and photographer, to be topped off with a very hefty bill. 

This is where virtual photographer, or 3D photorealistic rendering comes into play. The larger the item, or the higher configurability it has, the more sense it suddenly starts to make for creating a computer generated image instead. 

So in this blog let’s go through all the pros and cons of virtual photography for your business:

  • How can I start using a virtual photographer / photorealistic rendering in practise? 
  • Virtual studio means any location is always accessible
  • Spend less time, but get more out of it
  • Get more for your buck with virtual photography 
  • Smaller chance for errors 
  • When should you opt for traditional photography anyway?
audionord speakers sayduck photorealistic render
Audionord’s Magnepan speaker photorealistic render in a lifestyle scene created by Sayduck modellers

How can I start using a virtual photographer / photorealistic rendering in practise? 

First of all, to start off with virtual photography you would need to have your product 3D models. If you do, you can upload them on our platform, open the product and start snapping pictures

On the other hand, it’s not a problem if you don’t yet have a 3D model. Nowadays, with 3D technology rapidly advancing, creating 3D models is not as expensive as it might have once been. The price per model can start as cheaply as a couple hundred dollars, depending on the complexity of the model. 

So, you have your 3D models ready, now there are two main ways how you could create photorealistic renders:

1. If you want a simple clean background, in which you can display your product alone from any angle it’s as simple as clicking the Render button and downloading the image.

2. Another option is to create a whole scene render, which could be a beautiful apartment, a beach in California, or any other place you would like us to create, and place a model in that environment. For this option our modelling team would be involved in generating the scene, making it a bit more manual, but still a very affordable and fast option. 

ikea stockholm sofa render made by sayduck
Ikea Stockholm Whitespace render, done through the Sayduck platform
sayduck tempur sofa photorealistic render
Tempur bed photorealistic render in a full lifestyle scene done by professional modellers
Pros Cons
Traditional Photoshoot
  • Easier to visualize the product in real environment
  • Familiar process
  • Can make sure the product works in the environment
  • If photoshoot goes wrong, everything will need to be repeated
  • Expensive 
  • Very time consuming in location and talent scouting, shooting and post production
  • Need physical products and all their colour / size variations available
  • Required renting a space, props for setup
Whitespace Rendering
  • Included in the Sayduck platform subscription
  • Instant photos from any angle
  • No need for physical product
  • Possible to showcase every colour and size
Lifestyle Scenes 
  • Product can be in various locations and setups to reflect your brand and image
  • Realistic settings often cheaper than traditional photoshoots
  • Relatively fast in comparison to traditional photoshoot
  • Requires a 3D model
  • More time consuming than a Whitespace Rendering

Let’s dive a bit deeper into all these cons and pros of getting rid of expensive studio setups and replacing them with your personal virtual photographer. 

Virtual studio means any location is always accessible

Depending on where you are located, the photoshoot locations available will highly vary, however, photorealistic renders make your photoshoot studio virtual and very accessible.  

For certain products it might make sense putting them in locations that fit their purpose – a couch in a living room, a garden furniture outdoors, but making all of these photoshoots would cost an arm and a leg. 

While creating sets to match the product, you can also make sure the environment fits the brand as well as the lifestyle that the brand promotes. 

Spend less time, but get more out of it

Anyone who has done product photoshoots knows that one of it’s main bottlenecks is time:

  • Get the products (or the prototypes)
  • Create the concept
  • Location scouting
  • Photographer scouting
  • Product delivery to the location
  • Location setup
  • Waiting for the photos to come and hope it all works together. 

This process can take weeks if not months, involve a lot of people, and the end product is not always certain. 

A photorealistic render, on the other hand, cuts through most of these steps, and can be done within a seconds for a Whitespace Render or a couple days for a Lifestyle Scene. And unlike a photoshoot, if the end result is not what you were looking for – it can always be changed. 

Get more for your buck with virtual photography 

Not only does traditional photography take a lot of time, it also often can be too costly for various small-mid sized eCommerce businesses. On average, 3D models can be up to 6x times cheaper than traditional photography, and with guaranteed results. 

It might sometimes sound counterintuitive, that photorealistic renders could be cheaper than taking a real photo, however, if you have a larger product, especially with different colours and sizes or just a big catalogue of products, which you want to display in locations that fit certain lifestyle, the cost can quickly rack up, with traditional photoshoots. 

If you want a photo with a clean background and you already have your 3D models on our platform, you can within seconds create high quality photos from any angle, colour or size, without added cost in our Virtual Photo Studio. 

Creating your own Whitespace Photorealistic renders in our Photo Studio is as simple as clicking a button

Smaller chance for errors 

While on a photoshoot, sometimes a human error happens, and unfortunately, in some cases the only way to fix those mistakes can be to redo the whole photoshoot. Other times, we might realise, the concept didn’t work, once it has already been realised. 

When working with 3D models, it is much easier to change the environments, fix the human mistakes and make sure everything looks as perfect as we wish it to be. 

We can test locations, colours, light and everything else. 

When should you opt for traditional photography anyway? 

Sometimes even with all the reasons, traditional photography still might make more sense than photorealistic rendering. 

Pretty much, if you have a 3D model, or would plan to take your product catalogue to 3D and Augmented Reality – photorealistic renders are a way to go. 

But if you have a huge catalogue of products that rapidly change, and taking to 3D and Augmented Reality won’t bring much benefit, then traditional photography would do the trick. 

In a nutshell the benefits of photorealistic renders are: 

  1. Save your time and money by simplifying your marketing process
  2. Maintain consistent brand / lifestyle throughout your photography
  3. Have endless supply of photos within seconds, for any marketing activities
  4. No limitations on your physical location

Do you need high quality realistic product visuals for your eCommerce website, social media, catalogue, and etc.? Contact us to showcase the best sides of your products online. 

Take your eCommerce experience to the 3D/AR realm with Sayduck platform!

Get in touch with our experts!

Learn more about Photorealistic Rendering and 3D Modelling

Gerda Verbickaite
Head of Marketing, Sayduck