One cannot brush aside the importance of using high quality product images for your e-commerce. Whether you have a B2B or B2C focused business, product image quality plays a crucial role in influencing (and enticing) customers.

To generate product-specific images, there are multiple options including hiring a professional photographer or leveraging photorealistic image rendering. These are the two of the most popular options. In this article, we present you with an in-depth comparison of both approaches along with the pros and cons of each.

Option 1: Hiring an On-site Professional Photographer


No Set-up Costs

You don’t have to procure any special equipment or subscribe to any enterprise software service. The professional photographer brings his own for the purpose. In addition, you also save time that instead could have been spent researching needed equipment, software, and their implementations.


Having accumulated extensive experience in the trade, a professional photographer will know what works and what doesn’t. They have incentives to provide you high quality images as your e-commerce store’s success means more future contracts for them.  


Higher Cost Per Image

Compared to its alternative, photorealistic product images, the per-image cost of hiring a photographer is much higher. The more images needed, the higher the cost. This cancause a dilemma for those on a strict budget, constraining how many productswill be photographed and which to put on hold for later.

Cost to Restock Inventory

There is asignificant additional cost to this method not included in the photography fees, the set-uptime and cost to bespent to pulling products out from inventory, gettingthem photographedand restocking once complete. In fact, for bigger products such as cars, furniture, etc., removing and restocking them can be incredibly challenging and extremely costly.

Option 2: Photorealistic Product Imagery

Photorealistic Product Imagery is an ideal alternative for those who want to save time, effort and money without compromising on image quality.


Greater Flexibility

Photorealistic product images eliminate the stress of coordinating extensive photoshoots, stocking and re-stocking inventory, waiting for edited images and uploading each one by one. Ownership of the image is a big deal, often times a professional photographer will retain image license. When you make an image from CAD, you will always own the image outright.

Much Lower Costs Per Image

Depending on the type of CAD or other files you have on hand, the potential starting costs may be high. The cost per image however is comparativelynegligible to that of photographed images. If you are planning on producing hundreds or more of different product-specific images, leveraging photorealistic imagery could likely be very economical.

Improved Workflow

Leveraging product-specific imagescan eliminate many of the variables and problems that come with hiring an external photographer. You do not have to wait for a product prototype or pulling stock to begin creating your online product portfolio. A 3D CAD model of the product is enough to generate realistic product images.


Many product specific product imaging approaches make use of 3D modeling software. Compared to traditional photography, getting the right settings (e.g., staging, lighting, angle, and shadow) is easier and quicker with a photorealistic product image rendering software.

Achieving the same results with the traditional photography approach can be extremely time-efficient, especially if multiple images are involved. Additionally, the quality is arguably just as good if not better, proving difficult to decipher which image is a photo realistic rendering and which was shot by a photographer.


Higher Initial Cost

You will need to outsource product-specific imagesto a third-party company unless you have an in-house team and the technology to do so. Startup costs vary depending on your assets. If CAD models are unavailable or you only have drawings or renderings for your products, there could be additional costs needed to create the files for product-specific images.

Concluding Note

While there can be a significant upfront investment to create photorealistic product imagery, the ROI can be very attractive in the long run. It can deliver product-specific images that will meet your e-commerce needs and ultimately help you to boost your online sales.

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About the Author: CDS Visual

CDS Visual is helping lead the digital business revolution for industries all over the world. Whether you’re an OEM or parts distributor, we will help you convert prospects into buyers – while reducing engineering costs.

Turn ordinary CAD drawings into dynamic 3D product experiences that captivate and engage your audience.


Call us at 408-550-8820