Have you done any online shopping lately? Did you pick your item and then look at it from every angle? Maybe you checked out how the product would look in different colors with a click of a mouse button. If so, you’ve been taking advantage of virtual photography and 3D rendering while shopping, and if your website design doesn’t include 3D customizable images, you may be losing sales.
Today’s buyers expect to be able to see whatever they are shopping for in various colors, sizes, textures, and materials from different angles before buying. It’s all part of the customer experience. So, brands that make doing business on their website more convenient and a fun, exciting experience will find consumers will reward them with more business.
That’s why 3D virtual photography is a rising trend in the business world – it often yields more stunning results than traditional methods and can be more cost-effective.
If you haven’t utilized 3D virtual photography for your product photos, here’s a quick overview of what it is and how it can help your business.
3D virtual photography uses CAD software to create an image that looks like a real photo. These images can be very realistic and often look indistinguishable from an actual photograph. Virtual photography uses lighting, 3D modeling, and rich textures to create these images. Even though they look realistic, they only require a 3D artist’s talent.
To create an image, you first need to create a 3D model. Once the model is created, you can render the model as an image using other software, such as V-Ray, for texturing the images.
If you haven’t added 3D virtual photography to your website, here are four reasons you should.
Reason #1: Virtual Photography Will Save You Money!
Images have always been part of the customer experience, but in years past a couple of photos were enough to keep customers happy. Unfortunately, today it takes more and more to provide them with a good shopping experience.
According to eMarketer magazine, in 2016 consumers expected to see three images of a product when shopping online. By 2019 they expected eight.
Today’s online shoppers expect to be able to see what they are buying from all angles and want to customize what they are ordering. Having 3D renderings from virtual photographs where they can not only see the item from all sides but also see the item in various colors, sizes, and configurations is what online shoppers want now. As a result, online customization has become a vital part of the user experience.
In today’s market, companies are expected to use 3D virtual photography and renderings if they want to stay ahead of the competition. Moreover, with the increasing trend of consumers shopping online instead of in-person at brick-and-mortar stores, even those retailers and manufacturers who are more old-fashioned are investing in e-commerce.
However, it’s not easy to stand out from the competition, especially regarding imagery. In addition, product photography can be costly because of the transportation and photo shoots required.
But what about traditional photography….
With traditional photography, creating a set to display new products can be costly. First, you’ve got to rent a studio and set it up to best showcase your product. You’ll also have to hire an entire photography crew.
Even when the product is photographed against a blank backdrop, the cost of the studio, crew, and lighting must be considered. Doing a photo shoot becomes even more difficult if your product is oversized or otherwise difficult to photograph, such as houses.
Products available in multiple colors or configurations require images for each configuration. For example, let’s say you sell couches available in 10 different colors. With traditional photography, you would have to build a couch in each color, which can be expensive, and taking a photo of each couch costs you hundreds, possibly thousands, of dollars. And every time you changed or added a new color, you’d have to start the whole setup again.
With 3D virtual photography, one photo of the couch can be rendered in 3D and used in various ways, particularly in allowing customers to customize their couch in the color they want. Once rendered into 3D, the couch image can also be manipulated to show the couch in various configurations and options, allowing consumers to customize their couch. It also allows you to use the couch in different room styles generated by the computer.
For some products, you don’t need anything set up physically, and you don’t even need the actual product. With virtual photography, you can build your product without it ever existing.
3D virtual photography is an incredibly effective way to create stunning, realistic images that can save you time and money. On average, 3D virtual photography and rendering, or CGI (where the product image is created entirely on the computer to look like an actual item), is usually 5 to 10 times more affordable than traditional photo shoots.
Reason #2: Virtual Photography Will Help Increase Sales
Virtual photography is an incredible marketing tool that can bring your business to life with pictures. Whether you need photos for catalogs, ads, social media, or newsletters, visuals are vital in sharing what your products look like and their value to consumers. Even if you only market to other businesses, the business owner will likely use photos to decide if a product is right for them.
Today’s consumers expect to see 3D images when shopping online. Virtual photography and 3D rendering are vital in providing a great buying experience for your customers. If a buyer can customize your product, then it is critical they can see their customization before buying.
By using 3D rendering, your customers not only get to see your product from every angle, but it also allows them to see what their custom choices will look like. Having these 3D images available is especially important if you intend to sell your products on other sites, such as Wayfair or any successful online retailer.
A Harris Poll found US adults are 60% more likely to buy a product shown in 3D. Having 3D images helps them make decisions with more confidence.
In short, investing in quality virtual photography is a great way to show off your products and help increase sales. However, while 3D product rendering has become the more effortless choice, the tricky part is that these services come at varied costs.
For simple products, rates can start as low as $150 for a simple product and increases depending on how detailed or complex the product design is. The more detailed or complex the product design is, the more the rendering will cost. On the other hand, if your product needs a complete setting, such as a room scene to showcase your furniture, that will generally start around $500 and go up, again depending on complexity.
While these are average starting rates, cheaper isn’t always better. Many companies offer very cheap rates in many countries, but the reality is that there is no shortcut to doing a quality product. It simply takes time to pay attention to the details, and you do usually get what you pay for.
Reason #3: You Can Launch Products Faster with Virtual Photography
With any new product, it is essential to get to market fast. So, companies worldwide are racing to be the first to market with any new market.
One way to compete successfully is to ensure your product is in the marketplace first. This may not always be possible or practical with a physical product. Traditionally companies have built prototypes, at great expense, to get their advertising out fast.
With virtual photography, you can create a lifelike representation of a product that doesn’t even exist. For example, an artist can take detailed information about what the product should look like and use it to create a 3D model. This model can then be used in virtual photography to set up and photograph the product as if it were the real thing.
This can be a big help with advertising and making sure your product is out there first.
Reason #4: 3D Images Are More Versatile
Virtual photography is one of the best things: you can create any scene you want without being limited by the real world.
In traditional photography, what you can do is limited by what colors are available, what props you can use, and the studio size. With virtual photography, you can customize the scene however you want. You can access any color, prop, or style you can imagine.
An advantage of using virtual photography is the versatility of the final product. Traditionally, photo shoots are used to get an image for a specific advertising outlet. Images used for a billboard, for example, may not be suitable for use in a catalog. You may need several photo shoots to get the best images for every advertising outlet, including your website design.
With virtual photography, the images can be shot in a format that can be used for all these different types of advertising, saving time and money.
3D virtual photography and renderings were groundbreaking when first launched by Nike in 1991, and in today’s market, shoppers expect this technology when they go to your website. If your company isn’t using virtual photography and renderings, you may miss out on potential customers and opportunities.
If you’re still using traditional photography methods for your business, switching to virtual photography may be your best decision. Once you’ve made the switch, you may never go back to traditional photography again.