Overview
Research proves

3D virtual photography is 6x cheaper than traditional photography

Same result, different technology
3D virtual photography is 6x cheaper than traditional photography. Comparison image from ARsenal by CGtrader
3D Virtual
Traditional

We asked 100+ photo studios worldwide to give us quotes to photoshoot 5 high-end furniture products

To keep things fair, every studio was given the same fixed brief. We then compared this data to the cost of doing exactly the same with 3D virtual photography by CGTrader ARsenal.

the Briefthe Outcome
3D virtual photography vs traditional photography case study product images
5
Different products to shoot
3D virtual photography vs traditional photography case study image wgite background product images
5
White background images per product
3D virtual photography vs traditional photography case study image lifestyle scene
5
Creative lifestyle scenes

Customers also want to visualize your products in different environments, which is why lifestyle scenes are an essential part of product marketing.

the Outcome

And here’s what they came back with…

Taking the average cost by city, 30 product photos will set you back

$11,076

We thought this was pricey. And it wasn’t a “location thing” – we checked around.

The Cost of Photography Around the World

After comparing prices from 17 different cities around the world, we found that the global average cost to shoot 5 products with traditional photography is 6x higher than with 3D.

This increases to almost 8x more for the United States and the most expensive countries. Overall, mainland Europe has the most competitive pricing.

Most expensive countries are Denmark, US and UK.
Most expensive cities are New York, LA and Copenhagen.
Cheapest countries are Germany, Italy and Spain.
Cheapest cities are Montreal, Berlin and Brussels.
Scroll left to see all the regions
Click to see the prices
The Cost of Photography USA & CanadaThe Cost of Photography USA & CanadaThe Cost of Photography USA & Canada
Avarage in the region
$12,331
The Cost of Photography EuropeThe Cost of Photography EuropeThe Cost of Photography Europe
Avarage in the region
$10,388
The Cost of Photography Australia & New ZealandThe Cost of Photography Australia & New ZealandThe Cost of Photography Australia & New Zealand
Avarage in the region
$10,616
* Avarage by County
1 Photoshoot
USA
$13,933
New York
$17,952
Los Angeles
$15,322
Washington
$8,525
Canada
$10,730
Toronto
$13,676
Calgary
$13,004
Ottawa
$10,060
Montreal
$6,178
* Avarage by County
1 Photoshoot
Denmark
Copenhagen
$15,023
UK
London
$11,525
Belgium
$9,626
Antwerp
$10,933
Brussels
$8,319
France
Paris
$10,703
Spain
Madrid
$9,076
Italy
Milan
$8,800
Germany
Berlin
$7,965
* Avarage by County
1 Photoshoot
Australia
Sydney
$10,805
New Zealand
Wellington
$10,427

What makes traditional photography so expensive?

There are multiple variables that take a lot more time, resources and organization with traditional photography compared to 3D virtual photography.

Every studio has their own pricing, making it harder to predict and control your budgets.

1

Product transportation, assembly, and shipping costs

Traditional photography - Product transportation, assembly, and shipping costs
2

Additional equipment, such as lights, backgrounds, & more

Traditional photography - Additional equipment, such as lights, backgrounds, & more
3

Studio rental and location hire

Traditional photography - Studio rental and location hire
4

Labor costs for the photographer and visual stylists

Traditional photography - Labor costs for the photographer and visual stylists
5

Props for lifestyle scenes, such as plants, textiles, candles, cushions, & more

Traditional photography - Props for lifestyle scenes, such as plants, textiles, candles, cushions, & more
6

Post-production image editing

Traditional photography - Post-production image editing

We found that the total cost breaks down to:

Traditional photography - photographer vs equipment/expenses pipe chart
40%
Goes towards the photographer and studio hire
60%
Makes up the rest: transportation, props, editing, etc.

We found that 3D virtual photography is ...

6x
cheaper
than traditional photography
Traditional
in Montreal
$6,178
Average for 5 products
$11,076
in New York
$17,952

Average prices for traditional photography can differ widely according to the many variable costs, such as location hire, transportation, equipment, etc.

Virtual
Fixed price for 5 products
$2,000

Prices for 3D virtual photography are not influenced by geography and are fixed, making it easier to plan budgets.

Let’s deep-dive into the 3D cost breakdown

We then calculated what it would cost to produce 6 visuals for 5 products each, including 5 white background shots and 1 creative lifestyle scene with 3D.

$250
5 x 3D models
$500
25 x SILO scenes
$1250
5 x lifestyle scenes
$2,000

5 products converted into 3D models

The cost to make a brand new 3D model starts at just $50.

5 products converted into 3D models image

5 SILO scenes for each product

For white backgrounds or SILO scenes, the cost is fixed at $20 per scene.

5 SILO scenes for each product image


5 creative lifestyle scene renders

A new lifestyle scene render starts at $250 for one product.

5 creative lifestyle scene renders image


If reusing lifestyle scenes, future costs would be much lower, as each component in the scene can be moved around to create new angles. 3D models can also be re-used for different product variations, such as texture and color.

Create once, re-use forever!

3D Virtual

Traditional

3d virtual vs traditional photography - Photorealistic icon
Photorealistic
3d virtual vs traditional photography - Interactive 3D assets icon
Interactive 3D assets
3d virtual vs traditional photography - Limitless flexibility icon
Limitless flexibility
3d virtual vs traditional photography - Lower costs icon
Lower costs
3d virtual vs traditional photography  - delivery icon
7 days to deliver visuals
3d virtual vs traditional photography  - 100% digital icon
100% digital

What do our customers think about 3D virtual photography?

As we move away from traditional photography to 3D product visualization, CGTrader’s highly photorealistic 3D models allow us to offer compelling brand experiences that drive sales, dramatically reduce buyer’s remorse and ultimately, redefine the concept of traditional retail.

Alex Hamilton
Head of Technology Innovation

Any way we can reduce the amount of returns we receive helps us achieve our sustainability goals. With CGTrader’s 3D & AR tools, we can give customers the confidence and reassurance they need that items will look great in their home before they see them in person

Lauren Meichtry
Founder

When you think about what imagery did to online and what videos did to Instagram… 3D is going to do the same thing because 3D is literally just a new way of communicating something

Vince Lebon
Founder, CEO, and Designer

We found that adding 3D solutions to our product pages at least doubled the amount of time a user spends on the page. This is a game-changer if you want your users to get to know your products better

Scott Washer
VP of eCommerce

3D media makes for a much more interactive shopping experience. Customers can examine our products from every angle, including the option to view products in augmented reality, which helps them get a better sense of quality, size, and other details that matter

Uri Minkoff
Co-founder and CEO

What would it cost for you to try 3D virtual photography?

Now you’ve read our study, let’s see how much you could save.

Get your price image

How was this research conducted?

We outsourced this study to a team of research experts who reached out to more than:

100+
Studios and photographers
17
Cities
11
Countries
  • To get a representative average for each country, we contacted several different studios in different locations to compare prices across cities and suburbs.
  • We collected price data for a fixed brief of 6 product shots - 5 plain white backgrounds and 1 lifestyle scene - for 5 different products - a table, armchair, sofa, vase, and floor lamp.
  • And compared the data with the average cost for doing the same using 3D models and 100% computer-generated imagery (CGI), taking the average costs from CGTrader.
  • Retailers need new visuals for campaigns often throughout the year, for example, for different seasons or holidays, which is why it was important to include a lifestyle scene for comparison.

Finally, we crunched all the numbers and made this awesome page to share the results.

For any questions or to share your opinions about this study please get in touch at pr@cgtrader.com

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