The parallels between traditional product photography and CGI-1/2

Salma Aboukar
2 min readMay 1, 2022

After receiving a suggestion on my previous essay from a fellow shipper (@ChrisBufkin). I decided to highlight the parallels between traditional product photography and CGI

Traditional product photography:

Step 1: Settings

Setting the scene is everything in capturing a clear and appealing product photo. Choosing the optimal setting varies in every situation. The aim is to shoot the product photo as authentically as possible.

Step 2: Use a long focal length

When shooting a product photograph, zooming out as far as possible before taking the shot helps you shoot with the least amount of lens distortion. The long focal length also makes the background look soft, making the product the hero of the photo.

2) Composition

Composition is the photographic composition technique used to set up the elements of a picture. A good composition should make the photo feel balanced and harmonious. Most photographers follow the guideline of the rule of thirds. This rule is when a product is placed either on the left or right third of an image before dividing the photo into nine equal parts using two horizontal and two vertical lines.

3D photorealism (CGI) rendering:

Step 1: 3D model and setting the scene

This step is required when shooting with CGI. You will have to construct scenes and 3D models using a reference photo or a product. It is crucial that the product looks and feels true to reality.

Step 2: Camera set up

Imagine this is a traditional camera set-up but in your browser. The same camera settings and traditional photography principles apply when shooting images- see the Traditional Product Photography section above (step1 )

Step 3: Composition

Again, similar to traditional product photography, in this step, the designer has to consider the product placement, arrangement and overall organisation of the visual elements within a scene. This step is crucial when creating a photo as it helps determine the focus of attention in a rendering.

Let me know what your thoughts are and if you have any questions, feel free to comment below. Tomorrow, we will discuss how to shoot part 2!

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Salma Aboukar

Welcome! I’ll be writing about my startup journey👩🏽‍💻, 3D design 👾 and how I prioritise health and wellness to be productive.💚