FURNITURE PHOTOGRAPHY VS PRODUCT RENDERING: WHAT WORKS BETTER FOR CATALOGS? WHAT IKEA DISCOVERED

Why IKEA Chose Furniture Rendering Over Photography? Lifestyle With A Bookcase

Furniture Photography used to be the only choice for Marketing Visuals. So, to launch a new collection, Marketers called photography studios and that was it. The same was true for IKEA. Two years ago, however, the company revealed that most of the beautiful imagery in their catalogs is created with 3D rendering services, both lifestyle and white background. Actually, 75% of images are photorealistic renders, and they are absolutely gorgeous. In fact, they are so stunning that according to the The Wall Street Journal, the number of IKEA catalogs going into print is two times more than that of the Bible. Isn’t that a success?

To make a transition from furniture photography to product visualization, IKEA put in a lot of effort. The company created its own team of 3D Artists that learned from CGI gurus in Bulgaria. What’s more, this in-house 3D studio had to learn photography to enhance the understanding of realistic lighting, color and composition. As a result, rendered images of their furnishings are virtually indistinguishable from real photos.

High Tables In Fun Color. Practicalities Of Furniture Photography And Product Rendering

Moreover, the story goes that once, IKEA 3D Artists showed a number of mixed images to a 3D specialist  – photos and renderings. He said that some of CGI were absolutely terrible, so they needed to rerender them. But the images he picked were actually photos!

Why going into so much trouble? There must be reasons for which IKEA – much like Nobilia, Miele and many other companies – prefered product visualization rather than photos.

Is Rendering Better For Sales And Marketing Than Furniture Photography? That Is The Question

Let’s take a look at what both solutions offer and find out the reason for IKEA’s bold choice.

#1. Time Spent On Creation Of Marketing Visuals

White Dining Table And Chairs In An Elegant Scene. Benefits Of 3D Visualization And Furniture Photography

This is an issue Marketers form Furniture companies are very sensitive to. Repercussions of missing the deadlines are huge: no images means no catalogs, no catalogs – no bulk orders from retailers, no online presentation of new collection, no new clients from Trade shows.

With Furniture Photography, companies go through a long workflow: furniture prototypes creation, shipping furnishings back and forth, waiting for the photoshoots to finish, then – post-production and finally, ready images. On average, shooting 15 armchairs takes at least 2 weeks.

Furniture Visualization has a totally different workflow. It contains only two points: specification of the project details and approval. What happens in between is up to the Marketer:

  • he forgets all about the project till approval date
  • he checks the intermediate results to make changes

Whichever works best for him. No photo shoots or shipments! Two options are possible here:

  • The rendering studio models from scratch – requires some time
  • The Marketer takes a picture of the prototype on the phone and sends to 3D company – even faster and cheaper

As well that, one should remember that in a big CGI Rendering Company, there are multiple teams available. So if the Marketer needs to speed up, he may ask for urgency. The project will be distributed between a few teams of 3D Artists. As a result – they’ll create images for the same 15 reasonably complex armchairs within 1,5 week.

This is one of the reasons why IKEA with its massive collections chose Furniture rendering: it gives a faster turnaround.

#2. Cost Of Furniture Photos And Visualization

Cozy Scene With Pale Green For Comfy Brown Table And Chairs

Cost-effectiveness is another major factor to take into consideration. If the expenses are inevitable, that’s one thing. But what if Marketers can avoid or drastically reduce them for their companies? Definitely worth knowing.

If Marketers opt for furniture photography, there are some heavy expenses to meet. Here are the basic ones:

  • Prototypes manufacturing. One needs to make every variation of the model – in all colors and shapes. It’s expensive and shamefully wasteful: the models will be thrown away afterwards
  • Shipment. All these prototypes need to be transported to the location of photo shoots, which is often situated abroad.