CGI vs Photoshoot - What's Best?

Yes, we're opening that can of worms and probably coming up with an indecisive answer to this dilemma. Still, it's a question that's being debated around the media, and we're delving into the pros and cons of both image solutions.

For practical reasons, during lockdown, many manufacturers took to CGI images to help continue promoting their products. This has seen a practical and welcome growth in creative agencies with CGI room sets created for informative marketing campaigns. While lockdown has made it inaccessible and impractical to take over a home for a photoshoot, CGI can be put together with digital artisans. For many manufacturers, this has meant they can keep up with providing fresh imagery while not placing personnel at risk.

We are slowly emerging out of the lockdown period, and we've had the pleasure of organising our first photoshoots for clients since COVID began. And in all honesty, it felt great! While we had to add extra safeguards in place, the freedom to interact with a photographer and stylist in real-time meant that fluidity and alterations were immediate rather than an exchange of emails.


A time and place

Knowing your audience makes it easier to decide whether CGI or photoshoot will work best for you. In general, consumer publications will be looking for great photography to allow consumers to connect with ideas, designs and products. So, if your library of images only consists of CGI images, then do expect a keen-eyed editorial team to dismiss them. However, CGI is a great option for social media posts where continued demand for quality social posts that reflect continually changing trends can be catered for easily. CGI is also excellent for infographics, trade and marketing material where your audience may already grasp your product but need some suggestions on how they can be used within their next projects.


Counting Costs

It's perhaps a common misconception that CGI is a cheap alternative to photoshoots. To be quite blunt, it's not. For great CGI that's acceptable for consumer publications, you are looking at investing in a skilled professional who can recreate a convincing room set while placing your product. Firstly, this is not something that you can learn overnight, and secondly, these professionals are in demand and therefore able to command a weighty pay packet. Also, add into this revision costs and alterations to get the right look.

Traditional shoots also rely on trained professionals. A photographer has learnt their craft over many years and can be trusted to get the best out of a location with an understanding of your product and how you wish to showcase it. If you're using a stylist, you are investing in someone who knows what publications are looking for. Post-production costs and rates for both are comparable with CGI. 

So, if you're looking for an answer to this one, take a look at your product and the platforms you'll be promoting on.

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