The Problem With Hyper Real Renders (And Photographs!)

The Problem With Hyper Real Renders (And Photographs!)


This short and poignant video by the B1M highlights the increasing propensity for renders to exaggerate the truth, leading to disappointed clients and impossible design goals for projects. Not only do these renders mislead the public, setting them (us!) up for a lackluster new building, but they also have ramifications for photographers tasked with capturing these projects.

Do your clients want photographs that look like renders? It’s a line I’ve heard more times than I care to count. I’ve been slid a render across a desk or into my inbox and been asked to “make it look like this” or “shoot it from this angle” when the subject depicted in the render resembles nothing even close to the reality (or the angle that the render is made from is completely inaccessible because there’s another building occupying the renderer’s vantage point!)

Do you believe that render artists have a responsibility for truth-telling with their images? Do photographers share in this responsibility as well? Or is this just business as usual such as the perfectly styled fast-food hamburger advertisement which looks absolutely nothing like the product handed to you at the drive-thru?

Of course developers and similar clients are going to push as hard as they can for perfection, but where is our responsibility to tell the truth in imaging? Does it matter how the deliverables look if the client is happy and if we collect the paycheck at the end of the day? Is it for us to decide, or the client with the money to decide?

video via Mark Hazeldine

About Mike Kelley
Mike Kelley is an architecture and interiors photographer who has photographed projects all over the world. He is a self proclaimed airplane food enthusiast and the founder of the Architectural Photography Almanac.
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