In the thrilling world of advertising photography, the automotive sector is the most challenging one. Huge budgets, great technical effort, bodacious locations. The major league of high class photo production.

On location in the breathtaking scenery of a jagged desert canyon: a descending sun produces what we reverentially call “the magic hour”. Bustling activity within the crew. Lights are being set up. Final camera check. On a cliff, at the edge of a humungous gorge, there it stands: a little metal box with a strange glass dome on top …

A new trend is evolving: Car photography without cars.
It´s true. On more and more photo production sets for car advertising, the car is missing.

The magic word is RBV. Reality Based Visualisation. A technology invented by the german company SPHERON VR It is based on the SPHERON CAM (the little metal box), a camera that produces HDR (High Dynamic Range) images. Those capture the complete range of light information of the photographed surroundings. Now all the photographer has to do is take the picture. Without the car.

Back home, the real work starts: The car company supplies the post production with CAD data of the car. And combines it with yet another amazing technology: BRDF. Bi-directional Reflection Distribution Function, which calibrates a material´s reflection attributes.
Now the data is merged into the final picture. Of the car standing on the cliff at the edge of the gorge. Extensive image refining and color correction make the whole thing perfect.

The outcome is high class car photography. That looks very real.


In Germany, one company has taken this technology to perfection: ZERONE CGI.

But what´s next? Fashion photography without models…?