Which 3D job would fit an experienced professional photographer?


Good morning,
what would it be please, a position for a professional photographer, 3d generalist, please?

I consider photography (including lighting, framing, correct use of lens and DoF) very important in every kind of 3D production.

I’m asking for a suggestion, please, as I’m a professional photographer (with many years of high end results in reportage) and looking for a job into 3D. As a 3D artist I consider myself as a generalist. I use Maya, Blender, I just did some tutorials with SubPainter, Marvel Des, and so on… but I know, there’s a huge difference between having some fun with a software and going into “industry production standards”.

As far as I can understand and read, there’s a huge demand for 3D artists these days, so finding a job is not so hard however, the problem is you’re not specialized enough for many positions.

Thank you very much in advance for every kind of answer :slight_smile:



What you are describing sounds a lot like archviz. If you can do good Perspective Matching with your photography and matching lighting/shadows/reflections then you are a good fit for a specialty position as the ‘Photo Montage Person’.

Perspective Matching can be quite difficult, also is typically some of the highest pay in the industry if you are working with VCAT jobs or similar description (Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal). This means you work with traditional Surveyors who will take photo’s and GPS plot points, camera heights etc and then give you all the data to place the cameras, lighting to match the time of day in 3D . These are submitted to the council for approval before going ahead with construction.

Even archviz artists have a tough time with these so generally a VCAT specialist (or 3d photographer in your description) will be contracted in specifically for these jobs. The reason being is 2 fold - skill & legal ability. Since you are submitting these to the council they have to be extremely accurate to about 2mm discrepancy. You also have to file paperwork that goes with this and you could end up in court (well, you will most likely appear in court) as you will have to describe the methods and tools you used to accurately portray the image. Going back to what I said about pay - because of these challenges you can easily charge between $6,000-$12,000 AUD per image so it can be worth it if you are confident with your skills.

Alternatively ‘Photo Montage’ is also very similar without the legal pressure, and always useful to have someone in archviz who can do quick high quality photo matching and blending.


Thank you very much for your answer, @James

it is very interesting, and very much appreciated;

I’ll look into it, trying to understand if I can fit the requirements/skills for that kind of job position. I did a few ArchViz (Architecture Visualisations) gigs in the past based on the Autocad from the architect, but it was a visualisation, it didn’t have to be so precise to the millimiter…

I understood the kind of job but it’s a field I am not experienced with, I’d really love to have more information about it, if you got any more link/info you got about that topic, that would be very highly appreciated as well!!!



It really depends on what kind of photography you have professional experience in, and a passion for. Wedding photography is vastly different from say nature/landscape, or sports photography and creative model portraits.

For the plenty of jobs comment, sure there are plenty of underpaid jobs, just like photography…something to note.

As someone who works in vfx and films/location scouts for projects, and has photographed for various clients (sporting brands, musicians, other) the biggest advantage you have is that you can do both, which often go together in productions. You should leverage your non 3D skills. Another question to ask is what area are you actually interested in on the 3d side?

Another question to ask is, is your work life balance and income going to be better trying to get into 3d vs whatever you may be making as a photographer? Maybe 3D should remain a hobby you can then use to enhance your photography, vs the other way around.

If you are a portrait or wedding type of photographer you probably have good client facing social skills, which, is not very common with 3d artists, so that is a skill you could use to your advantage. Think of how you can leverage your additional skills…I mean, would you rather be another desk jockey specializing in little parts of the 3d pipeline with little or no creative input, or have more creative freedom and the ability to give your creative direction.


That’s a good point. Woking in 3d has its cons, like being glued to your chair all day long for decades. It’s a laborous field, with quality bar constantly raising.
You can also look into 3d lighter position, if you have affinity to lighting. Then you will have to learn 3d rendering, 3d materials and compositing basics. I can’t comment about hands-on experience concerning this position, but it’s pretty creative and is tied to photography. But it’s mainly for big production pipelines, so it’s a full-time job.


Thank you very much @ambassador for your input, I sincerely appreciate it very much;

I’m a very experienced wedding photographer and videographer, I did shoot huge weddings all around Europe, once I went to USA (Florida), I did weddings of every faith (catholic, jewish, muslims, hindu, orthodox), with hundreds of guests and celebrities. I honestly think shooting weddings is undervaluated, to do it professionally you need to be expert in many photography fields: portraits (brides), landscapes (venues), reportage (emotional moments), night and indoor/flash photography (party), and to deal with such important events, and very rich people, you need to be very discreet, and organised as many times I was coordinating 3 or 4 photographers and 3 or 4 videographers.

In the past, I did work in a team for 3D MTv video clips creation, mostly as a modeller, using Max and Maya, I use Photoshop and FCP X but, I admit I’m very rusty and the bar has raised A LOT. I see students artworks and I’m speechless. About the “balance” and “income”, there aren’t (almost) any weddings since the pandemic so… I’m living with the money I saved…

Obviously I’d like to have some creative part, input but I admit I’m a bit lost into 3D world, I’m trying so many new softwares, I love video games, I did study design and I like Marvel Designer and Substance painter, Unreal, I like sculpting very much, I’d probably fit a small studio which is in need of a generalist, I guess.

I understand I have no chance without a proper portfolio, I’m working on it but I don’t know which direction to go; I love character creation (cartoon style) and I see animation is too far from my skills, I suppose it would require too many years of learning to animate a character properly, while as a modeller I already have some experiences into character and environments… but, as I said, I can’t figure out which position to apply for… maybe something like 3D lightening artist? It seems to me that in order to create a great light and mood in a 3D movie or videogame scene, you need photography skills more than 3D skills, and I wrong? I suppose this is answering also to @mister3d

Any other hint or suggestion into the path to choose would be very much appreciated, thank you a lot in advance.



Sure thing, I think we are similar age and have been in our fields for about the same amount of years vs students, so the perspective is coming from a non student or junior…different responsibilities and duties in life at this point.

I personally think you have too much experience to jump from professional level photography to a 3d grunt at this stage, even with the pandemic slow down. Areas that you could possibly jump into with your experience is creative direction, or directing for vfx projects. This can be anything from pre production, e.g. storyboarding, creative direction on concepts.

The pandemic has slowed things down like big wedding events, but there is still plenty of demand for marketing/entertainment, so your experience should translate to say creative photo shoots you would see in magazines or other outlets or product photography. Again, the main creating from the photography side, then you can use your photo enhancing and digital skills to take the images to the next level. The fact that you worked on MTV shots in the past should help you network. I have shot portraits for multi-grammy award winning music producers, various musicians, and filmed/created backdrops for bands going on international tours, all enhanced with vfx/3d somehow, but the majority of the image was created with photography-filming. You do not need to go full 3d, or only 3d. Things like portraits, and product photography are things you can still do during the pandemic, until things open back up to large weddings. What can you offer that is unique and possible during the lockdowns? I am sure there is something related to photography in demand.

It sounds like you have skill and experience, you just have to reinvent yourself a bit and explore different related avenues. I was coming from the 3D side, I started to explore traditional photography years ago, which led to working on set, filming adventure sports around the globe, traveling to location scout and film with drones, then portrait photography, to filming smaller vfx productions…while having 3D still be the bulk of my work. To survive or thrive, you have to keep evolving, or just be one of many in a large studio doing a small part of a project, which is fine sometimes, but it’s not for everyone.

Trying to leap into 3d, and take the time to make a portfolio for it is going to take a long time also, which is unpaid. Something like creative portraits or product photography is something you could jump into quicker and possibly more lucrative…I don’t work on video games nor would I work in that field, but I hear it’s pretty underpaid, and film vfx can take longer to get into.


Well said, great answer, thank you very much, sincerely. I really feel you get it.


Sure thing, let us know how it goes! Also, use your networks, I am sure you built a strong network over the years, its time to reach out…rather than browse the scourge of job boards, it makes more sense as a senior artist to reach out to others you worked with in the past to see if they have any potential projects to work on.


I really like and appreciate your article post. Thanks Again. Will read on…



This may also be informative, a poll on what areas of photography have been affected the most and least during this time period. May be informative to see what types of photography gigs may be out there,


thank you very much, it’s actually correct.


Thanks for share this amazing information…


it is very interesting, and very much appreciated;


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if you want you can consider, Hi-Res stills

those require knowledge of controlling the camera DOF and distorting perspective space(alot of 3D artist even working or studying do not even properly use this) you could also consider Compositor positions because some of those role involve compositing layers, color correction and Gama adjustment, similar to your profession. hope that helps