Lake Tahoe 360 - HDRI 360 Backgrounds and Backplates

HDRI Backplates

HDRI Backgrounds for CGI and 3D Renders

At the heart of a successful CGI project are realistic lighting and reflections, and a compelling environment. As a result, beautifully shot, flawless backplates give your CGI projects a headstart in creating a showstopping final result.


I create 360 HDRI images to be used as environments or as HDRI lighting and reflection maps. My standard resolution for 360 HDRI files is 22,000 px x 11,000 px and I can shoot at much higher resolution if required.

The dream setup for this type of work is to capture the primary backplate with a medium format 100mp camera (I use an IQ3 100 and full set of Schneider lenses). Then, the HDRI 360 is captured from the position where the CGI element is to be composited in.

Planning a backplate project

Although you can licence my backplates, achieving the optimum results usually involves shooting to order. Careful planning will determine the capture height of the 360 HDRI and the angle of the back plate. I would normally capture a number of options allowing for greater flexibility in post.

My main use for 360 HDRI backplates is for the exterior view from a car in the 360 car interiors I shoot in a studio. The 360 background is the ‘360 backplate’, sometimes called 360 backgrounds.

Click here to see the interactive version.

To talk about your requirements for backplates and 360 HDRI images, please call me on +44 (0)20 360 30147 or alternatively click here to contact me.

HDRI Backplates – the basics

HDRI Images

HDRI is an acronym for High Dynamic Range Images. These are created by exposure-blending multiple exposures of the same image into a single 16 bit or 32 bit file. Often an HDRI will contain 14 exposure stops to ensure sharp clean detail in the shadows and highlights. 360 HDRI files contains the full range of light and the view in all directions from a single camera position.

How can a 360 backplate be used?

I shoot backplates for a wide variety of uses, including automotive 360s and aviation 360s. However, their use is not limited to photography. 3D and CGI artists often need to use backplate images for lighting and adding reflections to a project.

Licencing 360 backplates or shooting to order?

This depends on your requirements. I may already have the right image for your project, particularly if you like a location you’ve seen in the portfolio but at a different time of day. For example, you like a Californian desert landscape but want the same view at dusk, please let me know as I may have shot this, but it doesn’t appear in the gallery. In contrast, clients can opt to have 360 backplates shot to order, at the correct height for the final project. For example, the view from a sports car will be lower than the view from an SUV. Or the driver’s position on the road may vary depending on the market. These seem like small changes, but can make all the difference to the final image, in whatever format it appears.

If you’d like to discover more about 360 HDRI & backplates and how I create them, please call me on +44 (0)20 360 30147 or click here to contact me.