3dRender.com : Glossary : Photometric Rendering

Photometric Rendering - An approach to rendering which is strictly based on data taken from real light sources and the accurate physical simulation of light.

Photometric Rendering is often used in architecture, industrial design, and other fields where renderings are created to accurately predict how a real design will eventually appear, but is less popular in the entertainment industry where cheating and tweakability are more highly valued than accurate presets.

Source: Digital Lighting & Rendering by Jeremy Birn, definition and 3D images adapted from the book by permission.  This page © 2002 by Jeremy Birn.