You can do what you want in Carrara.
you’ll probably know some of this info already but,. it’s here again for anyone who doesn’t.
The simple method :
You can take your main “backdrop” photo, and use that as the reflection map in the scene background, which will give you reflections from that image.
Enable “Skylight” in the render settings an Carrara will also use the colour values from the Background image, to provide some scene lighting. ...not as good as HDRI, but workable with some other scene lights to give direct shadowing.
You can take your image into Photoshop, then edit the Exposure, to create a plus 1 and minus 1, version,.. save each of these edits as a named image. so you have three images,. One under exposed, one normal exposure, and one over exposed.
Then you use the “Merge to HDRI” function in Photoshop to create a 32bit HDRI from those three images.
that will give you a basic HDRI which you can load into the Scene “Background”,.
Your Main image should be in the Scene “Backdrop”
this locks the image to the Camera “production area”, and allows you to set up your scene with shadow-catcher objects.
The reflection image should be in the Scene Background, and will create a Spherical 360 degree environment,..
NOTE: You have options to “TILE” that image map, horizontally or vertically, which will change what’s reflected in the surface of your objects.
The first image was done in C6 a long time ago,. using a photo in the Backdrop, and the same photo in the Background, and a Daz Truck with some planes and cubes with shadow catcher shadrs to fake the effect of the vehicle being next to the road edge / sidewalk (pavement in the UK)
The Dragon image was done in C8
Click thumbnail to see full-size image