Rather than being stuck with the angle and appearance of a stock photograph of each element, I found free 3D models of most of the elements and created textures for them so they looked just as I liked. For some of the more unique elements, I had to create 3D models from scratch.
By using a 360º panoramic photograph as a lighting environment, it was as if all of the elements existed in the same location in the world, under the same sun and sky. This kind of photograph is created by taking a series of photographs at a location that covers every square inch of the view from that spot. Basically, you end up with an accurate recorded image of the lighting at that location and can then use the recorded image in a 3D modeling application to light the elements in your scene.
This illustration was highly suited to take advantage of the strengths of a 3D modeling and rendering application.