In this edition of Through The Virtual Lens, I managed to talk with Chris B about their experiences in the world of Virtual Photography. Virtual Photography is a growing discipline that utilizes the ever-popular “Photo Mode” settings in Video Games to capture beauty and art from virtual worlds.
The term “Virtual Photography” may not be one you hear often, but it is simple-enough to understand. Where “Traditional Photography” deals with precisely composed images captured and developed onto film, “Virtual Photography” deals with precisely composed images captured within video games. It is, by all accounts, a natural evolution of the discipline in the modern age. Thankfully, Game Developers are helping to foster the growth of this field. They are undoubtedly helping to foster the growth of a new kind of artistic expression. It makes sense, though, given the ever-improving virtual worlds the industry is presenting us with.
Through this series of articles, I want to talk about Virtual Photography with Virtual Photographers. I will be asking about their reasons for becoming a Virtual Photographer, their opinions on the current state of in-game Photo Modes, the Virtual Photography community as a whole and anything else they have to say!
In this article, I got a chance to talk with Chris B. Chris B is a Virtual Photographer who has mastered the art of capturing in-game landscapes from Ghost of Tsushima, Red Dead Redemption 2, and beyond!
You can find a link to their Twitter Account here: Chris B Twitter
Firstly, I asked Chris B about what inspired him to undertake Virtual Photography.
Here, Chris B expressed his admiration for the beauty of games. Rightfully so, he stated that the open worlds players can explore in today’s games are “beyond beautiful”. As someone who captures in-game landscapes often, I think it’s safe to say that Chris B truly does a service to these beautiful worlds.
“I simply had to start capturing them.”
When I asked Chris B where he started his Virtual Photography, he offered up two titles I did not expect. He started taking Virtual Photographs in Hellblade and Anthem, although the lack of Photo Mode in Anthem would have undoubtedly made this more difficult than it needed to be.
Following on from this, I asked Chris B if he had any experience with Traditional Photography and the techniques relating to this.
Chris B has never dabbled in Traditional Photography, however, he has sound himself inspired to try. This is something I am finding more-common amongst the Virtual Photography discussions. It’s unusual, in a way, but it also makes a lot of sense. Video Games take you to far-away places and allow Virtual Photographers to capture landscapes they might never have access too. Their accessibility, when combined with the popularity of games, makes Virtual Photography all the more appealing.
In regards to Traditional Photography techniques, Chris B said the following:
“For me, it’s mostly about angles. Finding the correct angle for a shot can be very easy…. Or it can be very hard. But when you get the angle you’re looking for it really makes things stand out.”
After this, he briefly mentioned Concept Art and how he aimed to replicate that styling. Concept Art is often done adhering to a number of composition techniques and angles are beyond important. You’ll have to judge for yourself, but I think it’s safe to say that Chris B is certainly achieving Concept Art-worthy shots with his work.
I then asked Chris B about his opinions on in-game Photo Modes. What features does he enjoy, and which Photo Mode is the best?
Arguably, a Virtual Photographer is only as effective as the Photo Mode they use. Likewise, a good camera is important to any Traditional Photographer. For Chris B, Depth of Field settings is the most important. He also expressed his love for the Time of Day and Weather settings. These, unfortunately, aren’t as common in Photo Modes and you can see why a landscape photographer would enjoy them.
In regards to the best Photo Mode, Chris B offered up Ghost of Tsushima as a candidate. Once again, Sucker Punch’s Samurai Epic seems to be on top. He also mentioned Horizon: Zero Dawn as another candidate and I am inclined to agree with him. The landscapes in Horizon are unparalleled.
Discussing in-game settings, I asked if Chris B had any favorites. I also asked about the level of pre-planning he undertook.
I was surprised at Chris B’s response to this. It turns out, he doesn’t plan a whole lot.
“A lot of the time, I often just load up the games with an open world and just stumble across pictures.”
He did express that he does pre-plan somewhat if there is a Community Theme he wants to adhere to. However, for the most part it seems that Chris B finds his shots off the cuff.
That being said, he does have some preferred settings when taking photos. For landscapes, a sunset or a sunrise makes for the perfect picture. However, when Chris B ventures into Racing Sims he prefers the opposite.
“Wheel spray is something I love.”
Rain offers an alternative to colourful sunset vistas which proves Chris B’s talent as a Virtual Photographer.
One thing I admire is the Virtual Photography Community. I had to ask about Chris B’s experiences there.
In a similar vein to everyone else I’ve spoken to, Chris B has expressed how incredible the Virtual Photography Community is. There is support in the form of specific pages with advice and tips, while also a general sense of support from interactions within the community.
Chris B may not be the biggest Virtual Photographer out there, but his incredible skills are being noted within the community. I asked about how his work has led to him starting to develop his own community within the larger Virtual Photography Community.
“I’m very much enjoying putting out my own brand of content to be honest, and I absolutely love the following and feedback I get.”
He never expected to gain such a decent following and when I asked about a possible career in this field he said “never say never”. It seems like a lot of Virtual Photographers are simply doing what they enjoy and starting to get recognition for the talents and skills they’ve developed.
Finally, I asked if Chris B had any comments for people who might seem skeptical to call Virtual Photography a legitimate off-shoot from Traditional Photography.
“For anyone that thinks Virtual Photography isn’t legit, then they should at least give it a go. Never knock something you haven’t tried. We all have our own opinions, but we are not all correct.”
It seems a fair response and it is one people should probably consider. Virtual Photography can be as complicated as Traditional Photography. In-game Photo Modes are becoming more and more detailed and offer so many more settings for Virtual Photographers to explore.
I hope this has offered an exciting insight into the world of Virtual Photography and Virtual Photographers. Keep an eye out for the next installment of Through The Virtual Lens for another discussion with a talented Virtual Photographer.