It’s rare to buy a new game that doesn’t have some kind of photo mode in it. And because they’re so easy to use, we’re starting to see more and more of those photos shared online.
Of course, not all of them are great. Video game photography, just like the real thing, requires a degree of patience, an eye for framing and colour, and some technical know-how. Some games try to fake this for you, while others leave it all to you.
And so there can be no one-guide-fits-all method to this. Each game will be slightly different. However, the principles of good photography remain the same as they always have been. In fact, the rules go back hundreds or even thousands of years. It’s just a case of unlocking those skills.
Graphics have become king. To the point where it’s actually maybe a little too much for the equipment that we have. People spend time overclocking their equipment to get that last bit of juice for a few extra frames or an extra setting. On consoles, we put up with compromises like low framerate for the best experience. So if you care about the visuals, why not try sharing?
Learn Your Tools
Every game is different. Some titles offer you the chance to completely customise your photos with aperture settings, exposure, filters and more. While others just give you control of the camera and let you share a screenshot.
The former is obviously better. If you can control depth of field, shadows and light, you’ll be creating far better content. But the latter isn’t bad. It just means you have to be more precise in the moments you decide to share.
To borrow a phrase from the photography world: the best camera is the one you have with you. Know what you’re working with, and train your eye to make the best of it.
Good framing is the difference between looking like a professional and looking like a kid with a camera phone. We see professional framing all the time: in photographs, adverts and films. And yet it’s so subtle that until it’s discussed and taught, it’s difficult to imitate.
Hand a kid a camera and they’ll put their subject in the low middle of the frame. Hand it to an adult and they’ll do the same, but with the subject exactly centre. Most of the time, these are surefire ways of showing you don’t know what you’re doing.
If you’re interested in making great photos, take your time to actually study pictures you like. Do a bit of reading on framing, and find when those rules work and when they should be broken. Soon you’ll start developing a style all of your own.
Know Your Audience
With that said, you’re not trying to find your way into an art gallery. You just want to share cool photos, or get featured on PlayStation’s Facebook page. You’re taking pictures for people who want to see a bit of action, who want to see incredible moments captured in still life. The emotion and poignance of the picture is more important than it being technically perfect.
Now, it should be said that someone who knows how to utilise colour and framing to tell a story will still be better than someone who just points and clicks. Give yourself every tool in your armoury.
But capturing a pretty flower in Spider-Man 2 will fall flat, no matter how well taken it is.
While you should know your audience, you shouldn’t try and manufacture things that you think will appeal. Even if they don’t know it, people will see through it in a heartbeat.
Take photos for yourself. Things that stick out to you, that mean something, will mean things to other people too. If that pretty flower says something to you, take the photo. Share it far and wide. It might not win any prizes on Facebook, but it’s more meaningful than just taking a photo of a character swinging aimlessly through the street.
Capture moments. The emotion of those moments will shine through.
How To Take The Best Photos – Conclusion
The most important thing about taking photos is to have fun. That applies to video games as well. If you’re enjoying taking pictures and sharing your experiences, then that’s all that matters.
But if you want to take it up a notch, start learning more about what makes a pleasing image. Look at the work of others. And experiment. It’ll take your enjoyment to a whole new level.