Photo Modes: The New Generation of Digital Photography in Games

Posted on 28/03/2016

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By Raphael Simas.

I was asked by Hype Energy Drinks to contribute towards an article about digital photography in games. Today there are several games for all platforms that have ‘photo mode’, in other words, a way within the game to take photos. The photo modes have simple adjustments; for example, positioning the camera to even more complex settings, such as exposure, speed and depth of field. 


Many may wonder what is purpose of taking pictures within a game, the answer is that games are a type of entertainment which are very dynamic. It is different from everything else because you are part of the story, you engage with the plot and you enter inside a world that was created to tell this story.

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There is passion and appreciation for specific subjects, such as cars, motorcycles, people and scenery. I believe the photo modes are not only an additional tool within a game, as they also change the way you engage and interact with the entire universe; which have been created by the art teams. This is so that we are able to explore rich environments, complex landscapes and highly realistic cars. As a result, this is a great way of interaction and to appreciate the production of the games and the level of detail.


Until now, we would be caught up in the rush of the games and not be able to appreciate the beauty, details and richness of them very quickly. Believe me when I say that games are a work of art, involving the creation of stunning, complex and realistic designs. These elements help us to understand the story and commitment of the developers.


By introducing the photo models, a new generation has been brought to our attention regarding video games. Simply by accessing social networks we can see how gamers appreciate this functionality. So far, there are already players who think twice about buying a game that does not offer this tool, this is due to the loss of not being able to interact with the story. 


In some segments such as racing games, photo modes are essential, this is due to cars and motorcycles being viewed as a great passion worldwide. A good example of photo modes is the game ‘The Last of Us (Naughty Dog)’, this game changed the game industry with an incredible story, magnificent and very realistic visuals. The richness of detail in this game is stupendous and in the remastered version for the Playstation 4, we have gained the opportunity to view all the details in any narrative environment.


The Infamous game ‘Second Son (Sucker Punch)’, which was one of the first games of this generation and brought beautiful graphics, a great story and a very rich photo mode. In addition, the game ‘Middle Earth Shadow of Mordor (Monolith Productions)’, which showcased fantastic detailed visuals and plenty of options for editing photos.


With that said, I would like to highlight the game ‘The Order 1886 (Ready at Dawn / Santa Monica)’, which is one of the most graphically realistic games created. The photo mode has the great advantage of letting the gamer fly freely around the scenery, whilst not getting stuck to the characters. Therefore, we can explore the internal and external environments, as the graphic quality is unquestionable. We have games like ‘Gran Turismo (Polyphony Digital)’, ‘Forza (Turn 10 Studios)’, ‘Need for Speed ​​(Ghost Games)’ and ‘I highlight the game Driveclub (Evolution Studios)’. ‘Driveclub’ is one of the most beautiful games created and involves a photo mode, which should be an example for all others, due to their quality of rendering, details and options.

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We can not speak of photo modes without mentioning ‘GTA V (Rockstar)’, which has specific tools for composition of photos and videos. It is certainly the most popular game on social networks, due to the number of possible subjects to photograph. As we know, some people like to record moments, others to explore the possibilities for a game and become more involved with the story. There are people who now use photos taken in games to express their feelings, moments, life messages and emotions; this shows how this tool can be important in the lives of gamers. 

I believe that being a virtual photographer has a very big value in the lives of all gamers that experience this world of interaction and sharing. In fact, many photographers express themselves through digital photography. Through this tool we have access to elements that are not a part of our life. Apocalyptic scenarios, exotic cars and landscapes from all over the world. We can experience all this through digital photography. It is a very rich experience and a way of looking at human achievement, in order to create images on computers, which are as beautiful and magnificent as real life.  

If you are a gamer and have not dedicated time to explore the photo modes, allow yourself to learn about this new form of interaction and join our in game photography project #AltEx!

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I will conclude this article by leaving some very special galleries for appreciation below:


@josewela  |   @rmr125_poole  |   @erik.m1999  |   @kingcozzie  |  |   @hellaflush.gt6  |   @outforza  |   @lifegphotos  |   @finesse.gaming  |   @hypeenergydrinks


I appreciate having had the opportunity to talk about digital photography for Hype Energy Drinks


Raphael Simas  |