This photographer is using video games to teach photo composition

Apr 8, 2021

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

This photographer is using video games to teach photo composition

Apr 8, 2021

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Game screenshots are common and popular on social media, and have been a thing ever since streamers started streaming. I’ve never been a big fan of calling “video game photography” photography (they’re still just screenshots), but they can still be a valuable teaching aid when it comes to things like composition and lighting (depending on the game).

And that’s exactly what Texas-based pro car photographer Mir-or-Image has been doing in his new series on YouTube. With as popular as in-game screenshots have become, many games now come with a “photo” mode that allows you to freeze the game and move the camera to get yourself that perfect competition. Mir has been utilising this feature to help teach other photographers.

YouTube video

Mir has used a number of games over the last few months to talk through the principles of composition, including God of War, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Cyberpunk 2077 and Ghost of Tsushima.

YouTube video

It’s a great way for players of these games to figure out how to get better screenshots for their social media, but it’s also beneficial for regular photographers in the real world, too, as it lets them practice composition while stuck at home. Composition is one of the most fundamental skills in photography, and if we shoot on location, we never know what scene may face us. Being able to simulate such activities within games – all from the comfort of our seat – can help us learn to see better compositions in general.

YouTube video

What’s interesting is that these games integrate “real” camera settings into the photo modes, like the focal length of the lens, focus distance and aperture.

It’s a fun way to practice your skills while you may not be able to get out and shoot right now, and no matter what genre you actually shoot, the general “rules” of composition are pretty common to all types. This will help you learn to understand them so that you can figure out when to break them!

Have you used video games to practice your photography or filmmaking composition?

[via PetaPixel]

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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One response to “This photographer is using video games to teach photo composition”

  1. Paul Monaghan Avatar
    Paul Monaghan

    Spiderman on the ps5 is particularly good for it as you can also add lights.