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.
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.
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.
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?