In-game photography (also known as screenshot art, screenshot photography, and gaming photography) is an emerging form of new media art, created by both photographers and gamers. This art form, which consists of taking screenshots of video game environments and characters using a variety of tools, has been featured in various online mediums as well as physical art galleries around the world. It is performed at both the amateur and professional level. In-game photography is particularly interesting – and sometimes controversial – due to the fact that “screenshotters” are capturing artwork created by game companies and their teams of designers and artists. However, most in-game photographers like myself share the same motivations as “real life” photographers. We enjoy capturing visually interesting images, and sharing our view of the “world” around us.
Many game photographers prefer to do all of the “post-production” for a photo while rendering the game in real time. This involves modifying the game to be more beautiful, often by altering the lighting and effects. This is all done within the confines of the game engine before the photo is taken. This method adds authenticity in the game community, since the photo was achieved using real-time rendering. Some artists prefer to post-process after the shot is taken, using software like Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, or even Instagram to color correct their photo. This is more similar to how a “real life” photographer would process their photos and can potentially lead to a more “realistic” image.
“Game photography reminds us that photography, in its very nature, responds to looking at what’s already out there. With the proliferation of gaming and virtual realities, it seems natural that a camera would eventually get turned on these fantastical worlds, spaces that challenge our imaginations and assumptions about the real and unreal.”
– Jen Saffron, MFA, Documentary Photographer
Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council
Notable Game Photographers
These are a few of the most well known (and some of my favorite) game photographers, but is by no means a comprehensive list.
- Petri Levälahti – Berdu
- Duncan Harris – DeadEndThrills
- Leo Sang – vrp
- Natty Dread
Notable Tool/Mod Creators
Without these individuals and their tools, most game photography would be lackluster at best. There are also a multitude of talented people who create presets and additions for some of the following tools, especially for ReShade and ENB.
- Matti Hietanen – Cinematic Tools
- DTG – SWRE
- Crosire – ReShade
- Boris Vorontsov – ENB
- CeeJay – SweetFX
- Marty McFly – MasterEffect and others
- NVidia GeForce – Ansel and DSR