Landscape photographer explores the rise of in-game photography

Landscape photographer explores the rise of in-game photography
(Image credit: Pete Rowbottom / Kojima Productions)

As personal computers and games consoles continue to evolve, video game developers are creating even more realistic worlds for players to explore. A growing trend in “in-game” photography allows players to pause the action in these virtual worlds and capture incredible imagery - altering the light, colors, frame, exposure and composition, just as we would in real life photography. As a result, the popularity of virtual photography has increased exponentially.

Jay Boor, Global Head of Marketing and Communications at Kojima Productions explains, “If you haven’t played a video game in a while, now is a good time to jump in, especially if you have an interest in photography. 

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"Today, you have games that feature thought-provoking narratives and worlds that are not only expansive, but also highly detailed and photorealistic. Death Stranding, the critically-acclaimed and genre-defying epic developed by our studio, Kojima Productions, is a prime example of that evolution in gaming.

““With more developers integrating a photo mode into their games, more players can now express their creativity. Players can capture their own in-game photos and share their works and experiences across social media, not only with other gaming communities, but also to those who are simply looking for some visual inspiration. So what you’re now starting to see is the world of virtual photography becoming increasingly intertwined with real-world photography and it is interesting to see how those two worlds influence one another creatively.” 

Avid gamer and 2018 UK Landscape Photographer of the Year, Pete Rowbottom, has partnered with Kojima Productions, to explore the hauntingly beautiful landscapes seen throughout the post-apocalyptic game of Death Stranding and seek out similar landscapes in the British countryside to capture in real life.  

“Within the Death Stranding game, you are able to move around, explore some breathtaking landscapes, stop wherever you like and create a composition just like you would do if you were outside. Also, once the player is in photo mode, you can crouch, raise the camera up to get a more dynamic perspective on the scene in front of you, and of course use that huge zoom with a range of 10mm wide angle – 1000mm zoom! Something that is just not possible in real life.” says Pete Rowbottom. 

You can follow Pete's journey in a short documentary, in which he explores the landscapes in the game and plays around with its Photo Mode features to help hone his own craft. According to Pete Rowbottom, in-game photo mode is a great tool to teach aspiring photographers how to improve their own landscape photos, in both the virtual and the real world. 

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Alistair Campbell

Alistair is the Features Editor of Digital Camera magazine, and has worked as a professional photographer and video producer.