Skip to main content

Photography based videogames appear to be gaining popularity and appeal

toem is a photography adventure game expanding the photography oriented videogame genre
(Image credit: TOEM / SomethingWeMade)

Games implementing the medium of photography have been on the rise for many years. Even the latest and most popular games of all time, such as Red Dead Redemption 2 and Grand Theft Auto V  feature advanced photo modes that enable gamers to adjust settings such as aperture and depth of field, in similar ways to how we would configure manual settings on a camera.

Snapping in-game screenshots using photo mode is simply one of many ways that photography has been absorbed into the world of game space. Popular titles such as  Pokémon Snap require players solely to capture images in order to progress through the game. 

• Read more: 14 best photography video games 

The newest photography-oriented game on the market is Toem – A Photo Adventure. A wholesome adventure game about snapping photos, this newest edition to the realm of virtual photography has been brought to gamers by a small team of developers who call themselves: SomethingWeMade.

The aim of the game is to set off on a delightful expedition in a monochrome world, and use your photographic eye to uncover the magical mysteries of Toem. Following a small figure through Scandinavia-inspired landscapes and encounter several characters to photograph in distinct environments. The game involves tasks such as taking photos, listening to calm music and traveling by bus, with options to climb the highest peak of a mountain or simply stop to smell the flowers.  

You may be thinking, what is the purpose of a photography based game? Well let me tell you, there are endless benefits to incorporating photography into videogames – I wrote a whole dissertation on the subject, so I could go on for hours. 

To name just a few… it encourages younger children to consider practicing photography as a hobby; it can improve the way that we perceive the world around us, including virtual worlds, by looking for abstract moments and details; and it adds another element once completing a game: to go back and look for photo opportunities.

Did I mention that you can also make money from in-game photography? That's a whole other article, but many photographers have expanded their careers in recent years to include game photography, and developed partnerships with major gaming companies to produce screenshots and digital content for visual marketing purposes. 

So if you find yourself sucking your teeth at people who capture digital photographs while not even owning a camera, check out work by artists Leonardo Sang for examples of what professional paid gaming photography looks like. 

Read more

10 best games for virtual photographers
Cyberpunk 2077 has the best photo mode ever
Landscape photographer explores the rise of in-game photography
How to print Instax photos from your Nintendo Switch (including Pokémon Snap!)
Virtual Photography: taking photos in videogames is imaging's next evolution
PlayStation 5 HD Camera: why you need the PS5 camera for your console

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

A staff writer for Digital Camera World, Beth has an extensive background in various elements of technology with five years of experience working as a tester and sales assistant for CeX. After completing a degree in Music Journalism, followed by obtaining a Master's degree in Photography awarded by the University of Brighton, she spends her time outside of DCW as a freelance photographer specialising in live music events and band press shots under the alias 'bethshootsbands'.