As video games look more and more realistic, video game photography has become more commonplace. While games don’t have full cameras and lenses to work with, they do have a wide variety of tools to capture amazing shots. In this list, we’ll take a look at some of the best games to play if you want to experiment with video game photography.

Photo mode offers a respite from the action and danger of the main gameplay, and lets you slow down and really appreciate the vibrant worlds that video game developers create. A dedicated mode for screenshots that removes the user interface and gives access to further visual options is so much better than just taking a boring screenshot. The settings are not always analogous to real-world cameras, but you’ll certainly pick up a thing or two about composition by practicing in your favorite games.

Cyberpunk 2077

When Cyberpunk 2077 was released, the primary conversations were about the bugs and the unreal amount of hype that had been built around it during its long development process. But one of the conversations that went under the radar was how robust the photo mode is in the game. In fact it might be the best camera tool in a high-profile game. You can control whether your character is in the shot or not, and what pose and expression they’re going to strike during the photo. There are precise depth of field options, and sliders for exposure, contrast, and other common photo effects. It’s going to feel a lot different than a real-world camera, but it’s about as good as it gets. On top of that, Cyberpunk is a gorgeous game. With the power of ray tracing, the lights and reflections make the environment look immersive and realistic.

Forza Horizon 5

Forza Horizon 5 is a beautiful racing game with highly detailed cars and racetracks. If you love automotive photography, you’ll love taking photos in this game. The camera is pretty robust, with things like focus and aperture, but also with the ability to enable or disable car lights, drivers, and the crowd itself. One of the most specific details is the ability to change the bokeh shape, so you can simulate different types of lenses. With so many cool cars to race, you’re sure to capture some stunning action shots in Forza.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

The last several entries in the Assassin’s Creed series (Origins and Odyssey) contain photo modes, but Valhalla is the newest game in the franchise. You can journey through viking-era Britain, and go on a photography journey. You can wander the wilderness and take photos of forests and mountains, or you can take shots of bustling cities. You’ll have access to settings like depth of field, exposure, and contrast, as well as some additional options. While Assassin’s Creed is a single-player game, you will be able to see photos that other players have taken, marked on the in-game map. This can help give you inspiration on how to take your own photos! If you prefer an Egyptian theme or a Greek theme, you can try out the previous games, Assassin’s Creed Origins and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, which also feature impressive scenery and good photo modes.

Death Stranding

The world of Death Stranding is desolate yet beautiful in its own way. And the game has a photo mode to capture these landscapes. You are able to adjust focal length and focus, which is a sharp contrast to the photo modes in other games. In general, most other games forego real-world focal length and aperture values in favor of a depth-of-field slider. You are able to choose whether or not your character appears in the photo, and what pose he has, but you’ll rarely interact with other characters in the game. You will likely spend most of your time taking haunting landscape photos or photos of your character in harrowing situations.

Red Dead Redemption 2

If you want to capture images of the wild west, Red Dead Redemption 2 is the game you want to play. A photo from the game won the 2022 Virtual Photographer of the Year award at The London Games Festival. The photography potential for this game is vast. You can adjust focus distance, blur, exposure, and more, as well as the specific type of lens. There are also many stylistic filters, many of which can help capture that signature western style. There are two different photo modes; orbit mode, which orbits around your character, and free cam mode, which lets you move around freely (although it does have a distance limit).

Horizon Zero Dawn

Horizon Zero Dawn takes players to a post-apocalyptic fantasy world. But unlike other post-apocalyptic games like Death Stranding, the world of Horizon is colorful and majestic. The photo mode is pretty standard with the other photo modes mentioned in this list. It includes field-of-view, focus distance, exposure, aperture, and more. One standout feature is the ability to change the time of day, so you can still take daytime photos of a location even if it’s nighttime. You’ll also have the ability to change the pose and expression of your character or choose to hide them from the photo altogether.

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