A virtual photographer has built an online following thanks to his stunning video game captures.
Instead of picking up a DSLR or mirrorless camera, Frederic Verdickt explores games like God of War, The Last of Us, and A Plague Tale using the in-game camera.
“The ideal virtual photo speaks to the viewer, draws them in and maybe even convinces them to start playing the game,” he tells PetaPixel.
“When I get a comment saying they weren’t really interested in the game but my shots made them put it on their wishlist or even buy it, I know I did a good job.”
Verdickt says that virtual photography was a hobby that turned into a passion. But he knows of professional virtual photographers who advise and take shots for gaming companies.
“I can’t compare myself to real-life photographers,” he says. “We have all these tools at our disposal to make shooting easier.
“You can sometimes change time, stop time, switch lenses in mere seconds, and have total freedom of space. That being said, you still have to have the same skills/talent/”eye”/luck to get a good shot in the digital world.”
Verdickt explains that PC users have NVIDIA Ansel, a powerful photo mode that can be used across a range of games.
“Every game features a different photo mode,” he says.
“On Playstation and Xbox we have to rely on the goodwill of developers to put in a photo mode, and even then it’s no guarantee it’s a good one or whether or not it’s available at release.”
However, Verdickt points out that the in-game captures are effectively free marketing on social media for the games, so it’s a no-brainer for developers.
Hunting for the Perfect Shot
Just like in real life, virtual photographers are constantly on the lookout for great light, alluring scenes, and interesting subjects.
“I like taking portraits, scenic shots, shapes, weird compositions, playing with colours, anything goes. Why restrict yourself to one style,” says Verdickt.
He explains there are virtual photographers who only shoot photos on one game. But others, like himself, shoot on various games.
“Once I’m done I very rarely revisit it just for shots. This keeps things fresh both for myself and my followers and better suits my gaming style,” he says.
“I played through most of the last God of War game but only when the photo mode was finally patched in I was able to take in and appreciate all the details of the realms I missed.”
Verdickt says he advises any budding virtual photographers to give Ghost of Tsushima a try.
“That game has a fantastic photo mode, arguably one of the best I’ve seen. I’ve noticed that a lot of photo mode enthusiasts really got hooked by the accessibility of its photo mode and the plethora of options it has. Go try it out.”
A study released last summer declared Red Dead Redemption 2 as the most popular video game for photography. While legendary video game director Hideo Kojima has argued that video game photo modes help photographers improve their craft in real life.
More of Verdickt’s work can be found on his Instagram.
Image credits: All photos by Frederic Verdicktemail@example.com