The Most Popular Video Games for Virtual Photography

Virtual photography
Red Dead Redemption 2

Memory company Crucial makes products for photographers and gamers alike. The company has blended these two audiences with a new article, “The most beautiful video games.”

There are many great photography games to play in 2023, and some are downright beautiful. “First introduced in 2005 with Gran Turismo 4, photo mode has become a staple of gaming. Players spend countless hours getting the perfect Instagram-worthy shot of their characters, vehicles, or in-game environment and landscapes. Gamers are turned into photographers and are always eager to share their best shots on social media with other fans,” Crucial writes.

In its new article, Crucial scoured the video gaming landscape to determine the most popular video games among virtual photographers, including finding out how many Instagram posts about specific games were focused on in-game virtual photography.

Virtual photography
Red Dead Redemption 2

Topping the list is Rockstar Games’ 2018 blockbuster, Red Redemption 2, a game known for its beautiful and rich landscapes, exciting characters, and dynamic lighting and weather. More than half a million Instagram posts are focused on photos captured inside Red Dead Redemption 2, topping the charts by a significant margin.

Another popular game for virtual photographers is Ghost of Tsushima, a game so people with artists that one, Sam Bulleit, has even created real-life cyanotypes using virtual images captured in the video game.

Virtual photography
Credit: Sam Bulleit

Given that Spider-Man’s Peter Parker is a well-known shutterbug, alongside being an arachnid-infused hero, it is perhaps no surprise that Spider-Man on PlayStation has proven popular with virtual shooters. The game and its newly-released smash hit sequel feature surprisingly in-depth camera mechanics, including remarkable control over lighting that could help real-life photographers hone their skills.

Given that in-game photo modes started with Gran Turismo 4, a racing game, it’s no surprise that racing games still offer excellent photo modes to this day. Gran Turismo 7 on PlayStation 5 and Forza Horizon 5 on Xbox and PC both make the top 10 list. Gran Turismo 7 builds upon Gran Turismo Sport’s groundbreaking virtual photography features to give gamers even more ways to flex their creative muscles.

The complete list is available on Crucial’s website. There are many familiar names compared to last year’s list. Will a new game crack 2024’s edition?

Gamers keen to do more than capture images in a photo mode can check out PetaPixel’s guide to the 15 best video games that are about photography.