Photography marketing

An introduction to virtual photography

Film photography, digital photography, and now, virtual photography? Does that just mean taking a screenshot of everything on your screen?

In this article, we will see how gamers have turned into virtual photographers and how the concept is already being used in marketing.

What is virtual photography?

The concept of virtual photography has been around for a few decades. But as more and more video game developers included a photo mode, an internet subculture developed where gamers shared their photos in-game.

Imagine a classic camera, floating in the game world without impacting your character or NPCs, helping you capture your in-game adventures.

Virtual photography isn’t limited to video games, however, and it’s now being used by businesses as augmented reality and virtual reality become more mainstream.

Players as virtual photographers

One of the most memorable games allowing players to take in-game photos is Gran Turismo 4, which was released in 2005. Players could use “photo mode” to take photos of their cars on the track or in certain places.

But the game did not have a feature allowing you to share these images with other players. You will need to upload them to a cloud-based storage service, email them, etc.

However, things changed with Halo 3. The game’s “theater mode” allowed you to record every match you played, online or offline. Then you can save the content to your profile’s file share, so other players can easily access it in the pre-game lobby.


Over time, more and more games with incredible visuals and impressive open worlds with confusing details and intricate designs have become part of players’ collections. Ghost of Tsushima, Death Stranding, and Horizon Forbidden West are just a few of the games that have captivated gamers and made them take a break from quests and dive deep into photo mode.

Even if you are not at all interested in video games, it is possible that you have already come across this type of illustration. E-commerce has already been using virtual photos for several years. But why are business leaders looking to replace traditional photography?

The benefits of virtual photography

Let’s take a look at some of the main benefits of virtual photography.

Low cost

When it comes to traditional photography, the bills add up quickly. Even if you plan to buy used photography equipment online, you still need a studio, editing software, and you may need to hire someone to help you during the shoot. With virtual photography, you don’t need as much equipment.

However, don’t think you can render high quality images with just any computer. You still need a powerful processor, a dedicated graphics card, an efficient cooling system and a long battery life, so that you don’t lose your work due to power outages.


When buying phones, chairs, or even houses, people want to see a detailed model. Imagine how much effort and time it would take to set up a studio, bring in each product and shoot it from every angle. Also, if the product is available in multiple colors, you will need to bring one for each color variation.

Furniture companies are using virtual photography as part of the AR experience they offer their potential customers. Now you can check how a piece of furniture would fit, in size and color, using an app.

Perfect conditions, every time

Even if you schedule your shooting session for the best time of day, like golden hour, the environmental conditions won’t be perfect. The same goes for studio shooting. You will always have to experiment with different lighting settings, different lenses, or subject placement.

As a virtual photographer, you can create the best conditions in no time. Need to change white balance, focus, focal length or any other “camera” setting? With just a few clicks, you will create the best conditions for your shooting session.

Is virtual photography the future?

With the development of AR and VR, there is no doubt that virtual photography is here to stay. As a player, you can now win virtual photography prizes. As a business owner, you can reduce costs and time while increasing efficiency.

But no matter how quickly virtual photography evolves, it cannot replace the feeling of exploring the real world and the satisfaction of creating a beautiful visual story.

animation of a man wearing a VR headset

7 Ways The Metaverse Will Forever Change The Way We Work

Read more

About the Author