RPS Asks: Are You A Game Photographer?

Do you see?
I was just pondering my screenshots folder, which has recently passed 40gb in heft, and was thinking about clearing it out. But perhaps I should spend a day rescuing the very best shots? I wonder if any of them are really worth keeping. For me, you see, it has become habit to hammer away at the screenshot key as I play any game, so that I have a visual record of my exploits for the purposes of writing about games. But I am not a photographer. I have to work for truly great screenshots, and I would say that usually my game-snaps at, at best, illustrative.

Some of you, though, are far more artful, documentary, or poignant, as is evidenced by some spectacular Flickr galleries, such as Roburky’s record of our years of Eve. But what about you, readers? Care to share any galleries?

UPDATE: a few people have linked to RPS-chum Duncan Harris, who I should have thought to link in here. Some great shots on there.

140 Comments

  1. Kaira- says:

    I’ve covered wars, y’know.

    On the topic though… I tend to take pictures from time to time if I just can be arsed to set the software up. And when I do take pictures, there never happens those great funny bugs that would otherwise infest the game. God damn.

  2. MuscleHorse says:

    Every screenshot I take illustrates how hardcore I am.
    link to cloud.steampowered.com

  3. VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    I’ve got a small gallery of screenshots from Portal here: link to flickr.com

    And a very large gallery of screenshots from Beyond Good & Evil here: link to flickr.com

    I also collected a few lovely shots from Half-Life 2 (none of which I took, but all of which I like) into this post: link to backslashn.com

  4. Raniz says:

    Way back when I was playing UT2003 I took quite a lot of screenshots in spectator mode.

    I’d set up a multiplayer game (without bots) place my char in a nice spot and then join the game as a spectator from another computer and take take screens that I used as desktop backgrounds.

    Nowdays, I head over to deviantART and browse the abstract 3d section for nice images in a suitable resolution.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      UT2003 allows you to freeze the action when you running just bots, you could create absurdly pretty shots.

    • InternetBatman says:

      UT 2003 was absolutely amazing when it came out. I ran Tokara Forrest with just one bot more than once so I could just run around and look at the detail. I was so disappointed when UT3 came out because even though the graphics were better, they weren’t amazing like the first two.

  5. el_murph says:

    I’ve started to take more since the screenshotting was introduced to Steam but not something I look to do. However I would like a game like Africa on the PS3 to be released on the PC in which the game was about photography.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Yeah, I’m using Steam to grab a bunch of shots of my Champions Online antics. I just wish it had an option to save as PNG, rather than ugly medium-quality JPEGs. CO has its own PNG screenshot key (handy for showing off stupid creations in the chargen), but then lacks the lazy-man’s online gallery.

    • Zakkeh says:

      Reminds me of Pokemon Snap….Best game ever

    • Xercies says:

      I really wish there was a game that took Pokemons Snaps mechanics and just ran with it, that was a lovely game with gameplay that I had never played before and have never played since.

      Developers of the world hear me!

    • DD says:

      More games like Pokemon Snap! I demand this also!

    • DdCno1 says:

      There is a fairly similar game for PC: Wild Earth Africa

      I’d almost call it an educational game for children, since it’s quite busy teaching you things about the plants and animals you are required to photograph. But there’s more to it: I like the large open landscapes, which feel very realistic although the presentation was already outdated when it came out in 2007. The feeling of freedom and peace in the open savanna is really great in this title.

  6. Isometric says:

    I went through a phase of doing this last year and I ended up ruining some game experiences for myself. I started doing it for my blog initially, then for myself.

    It’s great to look back at your screenshots but I think it can somewhat distract you from what is actually happening. I found myself orchestrating situations specifically for screenshots. This wasn’t how I wanted to play the games in the end.
    I’m much happier taking them every now and then these days, instead of actively hammering away. For me it needs to feel like a natural process.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      That’s the reason why I usually take screenshots on a later playthrough. I’ll play through the game and take hundreds and hundreds of shots—anything that looks interesting. Then I’ll spend a long time going through them and picking out only the best ones to upload.

    • jt29 says:

      Same here, but with open world games I find that it’s a bit easier. I did a fun project for my blog comparing locations in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood to their real-life counterparts…

      link to joyofthedigital.wordpress.com & link to joyofthedigital.wordpress.com

      …but it’s easier to orchestrate things like this in a setting where you can take your time and wander about rather than being pushed forward in more linear games. I really enjoyed doing these screens even though I don’t normally take many (I just used print screen for these, and the HUD is still up, so you can see I’m a bit of an amateur), so I might end up doing photoblogs a bit more. Maybe for AC Revelations if I’m ever lucky enough to go to Istanbul.

  7. Axon says:

    The only good screenshot I ever took was when a helicopter in NFS:Most Wanted tried to ram me and rammed a truck instead.

    link to i51.tinypic.com

  8. Faceless says:

    My screenshot folder is one and a half GB big, and that’s after a recent cleanup. I frankly forgot how many Just Cause 2 screenshots I took. It’s mostly either something pretty, or something messed up, like a glitch or some other rare occurrence.

  9. StickyNavels says:

    It’s far too easy to take pretty screenshots of EVE. It’s like cheating, almost.

  10. Jorum says:

    I have some nice WOW ones. These are the only ones I can access from my work pc though.
    link to img600.imageshack.us
    link to img813.imageshack.us
    link to img811.imageshack.us

    Um, that last ones not what it looks like honest…

  11. baqueta says:

    I can’t remember the last time I took a game screenshot when it wasn’t for a game I was developing.

    As for galleries though, I have to mention this one: link to deadendthrills.com

    They aren’t true screenshots (though some are pretty close) but they are definitely worth a look…

  12. Lars Westergren says:

    Thanks for reminding me, I should take more screenshots….

    Got these from Dungeon Siege 3 at least.
    link to steamcommunity.com

  13. Moni says:

    I always think I should be taking more screenshots, but then I start thinking that a still frame doesn’t tell the whole story. I’m also too lazy to figure out how to capture video.

    Every game should have an instant replay function.

  14. John P says:

    I took a screenshot of many pigeons in Deus Ex, and what happens when they run into a helicopter.

    link to i.imgur.com
    link to i.imgur.com

    • LionsPhil says:

      Oh spawnmass, you provided hours of extra fun, helped no end by the game’s gloriously emergent environment. Got to make those ‘copter blades actually chop stuff, because what if JC tries to turn on his Legs and go for a piggy-back ride?

      Also fun: making it rain cats and dogs on top of security bots and watching the resulting goomba stomp damage start a fight.

      And if you want to enjoy a white screen for five minutes, spawning lots of boom crates in midair…

  15. nabeel says:

    I absolutely love taking screenshots. I am at work so I can’t see how big my collection is, but it only really started when I got a decent computer a few years back so it’s not too big yet. I take them of scenes in games that I find interesting or funny, but usually moments when I am just gobsmacked by the graphics. I have loads of Mass Effect scenes for example because every cutscene is so dramatic and cinematic. I don’t take them for the purpose of showing others though, I truly keep them as a personal collection for browsing through whenever I want to walk down memory lane. Consequently it’s a mess of aliased edges and varying resolutions and quality of graphical settings. I really like Deadendthrills.com, it’s a blog that explores the art of screenshots and there are some great shots there as well as tips on how to achieve the scenes captured.

  16. Tei says:

    This

  17. frenz0rz says:

    Aaah, my beloved Xfire screenshots folder. Some are great, some are utterly terrible. More importantly, though, having it means I can happily snap away and they never take up any space on my hard drive.

    link to xfire.com

  18. Joseph-Sulphur says:

    I’ve taken loads whilst playing with the RPS Arma 2 crowd: link to steamcommunity.com

    A few of my favourites:
    link to cloud.steampowered.com

    link to cloud.steampowered.com

    • Mad Hamish says:

      Hah those two guys in the front of the jeep. Worst under cover arabs ever. At least the guy manning the grenade launcher has a beard. Quality screenshot.

  19. Coins says:

    I don’t take screenshots during pretty or cool moments because I’m usually too busy looking at said scene and forget I need to press buttons. Most of my screenshots are for strategy/talking purposes.

  20. Sulkdodds says:

    I play WoW on a roleplay server. I screenshot every single exchange between my character and others so that I have a copy of the chatlog. So I don’t have any spectacular views, but I have a massive hoard of dialogue sequences which fit imperfectly together, with bits missing, which aren’t really seem as funny or impressive to someone who wasn’t there the first time around. As a method of archiving material or remembering important details, it’s absolutely rubbish, but it seems I can’t be bothered to actually keep a note file rather than compulsively stabbing ‘print screen’.

    • Jumwa says:

      You can get some mods for WoW that’ll log your chats much more conveniently than that.

      I used to use Elephant when I played, simple and just stuck to logging chats conveniently. Whereas other chat logging mods tend to add a bunch of other aspects as well.

  21. Raziel_Alex says:

    If you people can be bothered to download some image packs, I have some decent stuff here: link to raziel-axd.deviantart.com

  22. Driveshaft says:

    Yes! Steam’s screenshot feature has encouraged this behavour ten-fold. I particularly enjoyed taking dual-screen shots during my EVE ONLINE trial.

    Sometimes I worry that I’m ruining the intended atmosphere – I spent most of Portal 2 taking screenshots. I fear it’ll be the same story with HL2 episode 3.

    link to steamcommunity.com

  23. inspirius says:

    I took a few thousand screenshots of World of Warcraft just over a year ago that I used to make into a photo mosaic of my friend’s character that I then printed and gave to him as a birthday present.

    I keep on thinking that I would like to get game artwork and/or screenshots printed out to hang up but it’s not easy finding high resolution images that are worth printing.

  24. CaspianRoach says:

    Here is my favorite Diablo 2 screenshot.
    I hope there won’t be spawns like this one in D3. That one took me 10 minutes of potion drinking and button mashing and I still have no idea how the hell did I damage him.

  25. Sam Crisp says:

    I only take screenshots when I can pause a game and turn off the hud with ease- the most recent example being Dragon Age 2. Even the games which do that are usually very limited in terms of positioning the camera, so it’s difficult to get something good.

    I love sites dedicated to game photography, particularly Dead End Thrills and this tumblr. Anyone know of other good sites? I’m always looking for more desktop wallpapers to add to the rotation.

    • enwandrews says:

      link to enwandrews.tumblr.com
      link to flickr.com

      The Dead Space games spoiled me. I don’t take any screens if the HUD’s visible, and it can take quite some time on google to discover how to remove it from others. If I could have one additional feature added to all games it would be a HUD toggle. It’s heartbreaking to see games advertised without the HUD and then ship with it permanently enabled.

      I really like this Duncan Harris quote from one of his Alice photos, link to deadendthrills.com

      “I actually started enjoying Madness Returns a lot more when I realised you could just noclip through every map without fighting anyone, visiting every location and just dropping yourself off at the important trigger points. One day, maybe someone smarter than me will figure out what that experience is worth.”

    • Sam Crisp says:

      Not sure if you noticed that yours in fact was the tumblr I linked to in my comment. :P

      Are 1080p versions of any of your screenshots available? I’d love to use them as my wallpaper but the highest res I can find on Flickr is 1024×640.

    • enwandrews says:

      Hey yes thank you, I couldn’t believe my eyes, but I noticed :)

      I’ll have some wallpaper sizes up on flickr shortly.

    • enwandrews says:

      Looks like I’ll need a Flickr subscription in order to offer the original images through that service. I do have the original copies available on my steam profile though, which are 1440 x 900.

      link to steamcommunity.com

  26. Yargh says:

    Kerbal Space Program is the only recent game that has had me taking some screenshots.

    At work now so I can’t post any, but I’ll just say that watching the sun rise from low KEarth orbit is well worth working for.

  27. KillahMate says:

    I don’t take screenshots anymore since I’ve found Dead End Thrills. There’s no point. The man’s got it covered.

    • Emalord says:

      Never thoght it even for a moment.
      My friend Giacomo Talamini would never start link to mgs-philanthropy.net” if he had to think to Stanley Kubrik or, to a lesser extent, Spielberg. Or even Bunuel.
      There are so many things DET does not make, there are so many self-set rules in which he trapped itself and make it so unique, that someway its work is so over-the-top I really can’t call them screenshots anymore.
      They are photos, they are a work of art, but if I were looking for screenshots that’s not my place. He works for EDGE and EDGE only once used a screenshot from DET for its reviews. Why? Because they are not ‘that’ kind of things.
      Concerning my blog http://www.electricblueskies.com, everytime it is compared to DET (as a lesser and less noble project, something not worth to exist) it’s so flattering for me and so unfair to DET that I really can’t understand how people can be sometimes so superficial.
      So, if you stopped taking screenshots because DET it’s better than you, you missed the point, in my opinion.

  28. Kollega says:

    I try to be a game photographer at times. Not that i succeed much, but some of the screenshots that i set up or snap in the middle of frantic action do look pretty nice. Or they’re screenshots of various glitches, which i think i have the most of.

  29. Mitchk says:

    Back in the day I used to spend hours on photo mode on GT4, saving my pics onto my USB drive. It got to the point where I’d actually stop racing and instead try to set the cars up for a good picture…all of that snappery carried over to PGR4, you could upload your photos to the net as well so that was even more incentive for me and my itchy camera finger!
    You wouldn’t have any of them up on your wall by any means, but I had fun with it and it broke up all the racing nicely. They were both good looking games for their time too!

    PGR Showcase

  30. westyfield says:

    I used to take a lot of screenshots when playing Project Reality and BF2142. I also took loads in Mass Effect 1 and 2, here’s one of my favourites from ME2.
    link to screenshot.xfire.com
    It’s the “I have had a fucking awful day and I am ready to punch someone” expression that does it.

  31. Edawan says:

    My screenshot collection is heavily dominated by WoW, but my favourite screenshot ever is from KotOR.

    I’ve also made panoramas in WoW, though not many lately due to a lack of a good panorama making software.

  32. McDan says:

    I haven’t really taken many screenshots apart from when I’ve been aiming to for things, but I wish I had now, as there have been moments that I should have recorded because they were so good. But I suppose it’d be more useful to have a pictures of things, so yeah, wish I’d got into the habit of taking them years ago. That EVE gallery is really good, explosions!

  33. Inigo says:

    I very rarely take screenshots. When I do, it’s usually when things go wrong.

    • Tei says:

      Cool, so you have “Mercenaries: Chaos Trolls Edition.” and the secret level of “Plants versus Zombies”…

  34. LTK says:

    At almost every turn in the Witcher 2 I was staring in awe at the scenery, objects, apparel, damn near everything. I was playing it outside of Steam so screenshots weren’t easy to take, but I did set a shortcut one time in order to show how ridiculously detailed the clothing is. Just look at this jacket:

    link to dl.dropbox.com

    It looks so good! I wish I had clothes that are this well-crafted hanging in my closet.

    I also like taking screenshots of Minecraft landscapes.

    link to i263.photobucket.com
    link to i263.photobucket.com

  35. warthog2k says:

    Didn’t think so, then remembered the WoW ‘Scenic’ Gallery I put together a while back. Some lovely pics in there. link to picasaweb.google.com

  36. Lewie Procter says:

    A did some videos of some of my favourite bits of Mirror’s Edge:

    link to youtube.com

    link to youtube.com

    I might do some more. Love that game.

  37. angramainyu says:

    I spend a fair bit of time doing art photography (mostly studio nudes… it’s a rough job, I know), and find it hard to do good screenshots — I always want to position the subject or the lights differently, or move the camera around more freely like I can in the studio :)
    So, I usually go for the comedy take in my screengrabs, or just reminders of something cool:
    link to cloud.steampowered.com
    link to cloud.steampowered.com

  38. Barts says:

    F**k yea I am.

    My Dragon Age: Origin got documented so thoroughly that this folder alone rose to the size of one gig. The beauty of this game, the dialogues, the story of my playthrough were so captivatiing that I actually browse this folder from time to time. Ah, Winterfang with werewolves, these were the good times…

  39. Leelad says:

    I shortcutted every non steam game I have to make use of the screenshot/upload function.

    Wonderful thing it is too especially when you accidentally cap something really awesome looking.

  40. fallingmagpie says:

    I don’t know how to take screenshots. Do you just hit PrtScrn, then pause, alt-tab out and paste it into an image editor? Or is there something you can have running in the background which lets you hammer away and take lots of photos?

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I mostly use Fraps.

    • fallingmagpie says:

      Oh, I just found this. link to cravingtech.com. That might work.

    • PeteC says:

      If it’s a Steam game simply press F12. It’ll save them to your screenshots folder in your profile.

    • Kablooie says:

      Can’t agree on the “lameness” using PrtScr and an image editor (I’d substitute “laziness”). I personally don’t like software (like FRAPS) and other shareware or begware. I prefer to paste screenies into GIMP and then edit them to taste. Steam games too, although I’ll use their shortcut and then edit the results.

      In general I only do screenies if I want wallpaper from the game, and I like to do my own custom logos for them, that’s about the limit of editing I do (aside from touchup and other things). I got a bunch of Bioshock (1 and 2) pics, as well as Fallout3, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Mass Effect, Metro2033, and Neverwinter Nights 2.

  41. PeteC says:

    I’ve only just started taking screenshots this past week (since starting Just cause 2) so only have a handful. A few are of the rather lovely scenery but others are of various glitches like this one.
    link to cloud.steampowered.com

  42. Forceflow says:

    Steam’s easy screenshot function sure made me do this more.

    Played some Resident Evil 5 today, it has such clever rendering.
    link to steamcommunity.com

    When it comes to atmospheric shots, STALKER with complete mods (Pripyat here) is hard to beat:
    link to steamcommunity.com
    link to steamcommunity.com?
    Argh, will you look at that sky. link to steamcommunity.com?

    Mafia 2 also showing what top-notch texturing and some good lighting can do:
    link to steamcommunity.com?

  43. Mike says:

    My intention with The Runner was to paint a portait of the game through the screenshots.
    We also ran a week of screenshot galleries at The Blue Casket before it closed.

    EDIT – Favourite of mine: http://sekritforum.com/storybook/mirror/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/152-1024×496.png

  44. Wulf says:

    I’m very much a game photographer because it’s a fun thing to do. I have a large collection of screenshots of fun things from games, and things where I’ve broken games terribly and wanted to record the moment for posterity. Those latter ones can be very fun to show other people.

  45. InternetBatman says:

    I sometimes take screenshots in open world games, but my absolute favorite game for screenshots was WoW. My particular favorite was the sun coming up in Ashenvale as I was running to the Zoram’gar strand.

  46. birdsigh says:

    I’ve never stopped much to take screenshots before until recently. After I carried Mr. Gnome all the way through HL:Ep2 I took a few screenshots along the way, since the recent addition of saving screenshots to cloud in Steam I’ve been starting to take a few more shots.

    Loving everyone’s photos/screenshots!

    Here are a few from my journey with Mr. Gnome

  47. Darko Drako says:

    It is possible to get some great screenshots in the Total War series, I don’t know where I have kept mine, but hopefully someone can post some up.

  48. Calabi says:

    I do this sometimes.

    A couple from Darksiders that I like.
    link to img193.imageshack.us
    link to img827.imageshack.us

    Just Cause 2
    link to img585.imageshack.us
    A missile decided to chase its own tale.
    link to img207.imageshack.us

    Planet of the Rocketmen
    link to img154.imageshack.us

  49. pepper says:

    I enjoy taking screenshots in ARMA II when playing with buddy’s. I got a TrackIR(head tracking device) which also allows zoom, so I can quickly compose screenshots. Quite nice!

    link to cloud.steampowered.com

    link to cloud.steampowered.com

    link to cloud.steampowered.com