When the pandemic hit the world and showed us that it was here to stay for a while, we discussed whether video game photography could become the next big thing. And apparently, it’s happening. Video game photography is becoming a new genre, and Flickr has just introduced a whole new category for it on its platform.
If you still use Flickr to upload your photos, you know the drill: you need to choose a category that describes the type of content you’re sharing. Ever since I’ve been on Flickr, there have been three options to choose from: photos, illustration/art, and screenshots. But now Flickr has added the fourth one: virtual photography. The reason for this is that the “screenshots” category “didn’t quite meet the needs of this creative and growing community,” as Flickr explains in the announcement. After all, Getty is even licensing photos from video games, so I believe they really can’t be considered merely screenshots.
So, what’s considered “virtual photography”? It’s not only photos taken inside video games, but any other kind of virtual environment. It can be games for PC, various consoles, phones, or VR. Flickr notes that you’re free to decide whether your work falls under the new category. However, they’ve introduced it with two types of photography in mind: video game photography and content shared by the Second Life community.
“By putting your work into one of these categories, you can use filters to limit your search results by interest,” Flickr writes. “For instance, virtual photographers will be able to filter by virtual photography’ while conducting site-wide searches if they only want to see that kind of work, while avoiding real-world photography or other art and illustration.”
I’m still not sure whether or not “virtual photography” can become a career. However, even big companies like Getty are seeing the potential, so I guess they’re seeing something I don’t (yet). And if you’re seeing it too, you can now categorize your virtual photos when you upload them on Flickr. To do so, go to Settings and select “Virtual Photography / Machinima” as the default. If you want to upload different types of content, you can set the content type for individual images on the photo page, or using Organizer. You’ll find more information here.