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Largely thanks to the popularity of in-game photo modes, the digital art form of virtual photography continues to grow and brings with it an inevitable increase in the established names and brands that are making a home for it. The latest example of this is Flickr, who are looking to do just that by adding a dedicated Virtual Photography category to their already comprehensive photography platform.


What Is Flickr?

For anyone not familiar, Flickr is an image & video hosting service, originally developed to help people organise large numbers of photos that came with the booming popularity of digital cameras. Since then, it has become a popular online photography community where photographers can share their work with like-minded groups, and put together a portfolio of work in high-quality.

"Almost certainly the best online photo management and sharing application in the world."


Whether you believe Flickr's own lofty claims or not, there is definitely some value in having a well-presented portfolio, and some of the problems faced when digital photography was new are equally relevant to virtual photographers today.

The sheer convenience of photo modes and the opportunities they offer make it easy to accumulate a vast library of photographs for a start. There is also the fact that not all social media sites are great at looking after the image quality, let alone making uploads visible in organised galleries, so a platform that does all of this might be just what you are looking for.


Flickr & Virtual Photography

Flickr's own interest in virtual photography may have been brewing for some time, but the first real commitment came with the inclusion of photo mode shots in their World Photography Day Contest. More recently they added a new Virtual Photography category for uploads, group administration and search filtering so that photographers who specialise in the virtual realm can do exactly that.

Although there were already other categories like Illustration, CGI, and Screenshot, it is great to see virtual photography being acknowledged as a distinct genre of work.

"Virtual photography is an emerging art form specializing in photos taken inside a video game or virtual environment. 'Screenshots' didn’t quite meet the needs of this creative and growing community"



What Is Available?

For free accounts, Flickr allows up to 1,000 images to be uploaded with a maximum file size of 200 MB per image. Upgrade to a paid Pro account for unlimited uploads, no ads, and even the possibility to use the platform to promote a business.

If you do choose to sign up, it's worth diving into the account settings to make sure that you have everything optimised to meet your virtual photography needs. As well as choosing whether your uploads can be shared or added to gallery collections by others, and who is able to see or comment on them, I particularly recommend the following settings:

  • Privacy & Permissions > Defaults for new uploads > Content type: Virtual Photography / Machinima

This will set your default upload category to Virtual Photography so that all of your shots can be properly identified.

  • Privacy & Permissions > Content filters > Edit > Include virtual photos in search results

This will ensure that you can find the work of other virtual photographers in searches.

For more about virtual photography on Flickr, keep an eye on the official blog and if you do sign up, please give me a follow at flickr/people/thefourthfocus.

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