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Now in their third year, The Virtual Photography Awards are established as the leading awards in the modern art of video game photography with support from major gaming & photography brands including PlayStation UK, Flickr and Topaz Labs.

Consisting of two main themes which separately celebrate the best in-game photo modes & features and the most outstanding images captured by players using photo mode tools, these awards bring together players, photographers, and studio creatives from all around the world with a common appreciation for game-derived art.

The response this year has been tremendous with over 6.1k votes cast on the Game Industry Award categories and 2.7k images entered for Virtual Photographer of the Year with an incredibly high standard across the board.

This continued year-on-year growth is a great sign for the future of virtual photography as a digital art form, and I cannot wait to see how both it and these awards can develop in the future.


Virtual Photographer of the Year:

Representing the outstanding individual images that are captured by digital artists everywhere, Virtual Photographer of the Year winners were chosen across six thematic categories – Environment, Creative, Detail, Portrait, Action, and Abstract.

Based on artistic merit, technical ability and interpretation of the theme, finalists and winners are chosen by an expert judging panel consisting of experienced in-game photographers, renowned real-world photographers & game industry professionals.



Golden sunsets often help to create a beautiful landscape shot, but this one relies on more than just that. The sun itself is cradled just above the surrounding whisps of fog and mist by a rocky outcrop while some distinct silhouettes add form to the surroundings. Positioning the camera far from the human subject placed right in the centre makes them a tiny element that creates a sense of scale for the environment around them.



With the introduction of the new Creative category, this year gave the opportunity for people to really show off their skills in broader digital art and image editing, and you did not disappoint. Amongst so many imaginative entries, this piece showed great vision and creativity with a composite image that has excellent choice and arrangement of its components to form a compelling take on Spider-Man in New York.

"Finding virtual photography gave me and many others the gift of creative expression. From the stripped down beauty of a clean composition to the layered nuances of a complex edit, we are empowered to illicit feelings from those that view our work. That enjoyment is a gift to us as creators and the exploration of the limits of that creation is what drives me..."


By making this a frame-filling composition with no colour to distract the eye, the attention is entirely focused on the tactile texture details of the shirt and tie. The flow of the latter across the frame even manages to evoke a small amount of movement and helps to make an otherwise mundane subject become a genuine point of interest.

"Thanks to Mik and everyone else involved in putting this thing together. I'm glad I finally won one of these things, but I have to assume there was a misprint with the final order. Please, nobody tell them..."


It's easy not to be totally captivated by this shot at first with the main subject's face sitting low in the frame and attention being split between his eyes and those of the bear that adorns his head. This is where the story begins though, and you soon get drawn into the character behind the eyes with wonder about what kind of man would wear a skin like this, and what his status might be. It tells a tale of the subject that is never fully answered, making it an powerful and emotive portrait.



Without wasting a single pixel, this capture crams in everything it needs to be an outstanding and dynamic capture. The highly detailed front wing of the F1 car demands attention in the foreground, while the vibrant Ferrari Rosso paintwork makes its body burst out from the surrounding blues and greys. Motion blur on the track surface, tyres and water spray add a palpable sense of speed, and the use of the curve of the circuit give a look at the trailing competitors struggling to keep up.



With the highest overall score of any entry across all 6 categories, this image really resonated with the judges and it is easy to see why. The top down view makes it not immediately obvious what you are seeing, and the wide angle with a little tilt creates an exaggerated perspective with an almost uneasy lean on the cracked floor surface. Only when you pay attention to the silhouette of the shadow, itself an artistic and stylised pose, does the full scope of what is going on become clear.

"Seeing is not enough; you have to feel what you photograph...”
– Andre Kertesz


The VP Awards Finalists

Game Industry Photo Mode Awards:

Decided by public & Community Panel vote across 6 distinct categories, the Game Industry Award categories recognise the most important photo mode contributions from development studios and their games over the last 12 months.

Expand the category headers below to see how the votes decided the winners.



🥇 (28.7 %) Kratos - God of War Ragnarök, Santa Monica Studio

🥈 (28.5 %) Aloy - Horizon Forbidden West, Guerrilla Games

🥉 (17.2 %) Amicia de Rune - A Plague Tale: Requiem, Asobo Studio







The Virtual Photography Awards are brought to you by TheFourthFocus, but this is not something that I could do alone. I wish to thank all of The VP Awards Partners for their invaluable contributions that help to make this the leading awards event in the art of virtual photography.

If you are interested in becoming a future partner of The Virtual Photography Awards or would like more info for press coverage, don't hesitate to get in touch via the Contact Form or drop me a message on Twitter.

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