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Virtual Photography Archives with Jai Sood

Welcome to the Virtual Photography Archives, where I invite in-game photographers to revisit their back-catalogue of photo mode captures to rediscover past inspirations, find flaws or mistakes, and appreciate their progress with a little self-critique and a few words about how they reflect on each image now.

Virtual Photography Archives

This time, it is the turn of Jai Sood, who went from accidentally entering photo mode to having work on display at an iconic venue. So over to you Jai, let's see what you have in your Virtual Photography Archives...


First up, tell us a bit more about yourself and how you are involved in virtual photography

Hi, I’m Jai - I’m an Economics student in London and I got into Virtual Photography by mistake! During a fight in Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales, my thumb slipped over the D-Pad, opening up the photo mode – I was amazed by all the controls, options and opportunities. Luckily, I caught the fight at a good time and since then, I’ve been hooked!


I enjoy exploring different video games and how they approach taking photos in-game. I don’t think I have a certain style yet, but I’ve been trying as many as I can – from minimalism to landscape to abstract - some of them are on my Instagram @playstationlens.

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of being one of 30 shortlisted photographers to showcase their VP at Trafalgar Square with the London Games Festival and it was a brilliant event! It was great to participate in the competition, and I recommend it to anyone wanting to get into virtual photography - novice or experienced!

London Games Festival - Jai Sood



#1: A shot from a "last gen" game

Virtual Photography Archives with Jai Sood


Game: Horizon Zero Dawn | Platform: PS5 | Date: August 2022

This may not count as a last gen game, but Horizon Zero Dawn is the oldest game I have! Here’s a shot of Aloy taking in the snowy landscape that the game has to offer around the north of the map.

When I first found the photo mode in HZD I was so excited at all the possibilities – one of them was capturing serenity like this. The solidarity of the environment combined with the soft reds and pinks in the sunset, as well as having Aloy sat down, helps create a sense of tranquillity. I tried to use the Rule of Thirds to compose the shot and emphasise the sheer size of the landscape. As someone whose last console before the PS5 was the Nintendo Wii, the size of the map impressed me, and I wanted to get this across to my viewers!

Looking back, I would use some post-editing software like Lightroom or Photoshop to shift the colour saturations around. I used depth of field in this shot but that means only Aloy is in focus and about 80% of the picture is not. Sometimes less is more and knowing when not to use special effects is as important as knowing when to use them.


#2: A shot that captures the memory of a game

Virtual Photography Archives with Jai Sood


Game: Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales | Platform: PS5 | Date: December 2022

I wanted a shot that presented the beauty of snowy New York, as well as Miles’ unique take on being Spider-man – to me, a shot capturing both of these things captures the memory of this game!

Miles is looking out at the Financial District while swinging through Manhattan and by changing the suit, filter, and time of day, I tried to emulate the art style from ‘Into the Spider-verse’ (and more recently, ‘Across the Spider-verse’). The contrasts between the pinks and the blues are down to the stunning sunset and time-of-day feature, which has vastly improved since the previous game. I used the portrait orientation to emphasise how far the end of Manhattan is from Miles.

Upon reflection, I’d like to have removed the grain for extra realism – either way, whenever I look at this shot, I always remember Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales and how Miles uses his newfound confidence and takes the idea of Spider-Man to make it his own – I hope my viewers feel the same!


#3: A shot you no longer like

Virtual Photography Archives with Jai Sood


Game: Horizon Forbidden West | Platform: PS5 | Date: March 2023

When playing Horizon Forbidden West, I was shocked that it could get even better than Zero Dawn, especially as you could now dive underwater! The murkiness of the water means you can’t see too far ahead, and that made me want to capture emotions of horror and terror, so what better way than with an Apex Snapmaw?

I used vignettes and desaturations to emphasise the glowing red eyes of the machine. However, I’m no longer a fan of the shot because it can be a bit confusing. The frost sac of the Snapmaw is distracting, being pure white, but more importantly, it doesn’t look distinctly like a crocodile from this angle. I’m sure a Forbidden West player will understand immediately, but to an untrained eye, this isn’t the ideal angle from which to shoot a machine emulating a crocodile.

Maybe I’ll find a way to improve it in the future!


#4: A shot you would like to do differently

Virtual Photography Archives with Jai Sood


Game: Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales | Platform: PS5 | Date: December 2022

I wanted to create a shot that conveyed dynamic action and movement, and while completing Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales, one of his finishing moves gave me an idea of just that. This finisher allowed me to go into his web-strike for a frame-in-a-frame action shot.

I used Lightroom to adjust the reds and blacks, and deliberately used the Crimson Cowl suit to match the surrounding colours. It was also important to highlight the white of the web as it created the frame within the frame. What I would like to have done differently is reposition the camera for a square aspect ratio to convey a sense of tightness or constriction as if we are the ones being webbed up.


#5: Your biggest achievement

Virtual Photography Archives with Jai Sood


Game: Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales | Platform: PS5 | Date: February 2023

My biggest achievement so far would be being one of 30 photographers to showcase their work in Trafalgar Square as part of the 2023 London Games Festival! It was lovely to meet you (Mik) in person and talk to the London Games team about art and photography in gaming.

I began to appreciate the beauty of abstract photography while taking this shot. I used the Nuform Reactor in Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales to create a warped, honeycomb-looking pattern. I also used the lighting system in the game to make the pattern appear alive and using focus emphasised the depth in the shot, as if it’s popping out of the frame! Everything came together in this shot, but I think it could have been improved further if I adjusted the field of view to see more of the dome-shaped reactor within the frame.


Anything else that you’d like to add?

Thanks for putting this together Mik! It was definitely harder than I thought it would be and having to self-appraise my work has helped me see my own shots from different perspectives. Looking forward to more from the VP Archives and for more Virtual Photography in the future!

Virtual Photography Archives with Jai Sood


Thank you for such interesting answers Jai, it was really great to hear what you did and didn't like about your work. Incidentally, I actually liked that Snapmaw shot at first glance, but think you're absolutely right in your comments about it. Cheers!


I hope you all enjoyed this look back over the Virtual Photography Archives and if you enjoy Jai's work then please be sure to show your support on Twitter & Instagram where he can be found as @playstationlens.

As always, if you think that you would like to take part in future editions of the VP Archives, please get in touch as I would love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading, until next time...

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1 Comment

Sep 20, 2023

I'm excited to find your photo archive. I have been wanting to take up photography professionally for a long time. But because of my studies I don't always have time for it. I am sometimes helped by where I found my academic assignment writer. And thanks to this my academic performance remains at the highest level.

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