What Your Options Are With Flickr’s New Virtual Photography Category

For the majority of individuals, the objective of photography is to record light on a surface. The term “photography” is a combination of the Greek words for “light” and “to draw,” “photos” and “graphe.”


Virtual photography, on the other hand, emerged when electronics and video games advanced in complexity. It has expanded to the point where even Flickr, one of the most popular photo-sharing websites worldwide, has made a category for it.

What does this signify for you and the photography medium then?

A Virtual Photography Category is added to Flickr

Community Manager Leticia Roncero announced the addition of virtual photography as a content category for bulk uploading and search filtering in an essay on the Flickr blog.

Therefore, users can choose Virtual Photography or Machinima as their default upload type. Along with Photos / Videos, Screenshots / Screencasts, and Illusion / Art / Animation / CGI, this new default category is now available.

The photo-sharing website designed the category with two types of photos in mind: Second Life community-generated material and screenshots from video games. That indicates that the movement is significant enough that Flickr decided it deserved its own category.

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To edit the default settings for new uploads, go to Settings > Privacy & Permissions > Defaults for new uploads, and then click Edit next to What Safety Level and Content-Type will your photostream have. This method works if you frequently submit virtual photography. You can then select Virtual Photography / Machinima and Save Changes from there.

What Is Virtual Photography?


Anyone with a smartphone is capable of taking pictures; all you need to do is open your camera app and capture your subject. Is virtual photography similar, though? What makes it different from screenshots?

Since video games have become more cinematic, virtual photography has become more popular. Virtual photography is typically done utilizing the game’s built-in picture mode, which allows you to alter angles, exposure, lenses, and many other variables. This sets it apart from screenshots.

Screenshots, in contrast, merely record what you see. The thinking and work that go into virtual photography are typically far greater, which is perhaps why Flickr felt the need to establish it as a separate category. On virtual photography, we have a more detailed guide.

Comparing The Advantages Of Virtual And Traditional Photography

Although it may seem like a lot of work and needs technical expertise, developing virtual photographs can produce outcomes that are superior to those of traditional imagery.

Save Time

The use of classic photography may be appropriate if you only have one or two products. If you can manage to get the angles, shadow, shading, lighting, and everything else just correct.

With the help of virtual projections, setting up a picture session is simplified and less stressful. With the aid of digital tools, businesses can present their goods and even build virtual tours, thereby reducing the time it takes to complete projects.

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Show Variations

You must bring one of each item to typical photography if you provide different iterations of a product (for instance, various hues). The crew will then have to put in extra effort to make sure that each item is accurately and consistently photographed.

Not the case with virtual choices. Without constantly restaging, you can duplicate a single item in an infinite number of permutations or against various backgrounds.

Streamline Costs

Photographic expenses can mount up quickly. For starters, you need the correct tools, and an excellent DSLR camera can cost thousands of dollars. Next, you require someone who can handle the camera correctly, which necessitates contracting with or employing a professional photographer. Taking all of the necessary pictures might take a lot of time, which can be expensive for everyone.

How does online photography function?

Using a computer is the most common method of taking virtual photographs. Generally speaking, in order to establish a baseline for the image, creators collect the specifications, base images, and 2D assets or CAD files.

They then use a number of software programs to combine photographs to produce 3D representations, which can be zoomed in on and panned across, in addition to having interactive features. The output begins as something akin to a model, which is then enhanced with extra design components, depth, and texture.

Virtual photography goes beyond simply recreating objects from the actual world. A full series of photos showcasing varied lighting, colors, and possibilities can frequently be produced from a single source photograph or product. This approach makes it possible to display many components in creative ways when used in conjunction with one another for goods that offer add-on capabilities.

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Can digital photographs be sold?

You can sell 3D photos if you are the legal owner of the represented creative work or the virtual images themselves. Keep in mind that if you haven’t bought the rights to do so, you shouldn’t attempt to sell graphics by extracting still photos from a 3D rendering.

Similar to how they buy rights-managed or stock photos for 2D images, many marketers or designers will buy virtual photography. Without the expense of conducting a real-world photoshoot to produce designs, 3D graphics offer realistic pictures.

Why Virtual Photography Is Growing So Quickly

In addition to the work put into virtual photography, there must have been been a need in the Flickr community, as this is what prompted the photo-sharing website to make the adjustment. This development is probably attributable to the improved hardware and game engine capabilities that allowed gamers to enjoy visuals that were almost exactly like real-life.

One of the reasons why players adore contemporary games is their increasing aesthetic value—after all, as creative beings, humans make art when moved. Players who are also interested in photography now have new paths to explore thanks to cinematic games. They were able to depict both the beauty and the mayhem of virtual worlds.

It’s also simpler to take virtual images than actual ones because it’s easily available (on your computer or console) and you don’t have to step outside to shoot them—especially at the peak of the 2020 pandemic lockdowns.

The need to keep memories alive is another reason individuals take pictures. As social games like Second Life and Grand Theft Auto Online gain popularity, more individuals log on to the internet and make true friendships there.

Because they are interacting virtually, these people don’t have access to real-world cameras to capture their memories; instead, they use virtual cameras to capture images that will serve as a reminder of their relationships and interactions.

Who makes use of virtual photography?

You can profit from using virtual photography if you have a good or service to sell online. Many sectors, especially those that produce a wide range of product lines and variations, already heavily rely on these services.

These photographs are also useful for demonstrating to potential customers how things can look in various settings without the cost and hassle of staging.

Here are a few examples of companies and sectors that are utilizing virtual photography to boost their sales growth:

  • Home and Outdoor Furnishings & Fixtures
  • Jewelry and Accessories
  • Clothing, Shoes, and Wearables
  • Car Dealers and Manufacturers
  • Trades and Field Services 
  • Food Services Suppliers
  • Kitchen and Bath Fixtures 

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You Can Now Upload Your Virtual Photographs to Flickr

The photo-sharing website Flickr acknowledges the developing field of virtual photography by offering it as a default upload category option. Additionally, even if it might not have an immediate effect on the majority of users, this action is a hint that virtual photography has a future in our culture.

You can anticipate that virtual photography will advance along with our virtual experiences as game makers produce more visually appealing and cinematic games and as people form more online friendships. And why not try virtual photography if you have a cinematic game on your preferred gaming system?

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