It’s humbling to regularly see fan creations from the world of The Last of Us. Our developers spend years crafting the story, characters, world, and sound of our games. And it is always an immense privilege to see our characters and world come to life or reimagined in fanart, cosplay, tattoos, and everything in between. For those who play The Last of Us, one of the most accessible forms of artistic experimentation and expression is Photo Mode – and we’ve been so happy to see this community flourish.
It’s no secret: we love Photo Mode. When we took a deeper dive with developers and Virtual Photography (VP) community members, we found that it’s not about simply grabbing a screenshot. The creative goals, the lighting, the model adjustments, the placement – just like traditional photography, so many elements are considered when capturing a memorable shot. More than anything, it delights us to see photographers’ personalities expressed through their Photo Mode shots. Learning what subjects people are drawn to is an absolute joy, and it’s a pleasure to see Photo Mode photographers’ passion and talent on display year-round. We adore watching your talent grow, and we love the joy that is shared among the community when sharing these photos.
For The Last of Us Day 2022, we asked Photo Mode fans to use #TLOUPhotoMode and tag us on Twitter and Instagram. We selected a few of our favorites for a digital scrapbook. And to help inspire you on your continuing virtual photography adventures, some of the Naughty Dog team contributed their personal Photo Mode shots, as well as some tips on how to compose beautiful photos of your own.
#TLOUPhotoMode Community Submissions
It is a consistent joy to look through all of the incredible Photo Mode pictures our community takes year-round, and it was particularly heartwarming to go through all of your wonderful submissions for this year’s TLOU Day Photo Mode community album. With photo modes in The Last of Us Remastered, The Last of Us Part II, and now The Last of Us Part I, we are so thrilled to see all the different locations, characters, and elements of our worlds you’ve beautifully captured with your collective virtual photography skills.
With that in mind, we’ve selected a few of our favorites from the many impressive photos you all took. Thank you to everyone who submitted this year, and please continue to share your favorite Photo Mode pictures with us on Twitter and Instagram.
Thank you to everyone who submitted! There were so many awe-inspiring submissions and talented Virtual Photographers. The featured Photo Mode submissions above are by: @coalabr14, @Ceraphyte, @andre_revolution, @amaphotomode, @1saiahmercado, @EclipsedFantasy, @fearnefilms, @gazdous, @KMBsVP, @jgoring90, @nahHermes, @NotTheBadTrump, @Photoingame, @TheJules13, @tlou_photos, @YouSpoonyBardd
Naughty Dog Photo Mode Tips
The Naughty Dog team doesn’t just love seeing your Photo Mode shots - we love taking our own, too! The feature is a favorite to use for many of us, as we get to explore and see our games in a new light even after years of working on them. And because we know how many of you out there love to take in-game photos, too, but may not know where to start, some of our incredible team have offered up their tips and tricks so that you’ll be taking photos you’re proud of in no time.
"Oftentimes, having a strong subject in your frame is a good way to get a strong photo. Here, we’re using the leading lines of the buildings and a strong backlit silhouette to draw focus to Joel as he balances along a plank. I also love using a more vertical frame like Film 2 to accentuate the tallness of the buildings, and using the Vintage filter to add a filmic look to match the frame." - Ryan Chan, Senior Cinematographer
"Capturing an action shot can be tough when trying to pause on that perfect moment. But Frame Forward is a great feature that allows you go frame by frame to help nail that ideal shot, whether it’s a lightning strike illuminating the sky or Joel stealthily taking out an infected. Adding Tilt is also a great way to add drama and tension to a photo by skewing the frame, and using a filter like Noir can help as well, by pushing the contrast and making the lighting feel even more dynamic." - Ryan Chan
"The Last of Us Part I is filled with beautiful environments and lighting. To capture your own landscape photos, using the Hide Characters feature under the Filter tab is perfect for removing any distracting subjects and making the level art the focus of your frame. Pressing R3 will toggle the Grid - a visual representation of what’s commonly known as the “Rule of Thirds.” Placing points of interest - such as an abandoned truck - along the grid lines or intersections, is a simple and surefire way to create appealing, balanced compositions." - Ryan Chan
"My absolute favorite new features in The Last of Us Part I Photo Mode are the new multi-light rig and the frame-forward. I use the frame-forward constantly to adjust the character pose, move out of an awkward stance, and especially to advance to an ideal facial expression. The new dynamic three-light system turns any frozen moment into a studio portrait. Being able to find a composition no matter the lighting conditions opens up a whole world of possibilities. I usually use one light for a neutral fill to bring out all of the character details; a second light for “bounce” to simulate light reflecting off surfaces and give the character additional color and highlights; and a third light is usually a rim light, positioned to one side to carve out the shape of the character and help them pop from the background. I combine these with a tight depth of field to isolate characters from background, and often with the camera roll to create a more dynamic composition, or for tall vertical compositions (great for cellphone wallpapers)." - Derek Chatwood, Senior Game Designer
"A strong silhouette will draw in the viewer’s attention to the area of interest. Try to keep your main subject dark and against a bright background, or vice versa. Also, that area of interest doesn’t have to be a character; it can be an object the character is holding, some plants in the foreground, something on a shelf… anything! I like to use the Noir filter to check if my silhouettes are strong before choosing another filter, and usually I like the results so much I stick with the Noir filter!" - Joy Liberatore, Senior QA Tester
"Tangents are when two edges of objects at different distances meet. For example, if Joel is aiming his gun, but the end of the gun is lined up with the edge of a door far in the background, that’s a tangent. With tangents, you can accidentally ruin the sense of depth to an image, and tangents also detract from strong silhouettes. While it’s impossible to avoid all tangents, try to avoid tangents that interfere with the focal point of your image." - Joy Liberatore
"We humans have eyes that will wander, always searching for something of interest. But good framing can prevent the eyes from wandering too far from your subject. For example, a photo of just Joel and Ellie with nothing else around them makes it difficult for the eye to wander; there’s really only one thing to focus on. But, if Joel and Ellie are surrounded by trees, infected, sprays of blood… the viewer might not focus on any one thing. Thankfully, there are a lot of ways to frame the focal point of your image. You can use the environment and other characters to guide your eye to the focal point. If the photo I’m taking is in an area with a lot of foliage, I’ll try to move the camera so the plants become an almost literal frame. Strong light and shadow can achieve the same effect. Or you can use Depth of Field to literally bring your focal point into focus! Try to use the natural setting of your photo to your advantage as you’re framing it." - Joy Liberatore
We hope you enjoyed these amazing photos from both our team and the community as much as we did. While we could only pick a handful of selects, be sure to check out the hashtag #TLOUPhotoMode to see even more incredible talent on display.
From all of us at Naughty Dog, Happy The Last of Us Day, and thank you so much.