Photo modes in video games seem to have become all the rage these days, with fans flocking to social media to share their favorite shots they’ve taken in-game. Whether it’s artistic or goofy, there’s a ton of different photos from a ton of different games out there, and it’s become something of a ritual for a game’s release. There are a few photo modes, however, that stand out above the rest, for a variety of reasons. Here are the 13 best video game photo modes.
The Best Video Game Photo Modes
Horizon Zero Dawn
Sony now has a history of strong photo modes in their first party exclusives, and Horizon Zero Dawn is one of the finest examples of the feature. Available with the launch of the game, photo mode let players capture the stunning vistas of Horizon’s post-apocalytpic world. The mode was surprisingly robust letting players adjust a number of options like aperture, depth of field, brightness, color, time of day, and more. You could even have Aloy take on different poses to set the scene to be goofy, whimsical, thoughtful, or whatever else you wanted.
There were a ton of stunning fan photos that came out after the game’s release, and photo mode helped make one of the PS4’s best exclusives even better.
Super Mario Odyssey – Best Video Game Photo Modes
The Nintendo Switch has provided all new options for Nintendo fans to take and share some awesome photos. The vibrant worlds and locales of Odyssey make it perfect for taking imaginative photos, and snapshot mode lets you adjust camera angle and depth, while adding on a host of different filters. This lets you take some really fun thematic photos, like making an entire scene just out of shadows, or making it looks like a scene right out of a pastel painting.
The super colorful world of Mario Odyssey made it perfect for a photo mode, and it remains one of the very best video game photo modes.
Super Smash Bros Wii U
The coolest thing about Spider-Man’s photo mode is how it basically lets you turn your pictures into comic book snapshots. Outside of capturing the gorgeous recreation of New York Insomniac has crafted, fans can apply all sorts of stickers, graphics, and filters to change the look of their photos. Fans have created some absolutely stunning photos, and being able to put stickers that say “Thwip!” or “Bam!” on your photos adds some fantastic comic flair. There’s even a frame that lets you slap your photo right on the cover of an issue of Spider-Man, like you’ve actually created the comic itself.
Spider-Man is easily one of the best video game photo modes yet, and a stellar example of how you can fit the feature to a particular genre.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – Best Video Game Photo Modes
Assassin’s Creed Origins already had a pretty robust photo mode, but the gorgeous Greek isles of Odyssey are a much better candidate for photos. Graphically, Odyssey is a step above Origins and the game’s photo mode lets you capture everything, from idyllic seaside vistas to bloody, gruesome battles. It may not have as many editing options as some other photo modes, but Odyssey will let you depth of field, saturation, exposure, and more. You can even apply film grain to your photos to make it look more like a classic movie, if you want to.
God of War – Best Video Game Photo Modes
2018’s God of War redefined both the series and Kratos, making him an older, grizzled god with a son named Atreus. Sometime after the game’s launch a photo mode was added, letting players craft some really moody photos, fitting God of War’s world. There were also a couple neat features that set the mode apart, like being able to add a vignette, borders, and even toggle the visibility of Kratos and other characters in the frame.
The best addition, however, was the ability to change Kratos and Atreus’ facial features, leading to tons of hilarious photos like the one above. Photos that were literally the polar opposite of the game’s grim tone.
Dead Rising 4
Dead Rising had its own fair share of problems, but despite all that the game did at least get its photo mode right. Considering Frank West is a photojournalist it’s only natural photos would feature in the game, and boy can you take some goofy ones. Just like the first Dead Rising, you can actually get points for taking photos, and Frank’s wacky selfies can be hilarious to see.
With a host of ridiculous facial expressions, you can snap photos like the one above. If you’re really daring you can even grab a zombie, put them in a headlock, and take a pic with the angry creatures.
To this day Uncharted 4 remains one of the most visually stunning and photorealistic games around. The quality on both characters environments is simply stunning, and the game’s photo mode lets you capture all that in artistic photos. Before God of War did it, Uncharted 4 let you remove characters from scenes entirely to craft you photo the way you want. There’s also a deep suite of tools that let you apply filters, camera angles, and much more.
Fans did some stunning work with Uncharted 4’s photo mode, and there are a few pictures here that you could even mistake as a real photo, if you didn’t know better.
inFamous: Second Son – Best Video Game Photo Modes
inFamous: Second Son may not have had a photo mode when it launched, but it was one of the first big games to jump onboard with the trend. The moody rain-soaked streets of Seattle made the perfect canvas for fans to try out photo mode, and produce some fantastic results. Being able to change the camera angle especially worked to great effect, and Second Son’s superhero powers really made many of the images popped.
The success of Second Son’s photo mode is part of what helped popularize the feature, and it still remains one of the best implementations so far.
Forza Horizon 4
Forza Horizon 4 may very well be the best game in the series yet, and like its predecessors, it has a robust photo mode too. Just like other great photo modes, Forza Horizon 4 gives you a ton of different options for filters, depth of field, etc. Photos you take are saved to the Creative Hub section of the game, and in that same section you can view the favorite photos of Turn 10 and fans in general.
Forza Horizon 4 is one of the most stunningly realistic racing games ever made, and its photo mode lets you capture every curve and detail in your favorite rides.
Firewatch – Best Video Game Photo Modes
Firewatch takes an interesting approach to photo mode, as partway through the game you find a disposable camera that lets you take 24 photos in your playthrough. The really interesting thing, however, is that once you reach the end of the game, it makes a custom url with all of your photos, and you can even order real physical copies of them from there.
Firewatch’s recreation of the Wyoming wilderness is gorgeous, but the way it builds a place for all of your photos and even lets you buy them, is something brilliantly unique.
Final Fantasy XV
Final Fantasy XV has one of the most novel approaches to photos in video games. Prompto’s AI actually takes personalized photos of your journey throughout the game, adding even more context and development onto your main party. They can be charming, wacky, cool, artistic, awful, and help add a lot of character to the game. Later on down the line Final Fantasy XV received its very own photo mode, letting you snap whatever pictures you want.
The actual photo mode as all the bits and bobs you’d expect, but it’s the unique way Final Fantasy XV uses Prompto’s photos that makes it really stand out.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
The graphical prowess of Hellblade is incredibly impressive, especially considering it was independently developed by Ninja Theory.
The dark and twisted Norse locations of Hellblade make for some great photos that can rival even the likes of God of War and Uncharted 4.
Those are our picks for the best of the best video game photo modes. For even more on the topic, take a look at our opinion piece on why photo mode has been a revelation for gaming.
Horizon Zero Dawn
The mode was surprisingly robust, letting players adjust a number of options like aperture, depth of field, brightness, color, time of day, and more. You could even have Aloy take on different poses to set the scene to be goofy, whimsical, thoughtful, or whatever else you wanted.
There were a ton of stunning fan photos that came out after the game's release, and photo mode helped make one of the PS4's best exclusives even better.