Animal Crossing: New Horizons - How to take the perfect pictures

Animal Crossing New Horizons Photo Hero
Animal Crossing New Horizons Photo Hero (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

After a long wait, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is finally here and in our hands. There are plenty of new features that New Horizons introduces, thanks to the NookPhone, and one of those is the Camera. That's right — the NookPhone, much like your real-life iPhone or smartphone, can help you capture some great Animal Crossing memories through photos! But how do you get the perfect photos with your animal friends? Don't worry, it's easy, and we're going to offer you some tips.

How to access the Camera and take photos

  1. Press the ZL button to bring up your NookPhone menu.
  2. Select Camera from the menu — it's in the upper left corner and is the icon with the camera on it.

Acnh Nookphone Camera (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Adjust the position of the photo as you please. You can still move your character around freely with the left joystick and adjust the camera angle with the right joystick (in house only).
  2. If you want to apply a filter, press ZL to cycle through the available filters.

Animal Crossing New Horizons Camera Filter (Image credit: iMore)
  1. If you want to add a frame, press the L shoulder button to cycle through borders.

Animal Crossing New Horizons Camera Frame (Image credit: iMore)
  1. To make your character have a reaction in the photo, press the ZR button.
  2. To make your character look up, press the R shoulder button.

Animal Crossing New Horizons Camera Reaction Menu Look Up (Image credit: iMore)
  1. You can zoom in or zoom out with the camera lens by pressing the X and Y buttons.Source: iMore

Animal Crossing New Horizons Camera Zoom In (Image credit: iMore)

Animal Crossing New Horizons Camera Zoom Out (Image credit: iMore)
  1. To exit Camera mode, press the - or B button.

Animal Crossing New Horizons Camera Cancel (Image credit: iMore)
  1. To take the photo, press +.

Animal Crossing New Horizons Camera Take Photo (Image credit: iMore)

As you can see, accessing the camera is pretty easy in the game, and all of the directions you need to take a photo are on-screen. But what if you want the best possible pictures? Here are some tips!

Play with the camera's angle before taking the picture

Acnh Camera Angles

Acnh Camera Angles (Image credit: iMore)

Initially, when I saw the camera feature in ACNH, I thought it was going to be like, selfies with your favorite animal villagers. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a selfie functionality, like in other games, but this is even better!

Since the camera turns your entire screen into the viewfinder with what's on-screen for the photo, it gives you more freedom. Your character can still move around like normal, and if you're in your house, you can move the camera all around in a circular motion. Your character will turn their head to look at the camera, though, so this can lead to some...interesting shots if you're creative enough.

However, if you're outside, the camera isn't able to rotate around, so just make sure that you have a good view of the scene, and you have everyone in position and ready to go!

Add some reactions to express yourself in a picture

Acnh Nookphone Camera Reaction Menu

Acnh Nookphone Camera Reaction Menu (Image credit: iMore)

Eventually, you'll unlock Reactions in ACNH. Reactions are little gestures that your character can do to express how they feel in response to certain situations or conversations. You'll see villagers do them now and then as well, which should be around the time you unlock them.

Adding a reaction to your photo can really spice things up. Express your Delight about certain flowers growing or spending time with friends, Greet them in your pictures, or even throw in the Surprised reaction when someone shows off their Tarantula. They're fun and add a personal touch to your ACNH photos.

Spice things up with filters or frames

Christy Acnh Bw

Christy Acnh Bw (Image credit: iMore)

Just like in real life, your photos can easily be spruced up with some filters or frames.

There are seven filters (Sharp, Pop, Soft, Dramatic, Film, Monochrome, and Antique, and each one has its own unique aesthetic, tone, and mood. Adding a filter can improve your image, so make sure to check them out and see what works best for what you're trying to convey.

Additionally, there are five frames: Frame (standard white border), Cinema (16:9), Time, Date, and Frame + Date. These give your photo a more analog feel, if that's what you're trying to go for. Plus, the date and time options work well if you want to do a digital scrapbook of your ACNH memories.

Make use of Harvey's Photopia Island

Acnh Harveys Island Photopia

Acnh Harveys Island Photopia (Image credit: iMore)

You may be familiar with Harvey, a laid-back spaniel dog who could have visited your island by now. Once you talk to him, you unlock the option of flying over to his Photopia Island via Dodo Airlines.

At Photopia Island, you can use Harvey's studio, which has six themed rooms that you can use for the perfect photoshoot. Each room lets you customize the Sets, Models, and Wardrobe for all photos.

With the Sets, you can borrow pretty much any furniture item that you have cataloged through the Nook Shopping Catalog. Just customize the room with your available furniture however you like, following the standard furniture rearranging steps that you're familiar with in your own house.

Models can be the villagers on your island (just summon them over), but you can also make use of any Animal Crossing amiibo — there are over 300 total out there to choose from, so make use of your amiibo if you have them!

The Wardrobe works like the Sets, so any clothing items that you've cataloged will be available for you to borrow. Some characters (mainly the core NPC villagers like Isabelle) are not able to change into different clothing items, so keep that in mind.

Hang out with your friends

Acnh Camera Friends

Acnh Camera Friends (Image credit: iMore)

While ACNH can be enjoyed solo, it's one of those games that can be better with friends. So make sure to invite some friends over to your island, or visit them on their island homes. Hang out together and make sure to take some pictures of your shenanigans with the other tips we've mentioned here.

Snap away, shutterbug!

Acnh Coelacanth Screengrab

Acnh Coelacanth Screengrab (Image credit: iMore)

That's it! Taking photos with the NookPhone's Camera is easy peasy, but you can always just take regular screenshots on your Nintendo Switch as well. But there are more options to make your photos stand out with the NookPhone Camera, so take advantage of it when you can.

Don't miss our other Animal Crossing: New Horizon guides to make the most of your game!

Christine Chan

Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.

When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.