Super Mario Odyssey (Switch)

Super Mario Odyssey (Switch)Super Mario Odyssey (Switch)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo
Release Date: 27th Oct 2017 (USA) / 27th Oct 2017 (UK/EU)

Who could have predicted that a Super Mario game would have a photo mode — or that it could look so good? Super Mario Odyssey finally let us capture Mario's adventures with the use of filters (and Mario's outfits, obv), and while some of us were off taking pics of all the cute little birds in the game, others — professional photographers, even — were making the game look goooorgeous.

Of course, it's not all down to photo mode itself, because Super Mario Odyssey is a beautiful game, but being able to perfectly frame colourful shots of Mario jumping in/around things makes it really come to life.

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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Switch)

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Switch)The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Switch)
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks / Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Release Date: 17th Nov 2017 (USA) / 17th Nov 2017 (UK/EU)

Now, officially, Skyrim doesn't have a photo mode... which might be because it's a pretty old game. But you can turn off the UI and take screenshots, which is much the same thing.

Even with the Switch's limited graphical capabilities compared to other platforms, Skyrim looks bloody lovely, and it's worth the pain of turning the HUD off, taking the photo, getting attacked without being able to see your health bar, and turning it back on again.

Pikmin 3 Deluxe (Switch)

Pikmin 3 Deluxe (Switch)Pikmin 3 Deluxe (Switch)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo
Release Date: 30th Oct 2020 (USA) / 30th Oct 2020 (UK/EU)

Pikmin 3's KopPad camera let's you go all Austin Powers not only with your Pikmin pals and the various terrain you take them over, but also some of the most succulent, shiny-looking fruit in all of gaming. Seriously, we challenge you to show us a juicier-looking lemon or more delicious looking strawberry — or Sunseed Berry is you prefer — in video games. Of course you'll want to snap pics of them.

Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition (Switch)

Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition (Switch)Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition (Switch)
Publisher: Square Enix / Developer: Square Enix
Release Date: 27th Sep 2019 (USA) / 27th Sep 2019 (UK/EU)

The photo mode in Dragon Quest XI S: Unnecessarily Long Title lets you frame as many or few of you party as you like, as well as add some artistic depth-of-field (well, background blur, at least). You can reposition your people, call their attention, and pick from a variety of poses for them to strike for the camera.

The pose list includes such classics as the Wave and the Thumbs up. Alternatively there’s Dance if you want to show off. And for the more dramatic amongst you, there’s Sob and Step back – which is basically ‘startled’ – giving you a host of options for when the questing gets a bit too much and you want to crack out the Polaroid.

Control Ultimate Edition - Cloud Version (Switch eShop)

Control Ultimate Edition - Cloud Version (Switch eShop)Control Ultimate Edition - Cloud Version (Switch eShop)
Publisher: 505 Games / Developer: Remedy
Release Date: 28th Oct 2020 (USA) / 28th Oct 2020 (UK/EU)

Control's "Cloud Version" on Switch is by no means the prettiest way to play the game — all that red becomes pretty sludgy when streamed to the Switch from elsewhere, and the raytracing doesn't really work on the lower-resolution screen — but the chance to use photo mode in a game this beautiful really can't be passed up. Taking photos of the gorgeous, geometrical brutalist architecture and the weirdly beautiful anomalies is a surefire way to class up your screenshots folder.

Apparently (although who knows if this is the case on Switch) the photo mode also unlocks the frame rate, allowing you to see the game in up to 60 FPS. Cool, huh? Pretty useless unless you're Digital Foundry, but still!

Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water (Switch eShop)

Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water (Switch eShop)Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water (Switch eShop)
Publisher: Koei Tecmo / Developer: Koei Tecmo
Release Date: 28th Oct 2021 (USA) / 28th Oct 2021 (UK/EU)

Essentially an entire horror series built around a photo mode mechanic, Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water (or Project Zero in Europe) has you fighting ghosts by snapping shots of them with the Camera Obscura. Unfortunately for the characters creeping through haunted environments, this isn't simply a case of wandering around with your iPhone out like some deadly version of Pokémon GO AR — the Camera Obscura is an antique device that that's a little more cumbersome than a smartphone.

It does the job of ghostbustin' admirably, though. What can we say? The old'uns are the best'uns.

Astral Chain (Switch)

Astral Chain (Switch)Astral Chain (Switch)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: PlatinumGames
Release Date: 30th Aug 2019 (USA) / 30th Aug 2019 (UK/EU)

PlatinumGames likes its titles to be stylish, and ASTRAL CHAIN (they like the block capitals) is no different. In addition to the intense story and set-pieces the game throws up a lot of optional objectives, including some focused on your photographic flair.

Early-ish in the game you can access a camera accessible with right on the D-Pad, and it has plenty of flexibility. Beyond the basics you can switch between apertures for all sorts of neat visual effects and colour gradients. Each chapter also has Photo challenges, and completing those gets you more filters. Each 'Order' has a clue to follow, so you'll need to keep an eye out for specific items, characters or scenarios amongst all of the action.

Just keep an eye on your album though, it can only hold 36 photos!

Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Switch)

Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Switch)Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Switch)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo
Release Date: 20th Mar 2020 (USA) / 20th Mar 2020 (UK/EU)

Animal Crossing: New Horizons' photo mode was just fine at launch, with a few fun filters and the ability to capture our favourite villagers doing stupid things. Alternatively, you could go to Harv's island and get busy with amiibo — or Reese and Cyrus during Wedding Season — in the photo studio. But when the massive free 2.0 Update came out, with the addition of 'first-person' mode, selfie mode, and the beloved fish-eye filter, the photo mode went from "fine" to "incredible".

Suddenly, we were able to first-person our way through a game we knew intimately, seeing for the first time all the tiny details up-close. And selfie mode was an absolute revelation for those of us who like to "hang out" with our villagers, or take perfectly-framed photos of our interior designs. Combined with the Happy Home Paradise DLC, there was a lot to photograph, too.

ACNH Kapp'n Photobomb
Image: Nintendo Life

Now, this is by no means exhaustive, so if we've missed out any excellent photo modes in games, let us know in the comments and we might just add them. Or, just tell us what you love about taking photos in games!

This article is one of our Switch Essentials guides which cover a wide variety of genres, including the Best Switch FPS Games, the Best Switch RPGs, the Best Switch Games For Kids, the Best Switch Couch Co-Op Games and the Best Switch Fitness and Exercise Games. We can also help out hunting down the Best Switch Horror Games, the Best Switch Racing Games, the Best Switch Action-RPGs, the Best Nintendo Switch Roguelikes, Roguelites and Run-Based Games, the Best Free Switch Games, the Best Remakes And Remasters, the Best Switch Music And Rhythm Games, Best Feel-Good Switch Games, Best Switch Open-World Games, Best Switch Soulslike Games, Best LGBTQ+ Switch Games, and even Games to Play After You've Finished Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Whatever your favourite genre, we've got you covered: Strategy Games, Metroidvanias, Puzzle Games, Party Games, Online Multiplayer Games, Local Wireless Multiplayer Games, Shmups, Twin-Stick Shooters, Visual Novels, Kart Racers, Fighting Games, Football Games, Funny Games, Golf Games, 'Walking Sims' And Narrative Games, Switch Games For Lovers And Lonely Hearts, Detective Games, Hidden Gems, 2D Platformers, 3D Platformers, Puzzle Platformers, Tabletop Mode Games, Run and Gun Games, LEGO Games, Sports Games, Survival Games, Beat 'Em Ups, Camera Games, Chill Games, Family Games, Retro-Inspired Games, Short Games, Card Games and Deck-Builders, and Life Sims And Farming Games.

Still hungry for more? Elsewhere we look at Wholesome Games, TATE Mode Games, Flight Sim and Space Combat, Point and Click Adventure Games, and the Best Switch Exclusives, as well as Every Arcade Archives Game, Every ACA Neo Geo Game, Every SEGA AGES Game On Switch, plus the Best Switch Ports, Best Wii U-To-Switch Ports, Best Switch Collections And Compilations, Best Cheap Switch Games, Best Switch Demos, Games That Are Better On Switch OLED, Switch Games Under $10, $20, $50, and Switch games with the Best Soundtracks and the Best Graphics. Phew!

If you're looking for the best Switch games regardless of genre, our reader-voted selection of the Best Nintendo Switch Games should help you out, and you can also find the Best Nintendo Switch Games of 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021. And finally, if you're interested in other Nintendo consoles and retro games, check out the Best Game Boy Games, Best GBC Games, Best GBA Games, Best Nintendo DS Games, Best Nintendo 3DS Games, Best NES Games, Best SNES Games, Best N64 Games, Best GameCube Games, and Best Wii Games, and Best Wii U Games, as well as Every Available Nintendo Switch Online Retro Game, and ranked lists of Every Nintendo Switch Online NES, SNES, N64 and Sega Genesis / Mega Drive Game.