Pokemon GO Guide: How To Take AR Photos

As an avid Pokemon GO player and photographer with over 5 years of experience playing the game, I’m excited to provide this comprehensive guide on how to take amazing AR photos in Pokemon GO.


Pokemon GO first introduced the AR (Augmented Reality) camera feature in 2018, allowing players to take pictures of their Pokemon in the real world. This opened up creative opportunities for photography within the game.

In 2019, Pokemon GO upgraded the AR camera to AR+, integrating Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore technology for enhanced realism. This feature anchors Pokemon to real-world surfaces, with awareness of the player’s movement.

While AR+ gives easier access to advanced photography, any player can take great AR shots with practice and creativity! In this guide, I’ll cover tips, tricks, and best practices for excellent Pokemon GO photography using regular AR mode or AR+.

Preparing Your Device

To start, ensure AR mode works properly on your device:

  • iOS devices require iOS 11 and higher
  • Android devices require ARCore support

Enable the AR camera in Settings. An iPhone 7 or newer is recommended for best performance. Avoid low light when possible, as the camera needs good visibility.

Composition Basics

When composing photos, consider the following:

Does the Pokémon Fit the Scene?

  • Background: Choose interesting backdrops that make sense for the Pokémon. For example, water or grass types may suit nature landscapes.
  • Foreground: Use objects in front of the Pokémon to frame the shot or show size contrast. Position the Pokémon behind leaves, rocks, fences or other items.

Is the Pokémon Scaled Appropriately?

  • In regular AR mode, you can leverage perspective and distance to control apparent size. Spawn Pokémon farther back, then walk nearer your desired spot to shrink it down optically.
  • In AR+, Pokémon remain fixed at their spawned size. Carefully choose the spawn location to suit your shot setup.

Advanced Photography Tips

Use Pokémon Animations

  • Each Pokémon has various idle animations and attack movements. Time your shots around these for added dynamism.
  • In regular AR mode, remain still after spawning a Pokémon. It will cycle through animations, allowing you to snap shots with action.
  • In AR+, you must slowly approach the Pokémon until just before it flees to provoke animation. This takes patience but allows excellent action images!

Leverage Props and Scenes

Creative use of real-world items and environments can produce truly unique conceptual shots. For example:

  • Position near food items to seem as though the Pokémon will eat them
  • Place next to toys or figures to imply interaction
  • Use weather elements like rain or snow
  • Leverage holidays like Halloween or Christmas

The possibilities are endless – let your imagination run wild!

Taking the Shot

When ready to photograph, tap the camera button. I recommend taking multiple shots to choose the best frame later. Change up angles, distances and use of props/scenes between shots.

After finishing, exit the AR camera to automatically save your shots to the in-game gallery. From there you can share photos directly to social media or other apps.

Smeargle Photobombs

On occasion, the rare Pokémon Smeargle may photobomb your AR shots! Two versions of the photo will save – one with Smeargle, one without.

After viewing the photobomb picture in your gallery, a Smeargle will also spawn on the map for you to catch. For some events, photobombing is the only way to catch certain Pokémon!

Practice Makes Perfect!

With these tips you now know the basics of excelling at Pokemon GO photography using AR mode. It may take some experimentation at first to get comfortable. Don’t get discouraged!

The more you practice, the better your shots will become. Study other people’s photos for inspiration, then replicate and iterate new ideas at your own pace. Share your favorite shots online with the #GOsnapshot hashtag for potential features.

Soon you’ll be snapping shots that make people go “Wow!” Have fun on your Pokémon photography journey! As your skills improve, you may even consider participating in Niantic’s official AR photo contests!

About the Author

I’m a passionate Pokémon GO player from Los Angeles who loves photography in my free time. I’ve honed my AR photo skills in the game over years of world exploration catching Pokémon. Helping fellow players learn these methods to take their best shots brings me great joy. If you have any other questions, feel free to contact me!