Take beautiful screenshots with PC’s best built-in photo modes

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Take beautiful screenshots with PC’s best built-in photo modes

There are countless ways to take beautiful screenshots of PC games, whether it’s typing in console commands, editing .ini files, using Cheat Engine tables created by virtual photographers, or injectors like Matti Hietanen’s superb Cinematic Tools. But if, for whatever reason, you can’t or don’t want to use external software like this, there are a few games with powerful photo modes conveniently built in. Here are some of our favourites.

Grand Theft Auto 5

Director Mode lets you travel instantly around the game’s enormous map, set the time of day, change the weather, and choose which character model you want to control. Then you can take recorded clips into the Rockstar Editor and manipulate the camera to get the perfect shot.

It’s geared towards making movies, but works well as a screenshot tool. The depth of field function is particularly useful, allowing you to take some impressively realistic photos of Los Santos and beyond. Try taking some shots in the rain: the weather effects are stunning.

 Mad Max

Avalanche’s underrated Mad Max game has a great photo mode, accessed during play through the pause menu. Its sweeping, gorgeous wasteland is perfect for post-apocalyptic landscape photography, or you can pause during a fight or car chase to capture dramatic action shots.

You can tweak depth of field and field of view via a handy slider when composing your shots, although the interface is slightly clunky. The exposure setting is great for adjusting the light if it’s too dark or the sun’s too bright, and the world is surprisingly pretty for a bleak desert.

 Elite Dangerous

Access the Camera Suite in Frontier’s space sim, which can be bound to a button of your choosing, and you’re given control of the camera. Not only is this great for checking out your ship in third-person, but it also lets you take screenshots of the game’s gorgeous galaxy.

The controls are weird—the camera moves with a momentum similar to your ship—but when you get to grips with it, it’s the best way to admire the stars, stations, and planets that litter the cosmos. It also makes you realise how incredibly small your ship is in all this vastness.