Photo Mode allows players to take in-game photos of anything in the game, whether that be a car (or a group of cars), the track, or any scenery. It appears in all Forza titles since Forza Motorsport 3.
Photo Mode can be accessed while the game is paused or in a Forzavista mode. In Forza Horizon games from Forza Horizon 2 onwards, holding up on the D-pad while driving brings up Photo Mode, but only during single player or a replay.
The buttons on the controller do their respective functions:
- Left Stick: Moves the camera around in any direction. The player can only go a certain distance from their car (in any direction) before hitting an invisible wall that prevents the camera from going further.
- Right Stick: Changes the pitch and turning angle of the camera. The maximum pitch is 85° downwards.
- D-pad Up/Down: Zooms in and out. Minimum zoom is x0.5 and maximum zoom is x20.0.
- D-pad Left/Right: Tilts to the left and right. The tilt value can be from 0.0° to 180.0° and vice versa, also with a negative value.
- Left Bumper: In the Forza Horizon series, resets cosmetic damage on the player's vehicle. In Motorsport games from Forza Motorsport 6, toggles car lights on and off and may sometimes alter the appearance of active rear wings as well. In post-November 3, 2017 builds of Forza Motorsport 7, Left Bumper now changes the position of the watermark while in Effects Mode.
- Left Trigger and Right Trigger: Changes the elevation of the camera. Minimum elevation is ground level, while maximum elevation is usually 6.6 feet (2 meters). In the Forza Horizon games, this maximum elevation can be raised further in high areas (e.g. the bridges in Yarra Valley or when the player is airborne while at high altitudes).
- Right Bumper: After taking the photo, changes the position of the watermark. Can only be done from Forza Horizon 2 onwards. In post-November 3, 2017 builds of Forza Motorsport 7, this button also resets cosmetic damage on the player's vehicle, but only if the photo hasn't been taken yet. In Effects Mode, Right Bumper changes the vignette style.
- Window: Hides the Photo Mode UI.
- A: Takes the photo.
- B: Exits Photo Mode.
- X: Focuses on the object at which the camera is aimed. In Effects Mode, reverts all settings to default.
- Y: Enters Effects Mode, where the player can adjust many values, ranging from brightness to contrast, exposure, etc.
In Effects Mode, the player can adjust many values, including:
- Shutter Speed: The time for which the camera's shutter is open. Having it set to 0 causes the photo to look as though the car is standing still when it actually is still in motion (if it is).
- Focus: Determines how much focus the camera will put on the centered/focused object.
- Aperture: Determines the opening of a lens's diaphragm through which light passes. Also determines background blur based on where the camera is focused.
- Exposure: The amount of light per unit area (image plane luminance times exposure time).
- Contrast: Scale of difference between black and white in the picture. Greater settings allow for more color variety.
- Color: Color strength of the photo. Setting this to 0 allows for black-and-white (B&W) photos.
- Brightness: The light brightness of the photo.
- Sepia: A form of photographic toning that gives black-and-white images a brownish color.
- Vignette: Reduces the image's brightness or saturation around the image periphery. There are three styles of vignette.
- Water on Lens: Only in Motorsport games from Forza Motorsport 6 onwards. Allows water droplets to be displayed on the screen.
- Main article: Photo Mode/Presets
When a player shares a photo, all of their shared photos are saved to their forzamotorsport.net gallery. To help other players find a photo better, the photo can be given a new title, along with the make and model primarily featured in the photo, two keywords (one for photo type, another for purpose), and an optional description. The player can have up to 100 photos saved on their account for each game, after which the player will be forced to delete or overwrite old photos in order to make room for new ones.
However, when sharing a photo, one must refrain from putting inappropriate content in the photo's name or description, as certain words are blocked by the Content Filter. Sometimes, though, the Content Filter may be too strict and even block perfectly innocuous material, such as certain liveries that otherwise do not have any inappropriate content/decals. In that case, on Xbox One games (except the backwards-compatible Forza Horizon, where parts of the UI remain even as the others are hidden by the player, and Forza Motorsport 5, where the camera's aiming reticule stays intact even if the UI is hidden), the player can stay in Photo Mode with the UI hidden and take a screenshot by pressing the Home button on their controller and pressing Y, and then uploading that screenshot to OneDrive or saving it from the Xbox App. The result, though, is not a JPG format image, but instead a perfect quality, lossless PNG format image that also lacks the logo watermark except in Forza Motorsport 6 and Forza Motorsport 7, where the former game displays a white Forza Motorsport logo at the top right corner of the screen and the latter game displays its own logo at a place of the player's choosing. On Windows 10, the player can also take a screenshot while in Photo Mode with the UI hidden, and the result is the same as on the Xbox One, albeit with a resolution dependent on the user's current screen resolution. Raw images and captures are usually found in the Captures folder located in the user's Videos folder.
Since Forza Motorsport 5, photos can be shared without having to sign up for Xbox Live Gold. Photos done through the Game DVR function can be shared to Xbox Live.
Shared photos feature either their game's logo or a watermark version of it. From Forza Horizon 2 and post-November 3, 2017 Forza Motorsport 7 onwards, upon taking a photo and before saving and sharing it, pressing Right Bumper (or Left Bumper in the latter game) changes the location of the watermark.
- Main article: Horizon Promo
Introduced in Forza Horizon 2 as an unlockable Perk, Horizon Promo allows players to take photos of cars (including traffic cars) for the Horizon Festival and profit from doing so in the process. For every new car pictured, the player earns 1,000 CR. Whenever a number of cars in a row (usually every 20th car, and then every 10th car) is pictured, the player gains a CR bonus. An additional Perk allows players to distinguish captured cars from uncaptured cars, with the latter having a camera icon above them. However, this doesn't apply to traffic vehicles.
Note that in order for a car to be successfully pictured, it must be clearly visible. Once the car has been pictured, the player earns the CR bonus for picturing the car and that car cannot be pictured again. The player will be notified with the message "No new cars in shot." if their picture contains no unpictured Horizon Promo cars.
Shared photos are always in JPG format and of a 16:9 aspect ratio. In Xbox 360 games, the resolution of the photos is 1280x720 (0.92 MP), although there can be much larger photos known as Big Shots. In Xbox One games, the photo resolution becomes 1920x1080 (2.07 MP). Photos screenshotted through Xbox One are perfect quality, loss-less PNG images, but this comes at the expense of a high file size.
In Forza Motorsport 6: Apex, shared photos are much larger, reaching as far as 2560x1440 (3.69 MP).
- In Forza Motorsport 7, taking a photo for the first time unlocks the Paparazzi achievement.