How to Become a Better Photographer in Forza

Forza is not only know for being the ultimate Xbox racing game. It's also known for its advanced photo mode, which also got upgraded in Forza Horizon 4. Being a professional photographer in Forza may seem tricky, but it's much simpler than you think it is.

How To Become a Better Photographer In Forza

Photographing in Forza is challenging. It’s almost like taking a photo in real life. Realistic lightning and in-depth photo settings make it somewhat tricky to capture that perfect shot. That’s why I’m going to give you advice on how to improve your photography skills. It’s mostly about self learning but you must realise the fact that it takes a very long time to improve. It’s nothing that happens overnight. But once you learn the technique, you will find it much easier.

Environment

Bugatti Divo crashing into fence

Bugatti Divo crashing into fence

The main focus is the car, but it’s not the only thing people focus on. What would my photo above be without those beautiful mountains? It gives a much greater aura. Especially in Forza, a photo within nature usually looks better than in a tunnel. A tunnel does not have any beautiful walls and they’re very colourless. Colourful and detailed pictures are attractive. I think we all can agree on that. Since the Forza Horizon series offers beautiful nature, why not take advantage of it? Especially at lakes, you can experiment with reflections.

In the Forza Motorsport franchise, it might be slightly more difficult because these games are track focused, not open world. Then it would be a great opportunity to take inspiration from real life Motorsport. No one restricts you to take a photo of one car only. It could be 5 or 10 in a single photo. Although, it does not have much nature in it, Forza Motorsport is definitely the game for people who want to capture close-ups of the cars. My recommendation for close-ups are race cars. They are the most detailed cars because they contain plenty of visible components. 

Photo settings

The upgraded photo settings in Forza Horizon 4

The upgraded photo settings in Forza Horizon 4

Photo settings is a key to realism, as you can adjust the effects. Probably the most important step when capturing that perfect shot. Once you’ve found that angle, it’s only the small adjustments that remain – it’s the small adjustments that matter the most. As you can see above, those are the settings I would use for a Winter environment. Those must be adjusted depending on whether it’s a close-up shot and where light hits. Personally, I would prefer the light to hit on the side. Then you have a dark and a bright side of the car. It’s always fun playing around with the lightning. I’m always trying to avoid taking pictures facing from the sun. That means no shadows or reflections.

So, what settings should you normally use? Well, no one can answer that question because it all depends on what angle of the car you capture the photo and the lighting, of course. You can actually play with the settings however you want, but I’d be careful with shutter speed and the brightness. Those two options can make the photos appear very bizarre in some cases. You may wonder why my stutter speed is 100. It does not give any effect at all when you stand still. I’m gonna explain below what all these settings mean:

  • Stutter speed – Controls how much motion is shown in a photo
  • Focus mode – Focus on a specific area within the photo
  • Focus – Shows a focus ring when you press the X button
  • Exposure – The light level within the photo
  • Aperture – Controls foreground/background blur
  • Bokeh shape – Shape of the blur
  • Sampling – Slightly sharpen the background blur
  • Contrast – Adjusts the difference between darks and lights within the photo
  • Colour – The colour saturation within the photo
  • Brightness – The overall brightness within the photo
  • Sepia – Adds a warm tone to the photo
  • Vignette – Reduces the image’s brightness or saturation around an image’s corners
  • Temperature – Makes the picture appear warm/cold

Angle

Rear angle of two American muscles

Rear angle of two American muscles

During all 8 years I have played Forza, I usually see that players tend to use very similar angles, often from the front-left side of the car. It’s not a bad angle because it’s, obviously, the most beautiful side of a car. But there’s so many unique angles to capture a photo of a car. Close-ups are very underrated, which is a shame, since Forza has very detailed vehicles. Their laser scanning shows precise measurements and months of work have been put into details. Close-ups are, to me, more difficult and needs a bit more time of editing the settings. It probably requires an increase of sharpness. Unfortunately, you can not change the sharpness in Forza, which means you have to experiment a bit with the focus and aperture.

Photoshop

People usually think Photoshop is a key factor to a better looking photos. No, not necessarily. I’d rather call that cheating because in Photoshop you can add objects or remove objects from the picture. For those who have experience with Photoshop, it might help, but it’s difficult since it is fairly complicated. It is possible to get a good-looking photo without using an editing program because the Forza photo mode is advanced enough. 

Forza Horizon 4 | Series 27 - 2018 Formula Drift #64 Nissan 370Z

In conclusion, it requires practice and patience. Not every photo will turn out perfect. It took me about 30 minutes and at least 10 attempts to capture that picture with two American muscle cars. While that took around 30 minutes, my photo of the Bugatti took approximately 30 seconds. I did not even move the camera a tiny bit. I thought it was perfect as it was. But that’s the struggle every photographer faces.

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