Make Epic Game Photos with Forza Horizon 5

Forza Horizon 5 photo mode is one of the best in-game photo modes around. Follow this beginners tutorial as we take you through step by step how to achieve the best results.

What do you need to get started?

So let’s first have a quick chat about what you need to get up and running. First of all, I will be running the PC version of Forza Horizon 5. You can purchase this through Steam or the official Microsoft Store. I’m also using a standard Xbox control pad to navigate through the game but you can easily do this with your keyboard and mouse. The PC I’m running the game on is a mid/high spec tower unit with an Intel Core i7 10th Gen and an NVIDIA 3070 Graphics card.

How to Download Forza Horizon 5

Download Forza Horizon 5 from Steam or the Microsoft Store. The download is a fairly hefty one so be prepared to wait for a little. I have the game installed an SSD drive. This had no performance gain in-game but just boots up quicker. Install the game and let Windows run through the installation process. This can take up to 10 mins in my experience.

steam screenshot

When you first launch Forza Horizon 5 you will be greeted by some introduction screens then guided through the first 5-10 mins of play. It’s important to note that during this time you will not be able to start with your virtual photography just yet. Just follow through and adhere to the instructions given from the game. You will shortly find yourself in free roam mode.

Adjusting your Video Settings

 The first thing I would advise you to do is play the game with the default settings to see if you’re getting a smooth game experience. If you are experiencing smooth gameplay it’s time to try turning up your graphical settings to gain the most out of the visuals.

Video Settings Forza Horizon 5 Virtual Photography

  • Press [ESC]
  • Navigate to the [Video] tab
  • Make sure [Resolution] Matches your native monitor
  • Turn [Frame Rate] to [30FPS]
  • Change [Motion Blur] to [Long]
forza horizon 5 game screen

Adjusting your Graphics Settings

  • From the same menu navigate to [Graphics]
  • Start with the [Preset] on [High]
  • If you still experience smooth gameplay go back and turn it up one
  • If you experience poor gameplay turn the [Preset] back to [Medium]
forza horizon 5 game screen

So you get what we’re trying to do? We’re making sure you’re running the highest resolution at a lower frame rate, which will, in theory, will allow you to run Forza Horizon 5’s graphics settings higher than you normally would. In my experience, there is little to be gained by running anything more than the [High] preset. But if you have a powerful enough PC, why not!

Creating a Composition

Now it’s time to get creative and hit the road! There are various ways to approach this but in this situation, I want to talk about backlighting. Backlighting is when the sun or the main light source is behind the subject. Forza Horizon 5’s lighting effects are amazing and one way to really show this off with all the flare and bloom effects is to set up a backlit shot.



I usually wait for low light situations within the free roam game. A full day/night cycle as far as I can tell is around 90 mins. So you have to drive around, and as soon as you see the sunlight get low in the sky it’s time to get photo mode out.

Enter photo Mode in Forza Horizon 5

To enter photo mode in Forza Horizon 5 you must hold [UP] Control Pad (CP) or if you want to use a keyboard (KB) you can press [P] Key. This will launch you into the Forza Horizon photo mode.

How to Frame Up Your Shot

So you’ve driven around, picked out a great spot for a photograph and waited for the right light. It’s time to position your car. You’ll want to position your car in such a way that your background elements are where you want them to be while also having the sun or light behind the car. This will create a deep ground shadow casting towards the camera. Now hit enter [Photo Mode] by hitting [P] (KB) or pressing [UP] (CP).



Try to move the camera around [arrow keys] (KB) and adjust your field of view [mouse scroll] to give you some light flare and bloom effects across the top and rear side of the car. I often like to get the camera low to the ground to give a superhero/dramatic style effect to the car.




Using the Forza Horizon 5 Effects Mode

Depending on how deep your shadows are you can use the [Exposure] setting to adjust the brightness of your image. When creating an image with strong backlighting I like to let the sky blow out a little (over exposed). Don’t be afraid push up the exposure (brightness). You can do this by pressing [Y] (KB) and then adjusting the exposure to suit. 

If you are trying to convey speed on your shot you can adjust the [shutter speed] within the [effects mode]. I usually like to start with something around 60-70 but that’s just a personal preference and it completely depends on how much motion blur you would like to show. Shutter speed can be adjusted from 0-100). 0 will freeze all motion and 100 will allow the most motion blur to the surrounding elements. 

At this point you should also make sure you set you sampling on [quality] for the best possible output.

There are other custom filters in here but I’m not going to go through them  as I want to concentrate on the few things that will make the biggest difference to your overall shot and at the same time keep things simple.

Now all we need to do is click [enter] (KB) or [A] (CP) to take your shot. Wait a few seconds while the image renders. If you’re happy with the final result press [enter] (KB) CP (CP) to save the image which will now be accessible from the creative hub in the photo gallery section.

forza horizon5 blog post

And that’s it. That’s the entire process of taking automotive images inside of Forza Horizon 5. Don’t be too worried if you don’t get great shots every time. For every keeper I have there’s 10 that go in the bin. It’s all about practising, having fun and developing your virtual photo skills within the game.