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9 essential tips for getting started in New Pokémon Snap

Photography and your favorite Pocket Monsters are back together again with the release of New Pokémon Snap, the long-awaited successor to Pokémon Snap from the Nintendo 64. Players can once again take pictures of their favorite Pokémon in the wild in a peaceful environment, free from battles.

There is more to getting that perfect shot than just pointing a camera, however. Here are the tips and tricks you need to get started in New Pokémon Snap.

Further reading

Understanding research points

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To advance in New Pokémon Snap, you will need to accumulate research points, which advance your Research Level. Increasing the Research Level changes the behavior of the Pokémon in an area, often increasing their number or making them less shy — and leading to better photo opportunities, of course. It is also how you unlock additional levels and progress within the game, and important if you want to find all of the legendary Pokémon.  

After each expedition, the pictures you take will be rated and given scores. The total is then added to your Research Level for that area, similar to experience points in other games, eventually leading to Research Level increases.  

Stars and scores

New Pokémon Snap Wailord Picture Point Total
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There are two types of ratings in New Pokémon Snap. The points score is based on the overall quality of the photo; centering your subject, filling the frame, pose, and other similar factors all contribute to the points score, which directly feeds into your research level.  

Star rating is determined by the quality of the moment you capture, and ranges from one to four stars. A normal picture is one star. An action, such as eating, is generally good for two stars, while a more unique behavior might be three or four stars. 

Your goal is two-fold: Collect pictures at each of the four possible star ratings for every Pokémon, and try to ensure each of those pictures has the highest score possible.  

Plan for multiple visits

New Pokémon Snap Level Select
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Each time you visit a new level for the first time, every Pokémon will contribute to your research score, even if you took their picture in the other levels. The camera can take 72 pictures, so be aggressive and snap them up. Scan frequently and try to make note of where the Pokémon spend their time. This will help you know where to look on future runs to increase your score.  You aren’t going to get a perfect snap of each Pokémon in one run — focus on nailing a couple each run.

On repeat visits, you want to focus on filling out all the star ratings of each Pokémon. To find different Pokémon, it is often worth checking out what is happening behind your vehicleListen carefully as you go, since Pokémon will often call out from hidden areas or when performing interesting actions that could land you a higher star rating.  

Shooting for the highest score

New Pokémon Snap Squirtle Picture
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Taking high-scoring pictures can be easy if you know what to look for. Size can contribute up to 2,000 points to your total and is largely determined by your timing and framing. Focus on filling the frame with the Pokémon without zooming in so far that parts of the image are cut out. Centering the subject to the frame using the cursor affects the placement score, which can contribute up to another 1,000 points.  

Other categories are harder to control and may seem a bit more random. Pose is determined by the action of the Pokémon. The Other Pokémon category is a combination of the number of Pokémon being photographed and how well they are framed. Background is based on the setting and what is happening behind the Pokémon you are snapping. 

If you focus on the things that are in your control, size, and framing, and don’t overthink the other elements, then you will reliably pull in high scores for your pictures.  

Selecting pictures

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After each expedition, you are given a folder for each Pokémon. You will then choose which photograph you want to submit for rating. It may be tempting to always select the pictures with the highest star rating, but that is not necessarily the best idea. Replacing a three-star picture with another will not contribute as many points as adding a new one-star picture, for example.  

When Professor Mirror rates pictures of a star rating you already have then he will make note of which picture is worth more. If the new picture is worth more, then the difference is added to your research total. You are given the choice of which picture to keep, but you won’t lose any points if you replace a higher-scoring picture with a lower-scoring one, so feel free to keep whichever you like best.  

Advance the story to unlock items

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There are several items you are given throughout the game that affect the behavior of Pokémon and help you to unlock some of the three- and four-star behaviors. These are given to you as you progress through the story. It may be tempting to try and grind up your research level in the early zones before advancing, but you are much better off focusing on advancement until you have these extra tools.  

The items you unlock have unlimited uses, so feel free to spam your scanner, throw barrages of fruit, etc. The exact way they affect Pokémon varies, so experiment and see what happens. Don’t be afraid to throw the fruit at Pokémon; they (the fruit) are soft and won’t hurt anybody.  

Adjust the controls

New Pokémon Snap Control Customization
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In New Pokémon Snap, controlling your aim, taking shots, and deploying the occasional item to lure Pokémon are key elements to getting that perfect shot. The default controls are simple but, with a few simple swaps, can be optimized for much better performance. 

First, consider changing to a control scheme that moves the shutter button from A to ZR. Doing so will allow you to keep your right thumb on the thumbstick, which controls your aim, while still taking photos. This makes it much easier to take pictures of moving targets.  

Next, consider increasing the camera and pointer speed. By default, these are set to a low setting, making it challenging to move from one Pokémon to another for pictures. Increasing both of those values even a few points will enable you to quickly move from point to point to capture the best pictures.  

Find new paths

New Pokémon Snap Branching Path Example
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Many levels have branching paths, giving you access to different angles and new Pokémon to photograph. Some of these are accessed by using your scanner. First, tap the scan button to uncover a point of interest. Arrows at the bottom of the screen will point you where to aim. Once you have the point of interest centered to your camera, hold the scan button, and your vehicle will automatically follow the new path.  

In some cases, you will need to interact with Pokémon to find a different path. Certain Pokémon require playing music, while others need you to distract them with fruit or illuminate them with the illumina orbs. In many cases, it comes down to trial and error, so don’t be afraid to redo the same expedition multiple times to find all the hidden pathways.  

Complete LenTalk requests

New Pokémon Snap LenTalk Requests
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LenTalk requests are bonus objectives provided by the other characters in New Pokémon Snap. Some of these requests come with stickers or other small rewards, but the real value is in star ratings. Many of these requests result in three- and four-star pictures, which can be difficult to come by.  

To see what requests are available, press Y at the home screen while you are at the research station and select All Requests. As you unlock more research levels, the number of requests will increase, so be sure to check back often.  

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Justin Koreis
Justin is a freelance writer with a lifelong love of video games and technology. He loves writing about games, especially…
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