Things that can be improved in the photo mode

  • Thread starter cosme
Russian immigrant
Hey everyone! I made this post on reddit and I'm going to also post it here.

I'm an avid user of photo modes in different games. Racing games are probably my favourite genre for this, so I spend a lot of time making shots in Forza Horizon titles. After hundreds of hours in FH4 and the announcement of FH5 I was really hoping that the devs would bring the photo mode up to the standard set by some other racing and open-world games. Unfortunately, the photo mode in FH5 is the same as it was before. It is still more than sufficient to make some breathtaking shots which has been proved by many shots on different social platforms. However, coming from other games I just can't shake the feeling that the photo mode in Forza Horizon 5 lags behind somehow. So I decided to make an extensive list of improvements that can make the difference in hopes that the devs can see what can be improved, if not in FH5 then in FH6 or the next Forza Motorsport title. The reason for making this post is a sincere desire to make this aspect of the game better. This is not a critical post but more of a "things I'd love to see" post. I think this can also be a great place to discuss different aspects of the photo mode in general and share your thoughts on what can be improved.


Right now the focusing is pretty straight forward but also rather simplistic. You have a large circle in the middle of the screen, and each time you want to refocus you need to recompose your image so that the car is in focus, and then recompose your shot again to the way you want it to be. So unless your car is always right in the middle of the screen you always have to move the camera to your car and then back. Not too much of a trouble for a single shot, but if you want to take a series of photos from different angles and distances you'll need to do this quite often.
But there is another issue with the focusing. When you zoom closely to capture those nice details like headlights, logos and other things and focus with the aperture settings set to around 30 or higher, your focus will often miss. Not by much, but when you are using such a large circle to focus on such tiny details it misses and it is noticeable.
So what can be a solution here? There are actually two.
  • A sticky autofocus - you select the focus point with a cursor-like square. Once you focused on a particular part of a car it will always be in focus until you change it. You can move the camera any way you want, and the car will always be in focus. This is similar to how focusing is implemented in Gran Turismo Sport
  • Choosing the focal plane - in this option you select the distance from the camera to the object which should be in focus. It is similar to the focus slider in FH5 in general, but this slider is very basic and doesn't work for close zoomed in shots because the steps are too big to get tiny details in focus. One of the best implementations of this feature can be found in Driveclub and Dirt 5, where you can position the focal plane with extreme precision. Moreover, you can actually see where exactly the focal plane is which is a great help


Ok, so there are filters in Forza Horizon 5 but I'd actually avoid calling them that. For me, a filter is a visual effect which cannot be replicated by the photo mode settings and which doesn't affect the settings. In FH5 you can switch to different presets of settings but that's exactly what they are - settings. They don't give you a special look like some filters can give you. A good photo mode doesn't only feature a list of filters but actually gives you an option to adjust their strength. I'll also add frames with different aspect ratios here which can help to frame your shot better. I like wide aspect ratios like 21:9 so it would be great to have these things in game to compose the shots better.

Changing time of day & spotlight​

This feature is implemented in many open world games, and I don't see why Forza Horizon 5 can't be among them. Especially since the time of day already changes in the photo mode (thanks to the bug), we just don't have an option to control it.
Having an ability to place a spotlight sounds like a minor feature but sometimes it makes all the difference between "it's just a screen from a game" and "I was sure this was real life!". This is already implemented in games like Spider-Man, Dirt 5 and many more.
A note that both of these features can be customised in blueprints but I still believe that there is a huge difference in making a special set for your car and adjusting these settings in a matter of seconds.

Photo sharing​

I'm pretty sure I made thousands of shots in Forza Horizon games. How many of them did I share in the game? I guess about five.
The problem I have with sharing is that I need to decide which shot I want to share right when I take them. If I don't share them then, I lose the option to share them forever. Uploading shots also takes time so sharing every shot is not a solution. I think having a dedicated in-game album where all your shots are stored can really help with this. You can access it at any moment and choose which shot you want to share. Once again, this is how this feature is implemented in Gran Turismo Sport.

Aperture and shutter speed values​

This one may be nitpicky but I strongly believe that aperture and shutter speed sliders should feature real life values and not just abstract 1-100. There is really no need to have 100 values for aperture when 25 values from f1.4 to f22 is more than enough. The same goes for shutter speed. You might think that replacing one hundred of values with just a quarter of that is counterintuitive, but this will actually help with navigating these sliders faster. There is a reason why these settings are not marked 1-100 on real life cameras.

Adjusting car position​

Ok, so this one is a huge ask and unlike other features I listed here this one wasn't implemented in any racing game I played with an exception of Gran Turismo Sport Scapes mode. Still, adjusting car position or at least turning wheels and opening doors/hoods like in Forza Vista would be a great QOL improvement.


I think these are all the improvements I could think of. I don't expect developers to make all of these options happen in the near future, this is more of a wish list for some of the future titles in the series. Feel free to share your feedback and features you want to see in the photo mode!
Good list, let me add some;

Set headlights from OFF - DRL - ON. Sometimes we want only drls, sometimes full headlights on.

Save settings. FM4 kind of had that, you could change settings and when you leave photo mode it did ask if you want to save them or not.

Few different aspect ratios. Even GT4 does have this.

Let us go inside cars. Car hitboxes in photomode are unnecessary.

Forzavista models in photo mode. Best lod and openable doors. In FH3 Dev build it was possible, didn't see any problems with it.

Freeroam without drivatars. Drivatars are annoying, especially when taking photos.

Simulated polarizing filters. I guess this is too much and impossible but it would be nice.
Last edited:
I'm not a photographer but legitimate and constructive criticism such as this is always welcome.