One of the pillars of New Pokemon Snap are the photos that you take, with Professor Mirror assessing and scoring your photos at the end of each course run. Before you show your photos to Professor Mirror though, you’ll first need to pick a shot from the assortment of shots you took based on their star rating.

Wondering how the game’s photos are assigned star ratings, or how to take a 4-star photo in New Pokemon Snap? Here’s what you need to know!

New Pokemon Snap | Star Rating Explained 

 
In New Pokemon Snap, photos you take are graded from 1 to 4 stars based on the rarity of the photo’s contents. A Pokemon hanging out by itself behaving normally will typically earn a lower 1-star rating, while a Pokemon doing something special will earn a higher star rating. 

As an example, the 4-star photo we took of Scorbunny was taken after throwing an Illumina Orb at Scorbunny at night. The result is Scorbunny has the ability to kick up blue flames. We took a photo right as Scorbunny was doing this, and the result was a 4-star rated photo. 

Keep in mind that while it always feels nice to get a 4-star photo, there is incentive in the game to take photos at a lower star rating as it’ll help you fill out the Pokedex page for that particular Pokemon in the game’s Photodex.

To complete a page for a Pokemon, you’ll need to have one photo at each star rating, 1 through 4.

How to Take a 4-Star Photo in New Pokemon Snap

 
You have a number of tools at your disposal to help you get a 4-star photo including Illumina Orbs, Fluffruit, and the ability to play music to wake up a Pokemon or make it dance. Music can be used at any time, not just at night to wake sleeping Pokemon.

Interacting with the map itself using Illumina Orbs and Fluffruit is also a great way to get 4-star photos. If you see a Crystabloom, it’s always worth tossing an Illumina Orb at it to see what happens.

Increasing your research level on a course is another great way to increase your chances of taking a 4-star photo. For example, with Bidoof, the 4-star photo of Bidoof happened while running through Park (Night) after increasing our research level.

As you can see in the image above, Bidoof completed its dam and if you take a photo of Bidoof in its completed dam, you’ll get a 4-star photo. The 3-star photo for Bidoof is somewhat similar.

In the Park (Night) course, you’ll see three Bidoof swimming in a row. If you throw an Illumina Orb at them, they’ll turn around and swim on their backs. 

Experimentation is key in New Pokemon Snap, so as you’re going through a course try using Fluffruit, Illumina Orbs, and activating music (even during the day) to see if Pokemon respond to it. 

To quickly recap, a 4-star photo is based off rarity with a Pokemon doing something unique and/or special earning a higher rating than a Pokemon just hanging out behaving normally.

To take a 4-star photo, you'll need to use Fluffruit, Illumina Orbs, and Music to create situations where Pokemon behave unusually. You can do this by interacting directly with Pokemon, or by interacting with things on the map like Crystablooms.

Keep an eye out for subtle changes in a course as you increase your research level, and keep an eye out for Pokemon behaving unusually in general like two Pokemon interacting with one another, or a Pokemon sleeping on top of another Pokemon.

Take as many shots as you can, don't worry about taking too many photos, and don't worry about the photos looking less than perfect as you can always go back in and take the photo again once you know where the 4-star photo opportunity is.

Related: New Pokemon Snap | How Many Courses Are There?