Page 1

cover photo credits clockwise from top left

BerryPie Umi Jmelo Jmelo Umi AsiaShaMecca BryonyRae AsiaShaMecca

inside cover - Bzanna



ith so many challenges in the Sims community the competition is fierce so we wanted to prepare a set of tutorials to help you create the best photos possible. Follow these tips and you will be sure to receive higher ratings and a better chance at winning! At Simatography we have many helpful mentors and members that can give you feedback and help you improve your photos. Drop by and ask for some help. Try joining a Shutterbugs Showcase challenge for more practice to improve your skills.

table of contents 6

Camera Basics and Cheats


Screenshots vs Photographs


Creating a Photo Set




Getting Some Action


Stop Action Photography


Exploring Camera Angles


Off With Their Heads


Working with Multiple Sims






Camera Mode Basics


tips and

Once you have set up your photo hit the TAB to get to Camera Mode. You will notice that your camera moves more freely so you can take photos from almost any angle.

All tutorials here are based on t using Camera Mode

Don’t just move the arrow keys and your mouse. Use these keys too‌

Though mods may have been use photos, no mods were used to c tutoria

Q and E to move camera up and down W and S to move forward and backward Z and X to zoom in and out shift + A or D to tilt the camera right or left


d cheats

the assumption that you are and basic cheats.

ed in some of the contributed create the photos used in the als.

Cheats Mode Hold Ctrl + Shift + C to open the cheats line at the top of your screen. Type the text exactly as below.

TestingCheatsEnabled true Allows other commands to become available. After you have typed this, go back and type‌

buydebug You will see new items available in buy mode - there are some good props here to help you create actions.

MoveObjects on DisableSnappingToSlotsOnAlt on These two allow you to move objects and Sims to your liking.

HideHeadlineEffects on Removes thought bubbles and plumbobs

Screenshots vs Photographs


ims 3 presents us with so many possibilities for fun screenshots - we follow our Sim around town with our sim-camera at the ready, snapping photos of the action along the way. You will definitely build up a gallery of fun game memories this way.


hen you are in a competition however, submitting screenshots often leads to quick elimination. Why? Many reasons really. Competition is fierce and the winning photos are usually the ones that stand out as being unique. Random screenshots are not often very artistic or creative; Sims don’t always end up in just the right position for a great photo, game-generated Sims don’t have great fashion sense, lighting is usually horrible, and the backgrounds are not always the best for making great photos.


eeping all of this in mind, the purpose of this tips booklet is to help you learn to take better photographs, and leave the screenshots behind (most of the time).


reating a great Sims p time and patience, bu

Step 1 - build a photo set with att

Step 2 - dress up your Sims to sui

Step 3 - set your Sims to action th

Step 4 - using the cheat “MoveOb

the approximate position

Step 5 - set your camera angles u

Step 6 - reposition your Sims unti Screenshots of new features get us excited, but do they pass the test when it comes to challenges? This screen shot of a band is too dark - the lighting is dark and unflattering, you can’t see the Sims very well and the piano player is blocked, they have poor fashion sense, and the Sim in front that is watching them is a distraction.

the way you want them,

process. Use stop-action

perfect expressions and p

photo can take quite a bit of ut the result will be worth it.

ttention to detail

it the theme

hen pause to hold them there

bjects on� move the Sims into

n you want them in

using Camera Mode

til you get them framed just taking photos during the

n photography to get the

poses - see page 20

We followed the steps listed and created a photo with better lighting, Sims that shine and a star subject positioned in the front. Each of the Sims can be clearly seen and the set was decorated especially for this scene. If you don’t like the music notes there are even mods that you can install to make then disappear - you will find a list on the last page.

Generic settings make generic phot and

Generic = Boring and Lifeless

turn this...


ne of the things that judges will look for in photo-based Sims contests is the setting that the photo was taken in. If you really want to grab the attention of the judges and fans be sure to take some time to make a unique setting with attention to details

Creating a Photo Set into this!



Step 1

Step 2

Once you have decided on a theme for the photo find the location and start setting up. In this case, for our swimwear photo we decided to set it against a tropical sunset so the first step was to locate the sunset and mark it with some hills on the terrain.

Don’t forget to consider what is outside of the lot you are working on. In this case we used the town editor tools to place stones and palm trees in our line of sight so that the background would be filled in and pretty too.

Step 3 Work just on the section of the lot you will use for your photo - as you can see on the right, we transformed just a small section of the lot on the beach that was already in the game. Pay attention to details and take your time. Move things around, and see how they look from the angle that you might photograph from. Try different things to see what works best. This set took about 1 hour to create. Some contest winners will tell you that it takes them 1 to 4 hours to create the perfect set. Taking your time to create a unique setting is one of the keys to getting your photos noticed.

P Tips for Photos in Public Places You cannot build or add lighting on a community lot while your Sim is there being photographed. You can get around this by turning the community lot into a residential lot then have your Sim move in. Once your Sim lives there you can build and move lighting around while you are photographing for that perfect pic in the park or around town.


aying attention to the lighting in your darker scenes is absolutely crucial. Look at what you see demonstrated here. Without added lighting the shadows are too heavy and your Sim cannot be seen well. It is obvious in the two examples on the right that adding just the right lighting can make your Sim come to life. I don’t think we need to give you a step by step instruction on this one. The photos along the bottom should make it clear. The lights shown are the most popular as they direct light well, but experiment with different lights including ceiling and wall mounted lights for different effects.


Getting So

ctions and poses can really make movements that our Sims do when stand can work at times, but if you really wan There are many items in the game that y and poses. Take some time to experim through when using various objects and poses for your next photo shoot.

Useful Cheats Use TestingCheatsEnabled true along with buydebug to unlock fun interactive items that you might not usually have available. Use MoveObjects on to place your Sims and objects into position for better looking composition.

ome Action

or break a photo. The usual, day to day ding around or interacting with other Sims nt to be interesting try working with props. your Sims can use to discover new actions ment with the actions that your Sims go d you will be sure to discover some useful

Stop Action Spend time pausing your Sims in action to see what each step of the animation looks like. Take many photos to see which pose works best for your current photo shoot. See page 20 for more details on this technique.



ne of the be unique poses and facial stop-action method. Exp variety of in-game action know what you will come

Step 1 - start the action Step 2 - hit pause Step 3 - position your cam Step 4 - un-pause then qu Step 5 - reposition camer Step 6 - take photos at ea

Warning! You might lau breathe - like we did d


est methods to discover expressions is to use the plore this method with a sequences and you never e out with.

mera uickly pause again ra as needed ach position then repeat

ugh so hard you forget to during this photo shoot.

Exploring Ca


ne of the most b to help you choose the be to pause the action and mo Don’t ever settle with ju subject. Step 1 - pose your Sim and

Step 2 - set up your camera

Step 3 - re-position the cam Step 4 - repeat (take many

Tip for Challenge

Don’t submit pics of the sa different angles. Choose th your Sim to a different posi

amera Angles

beneficial camera tricks est photo of your Sim is ove the camera around. ust one photo of your

move into position

a angle and shoot

mera and shoot again photos)

e Submissions

ame position taken from he best one, then move ition for more photos.

Looking at these two portraits of a couple the one on the left has their heads cut off a bit while their bodies are taking up most of the photo. This technique tends to look sloppy and can draw attention away from the faces and more to the clothing. Aim to keep your Sims heads fully in the photo for better balance.


Off With Th

udges will agree that one of the most c off their heads. There are times when ha the photo has positive impact - it may b Most of the time though, it just takes awa were just not being careful with the cam small and easily a

heir Heads

common flaws in photos of Sims is cutting aving part of the head or face cut out of be done for a certain effect for example. ay from the photo - making it look like you mera. Many points have been lost for this avoidable detail.

In the two photos along the bottom the technique of cutting off part of the heads or face is done with a purpose. In this case the technique is creating a dramatic impact, drawing attention to the facial features and eyes. So you see, cutting off heads can work, but be careful how you use this effect.

Working with

Working with many Sims at one time can composed group photos, even without usin them all under your spell and

Joy Begins at the Heart by Evergreen


ommon mistakes when taking photos of groups of Sims are included on the next pages along with tips for improving. In the photo above the Sims are too spread out so there is too much background - this makes the actual Sims seem less important in the photo. Also, the background is sort of lifeless and bland.

Multiple Sims

n be tricky but it is possible to create well ng mods. You just need to learn how to keep d doing what you tell them to.



sing a variety of tricks and a lot of patience you can end up with an eye catching photo where the Sims are in action and really drawing our attention. The photos in the centre and top right show examples of well framed photos where each Sim in the picture draws our attention and stands out.


void this... Below

Make sure that your Sims are not blocking each other out - the photo looks sloppy and leaves us frustrated and wanting to push them out of our way so we can see what’s happening.

Above Too many of the Sims are looking away from the camera. If the main focus of your photo is meant to be the Sims then they should all be facing the camera unless the action they are doing is meant to be showing them facing somewhere else.

Below Don’t just leave your Sims in the position you found them in when you set the actions in motion. These Sims are too far apart leaving too many boring empty spaces in the photo. These empty spaces make the photo less interesting.

Above Sometimes you just want everyone to see what a great job you did on your set design, but don’t try to get it all in the photograph. In this photo we almost forget to look at the Sims because we are more interested in the scene and the set design. It is supposed to be a photo of a group of Sims.


ry these tips and tricks... Good photos tell a story, especially photos with groups of Sims. Decide what story you are telling then try bringing it to life in the photo.

 Turn “free will” OFF  Set your Sims near the correct

position and begin their actions or interactions with one another. Set them up to do many of the same action so that they stay in a similar position for a longer time.  Use MoveObjects on in build or

buy mode to get them into just the right position  Don’t forget the lighting  Keep moving things around until

you get it just the way you want and take many photos from different angles.  Be patient! It can take many

trials to get what you want.

Gallery of Greatness


hese next few pages showcase such a tiny fraction of the many amazing photos I have come across since creating Simatography. I have chosen a few to share here because they fit into the theme of this particular tips booklet, but they do not represent ALL of the great Simtographers that inspire me.


hank you to all of the members at Simatography who have inspired me with their amazing creations. You deserve to have your art praised so I hope you do not mind that I have shared them here. For those reading, if you want to see more, drop by Simatography and peek in the photo galleries.

Surfers by SuperPogimon SuperPogimon has a way of making Sims stand out. Even simple photos of Sims standing still or in a line and they come to life. What is the secret? Attention to detail‌ clothes, facial expression, poses, positioning, backdrop and props.

Sims Model competition come up with assignments t quite a bit of

The trick is to background clothes, props little details come togethe out and te

Art Class by PistolKitten

These are two that were challenge entr find a few mor few pa

and Photo s will often h themes for that require f creativity.

o use colour, ds, poses, and all of the to make it er and stand ell a story.

o great pics e used as ries and you’ll re on the next ages.

Escape from the Dollhouse by BryonyRae

Meet the Family by KittyKatLion

Mirror, Mirror by BryonyRae

a stunning portrait by HarrywasHere Joy by PistolKitten


ortraits can take on many forms, but one thing they should all have in common is that the subject is THE focus of the photo. The background also plays an important role - it must add to the mood and interest of the photo without being distracting or overshadowing the model. This is a tricky thing to accomplish sometimes, but these simtographers have created some great examples.

two portraits of Nico Bello by WickedKnight

portrait by Island

portrait by KittyKatLion

by HarrywasHere Some need no explanation - they just inspire you to say WOW!

by KittyKatLion

by KittyKatLion

There are times when you want a Sims back to the camera for effect

Full body shots should not be boring‌ details, details.

by PistolKitten

Sometimes breaking the rules is what works. Not seeing their faces directly creates some mystery, as if they are sharing something that we can’t really know. The effect really adds to the mood here. by KittyKatLion

This one I just thought was awesome. I love the way the curtain frames them, how the lighting makes them shine, and how the great facial expressions tell the story. by HarrywasHere


hoto-album style pics have their place too. Not every photo has to be a perfect, artistic composition. Though in truth, creating a good photo to have the look and feel of a real-life snap-shot actually takes a bit of work too.

wedding album by KittyKatLion

Busted by Umi

Created by...


Minraed Arzhel for Shutterbugs Simtography Club at


Tutorial Models

and other inte


special thank you to a valuable inpu

in order of appearance Alfajores DeLeche and Clementine Ambrosia

Allium, Madison and Asia

Vamp Band - game generated sims

BryonyRae and JMelo winn

Tia Maria

Umi and Pistolkitten - two o

Minraed Arzhel

The Simatography Mo

Honey Chiffon Kailead Navarro and Sancho DiMorales Cyril Finnmore by Dr.Musix

And thank you of course to I was not able to include like c


eresting tidbits

all of the reviewers who gave ut into this project.

ashamecca of SF Magazine

ners of SAP and hosts of TNT

A few helpful mods... Many Simtographers and Machinima makers use mods with no concerns, but I do feel compelled to add a warning. “use at your own risk” ALWAYS check to see if the version is compatible with the latest patches, updates and expansions. As mentioned, all of the photos here were created without the use of mods, so it is possible. It just sometimes takes more work.

of many great Simtographers

oderators and Admins

all of the simtographers who here, but who inspire me crazy!

Awesome Mod ChaosMod No sleep Zzzz’s or Vvvv’s No Music Notes

a production

Shutterbugs Simtography Tips book 1  

tips for creating better pics of your sims