I got a gaming computer for two reasons – 1) to mod the hell out of my games and 2) to take some high quality screen caps! I use FRAPS to take screenshots and capture video from my games – you can read about FRAPS and download it in my post here. And these are the mods that I can’t live without when it comes to taking great screenshots in Skyrim – all the images in this post are unfiltered with no post-processing:
These are mods you must install in order for the other mods to work!
Skyrim Script Extender (SKSE) – Don’t ask what it does, just accept that you need this and install it. :D
Fores New Idles in Skyrim (FNIS) – This allows your characters to strike different poses and use new animations. It is a base file required for most animation mods.
These are mods that I highly recommend if you want to take high quality screenshots and also make your life easier.
Immersive HUD – This lets you turn off all the HUD elements (map, crosshairs, etc.) so you can get a clean screenshot without game icons cluttering the screen
Safety Load – This literally saved my game. It prevents the awful Skyrim crash to desktop (CTD) when you have a bunch of mods installed.
SkyUI – This gives you a better user interface to navigate and organize your items/magic which is extremely helpful since most “poser” mods require items or magic to activate
Face Light – This allows your character’s face to always be in the best light so you can take beautiful screenshots even in dark caves or against backlit scenes – truly a MUST if you’re hoping to take screenshots of characters!
Skyrim HD – HD textures aren’t required but they make a hell of a difference in high-res screen shots. If your computer can support it, do it!
Dynavision Dynamic Depth of Field – This allows you to focus on the object in the foreground while making the background blurry, like if you had a real camera!
Helmet Toggle Show/Hide – This lets you toggle equipped helmets with the push of a button – great time saver if you’re doing a lot of screenshots
Recommended ENB Mods:
ENB’s are presets that make your graphics look crazy good. There are hundreds of different styles to choose from – I personally prefer realism ENBs but there are some great fantasy and cinematic ones out there, too.
ENB – You need to install the ENB base files first before using an ENB preset, so do it.
RealVision ENB – This is a tried and true classic. It makes scenes look very sharp and beautiful. I do find the default settings oversaturated – I tend to adjust the preset’s saturation level down a little bit (default is 1.6 and I use 1.2). Only use one ENB Preset at a time!
Poupouri ENB – This is my favorite ENB! I use a modified version of Morning Star (I made it slightly less saturated/bright during day time, with higher DOF), although I love First Seed for a more cinematic look.
Recommended Environmental Mods:
These mods change how the world of Skyrim looks!
Climates of Tamriel – Beautiful lighting and weather systems for Skyrim; recommended use with the RealVision ENB preset
Enhanced Lights & FX – This mod gives scenes much more depth and realism with realistic lighting!
Pure Waters – You know where you picture spring water comes from? That’s what this makes all the water in Skyrim look like J
W.A.T.E.R. – This gives a whole bunch of new water features and animations throughout the game.
Skyrim Flora Overhaul – Must have for beautiful leaves, grasses, and flowers!
Book Covers Skyrim – This gives all the books in the game beautiful and unique covers – if you’re taking any screenshots with books in them, this is a great mod!
Enhanced Blood Textures – This gives blood splatter and bleeding a more realistic feel … I know this sounds weird, but bleeding in water looks really cool …
Recommended Animation/Poser Mods:
These mods allow you to make your characters and NPCs pose and animate in a variety of new ways. They are an absolute must if you’re hoping to create lively screenshots!
Puppeteer Master – This is one of the only animation mods out there that does NOT require FNIS. It lets you play any in-game animation or pose. My favorite part about this mod is that it lets you change the expression/emotion on any character’s face really easily.
Puppeteer Master Reference Guide – This is a visual index of the hundreds of Puppeteer Master poses for quick reference
Halo’s Pinup Poser – Great pinup poses for your Skyrim character!
Halo’s Poser – Great poses for your Skyrim characters, including male, female, and pairs!
Additional Dramatic Posers for Pinup Poser – this adds a ton of new poses to Halo’s original mod that are much more “manly”
Extensive Pinup Poser Reference – This is a visual index of the hundreds of poses in Halo’s mods which comes in really handy when you’re trying to decide on a pose!
Recommended Character Mods:
Here are all my recommendations for building beautiful characters!
Recommended Player Homes & Locations:
The following player homes are great for picturesque or unique screenshots and you should definitely give them a try!
[post coming soon!]