It's all well and good to appreciate the beautiful shots that fans manage to capture from games like Skyrim, but it's rarely as simple as it seems to recreate them for yourself. It's not a question of just cranking up the graphics settings or installing some magical all-in-one mod -- you'll also need to become quick on the draw with an array of tools and commands that the average player may not even be aware of.
The screenshotting savant behind Dead End Thrills, a blog that shares some of the most stunning game images you'll ever see (and which I wrote about here back in November), recently opened up to PC gaming site Rock, Paper, Shotgun with a wealth of advice for those looking to take their virtual cameras to the world of Skyrim specifically. As expected there's plenty about modding, but there's also a list of console commands to handle everything from switching off the AI, tweaking the field of view, and even dialing the fog up to 11 for those ultra-dramatic landscapes.
The most important piece of advice, however, applies to more than just Skyrim. When you're amping up your game's graphics for screenshots, don't expect the game to run as smoothly as you might be used to while you're actually playing. Don't be afraid to toggle things on or off depending on what you're doing, because no matter how pretty a game is, it's not going to be very fun if you can't actually play it.
Iris Ophelia (@bleatingheart, Janine Hawkins IRL) has been featured in the New York Times, and has spoken about SL-based design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan and with pop culture/fashion maven Johanna Blakley.