How to AR: Focusing on Pokémon from the back

With Niantic AR (formerly known as AR+ mode), we have the option to view Pokémon in entirely new ways. We can move totally around them, viewing them from every angle, allowing us to celebrate their designs in whole new ways.

Pokémon Backs

Today, we’re exploring photographing Pokémon from behind! While many Pokémon are totally adorable or bad ass facing them directly, so many others have really cool under-appreciated aspects to their designs that you can’t see unless you view them from behind.

To pick my Pokémon for these sort of photos, the first thing I do is have a flick through my Pokémon storage. You can fully rotate their sprites and you might be surprised by details of their designs that you hadn’t seen before. I try to challenge myself to photograph Pokémon I might not have photographed before, and to try to find new parts of their design to focus on. I’ve talked about isolating specific body parts before, but today is all about backs and photographing Pokémon from behind.

To photograph their backs, you need to think about their placement before you spawn them in, because Pokémon always spawn in facing you. I usually decide where I want to photograph them, then walk past it and look back to the spot I want them in so I can spawn them in facing me, then move back to where I was originally, so I can see their back.

For example, with this photo of Shiny Lugia, I walked down this small lane a fair distance away from where I intended to stand, then had Lugia spawn in. I then walked right past Lugia, and back down the lane, so Lugia would not only be seen from behind in my image, but from a distance as well, like it was flying away from me.

The other option to view a Pokémon from behind is to photograph them while they are your Buddy. Buddy Mode AR gives you slightly more options, and one of those options is that you can swipe across your Buddy to have them rotate 360°. So you could have the Pokémon appear in your chosen location facing you, and then swipe across them and they will spin a full circle, but you’ll need to be quick to take multiple photos as they turn as it is a fairly quick animation! This swipe trick is only available in Buddy Mode AR, so make sure you keep that in mind.

Personally I prefer to move around to behind the Pokémon as it gives more time to take the photos, and you can activate their attack animation and photograph that from behind too.


Vulpix is an easy choice! With their beautiful tails, they look adorable from behind. This was also taken using the tiny Pokémon technique that you can read about here. The curls of their tail made me think of mushrooms weirdly, so I went hunting for some to photograph Vulpix with.

I had no idea that Mega Abomasnow had such cool spikes on their back until I rotated their sprite in GO. It’s given me such a new found appreciation of their design, Abomasnow also has spikes on their back, but not as cool as Mega Abomasnow. This was also taken with the Bokehmon technique.

Lugia is another Pokémon that has aspects to their design that are often forgotten about. Those spikes make it look so much more bad ass!

Regirock has a spine of rocks, something I hadn’t realised until I saw the sprite in Pokémon GO after catching it! I always thought their design was a little flat, but actually, it’s much more detailed and epic looking than I thought.


For us, the key thing to photographing your Pokémon in awesome ways with Niantic AR is to keep experimenting! Thinking outside the box and looking from new perspectives is always fun. If you use any of our How to AR articles to inspire your work, please use our hashtag #GOHubAR so we can see them! I regularly feature work from this hashtag on my instagram story, and love to see what you have created.

Author & tags

Turtwig obsessive, real life Psyduck, Pokémon GO AR Photographer, found footage horror fan and Pokémon GO Hub AR Queen

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