While Legendary Pokémon and the cutest Pokémon understandably steal most of the attention in New Pokémon Snap, the real stars of the show from a narrative standpoint are the six Illumina Pokémon hidden throughout the game.
These guardians of the Lental region play vital roles New Pokémon Snap’s plot, but just because they’ve been cast in leading roles doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to easily find them in the game. In fact, there’s a good chance you could work your way through most of New Pokémon Snap and not even know some of them exist.
To help you avoid missing out on some of the best photos in the game, here’s a quick look at the locations of New Pokémon Snap’s Illumina Pokémon and how to take proper pictures of them.
As your introduction to the very concept of Illumina Pokémon, Meganium is pretty hard to miss.
Simply beat the night version of the Park course and wait for Professor Mirror to unlock the Florio Nature Park Illumina Spot for you. Meganium greets you at the start of this run, so while you’re able to throw some Illumina orbs at it and start taking pictures right away, you’ll be able to grab the best available shots as soon as it reaches the nearby Crystabloom.
To “unlock” Wishiwashi, you’ll first need to take a picture of Frillish in the Undersea course by tempting it with some Fluffruit. That should unlock pink Illumina Orbs, which you’ll need to make the Clawitzer in that area destroy a nearby boulder. Once that’s done, you should be able to access the area’s Illumina Spot from the Lental Seafloor course select screen.
In this area, you’ll notice several Wishiwashi swimming around. Rather than take pictures of them individually, though, you’ll instead want to hit all of them with Illumina Orbs. Eventually, they will come together and allow you to photograph the “school” form of this elusive Pokémon.
To discover Milotic’s location, you’ll need to reach Research Level 2 on the Elsewhere Forest course. It shouldn’t take long, and doing so should trigger a version of the usual scene that informs you that an Illumina Spot has been found at that location.
Once you travel the Elsewhere Forest Illumina Spot, you’ll need to persuade Milotic to jump out of the nearby water. That means you first need to hit it with a piece of fruit and then quickly hit it with an Illumina Orb in order to take a valid picture.
This particular Pokémon isn’t too difficult to find, but you will need to reach Research Level 2 on the Volcano course before you can access its area. Once that’s done, be sure to play through that course again and be sure to use the exit near the ruins. That should unlock the course’s Illumina Spot.
At that spot, you’ll encounter two Volcarona protected by fire shields. You’re going to have to drop those shields by throwing fruit at them. Once they’re down, you’ll need to hit the unshielded creature with an Illumina Orb before you’ll be able to take a valid picture. You can try to drop both shields at the same time if you want, but you only need a photo of one of these Pokémon.
The good news is that unlocking Steelix is pretty easy. Just reach Research Level 2 on the Outway Cave course and scan the large green rock that appears near the exit. That should unlock the Illumina Spot for the area.
Here’s where the bad news comes in. The Steelix at that spot is particularly elusive and will keep ducking in and out of hiding holes. You can flush it out by throwing fruit in those holes, but you will need to hit it with an Illumina Orb shortly thereafter to get a valid picture of it. Your window for accomplishing all of this in the right order is quite small, so you’ll need to be at the top of your game to make it all happen.
We’ve talked about Xerneas before elsewhere, but if you’re still looking to grab a picture of it, you’ll first need to play through the Ruins of Remembrance course. Along the way, you’ll notice various monuments with a Crystabloom nearby. Hit those Crystablooms with an Illumina Orb, and you should unlock this course’s Illumina Spot as soon as you’ve finished your run.
Xerneas is flying around that spot when you enter it, but you’ll need to hit it in its “flying form” with an Illumina Orb in order to take a gradable photo of it. This isn’t an especially difficult Pokémon to photograph compared to the game’s rarest creatures, but your aim will need to be decent if you’re hoping to capture a usable snap in time.