Snapshots exist only in San Fierro, San Andreas, as a rotating circular camera icon around a particularly interesting scenic spot. However, camera icons are only visible when viewed in first-person through the camera's viewfinder. Between the hours of 00:00 and 05:00, a pinkish glow can be seen without the camera which marks where the snapshot icons are. Outside of these hours the glow can be seen using Night Vision Goggles.
To successfully capture a snapshot, the snapshot icon must be within the camera viewfinder. Sometimes zooming is required to capture a more distant icon. The point of interest above which the icon sits is not required to be in the viewfinder, simply the icon itself. The snapshot can register even if you are too far away to see the icon itself as long as you zoom close enough and photograph the correct spot (An example being the snapshot over the freighter ship which can be taken from Gant bridge even though it is unable to be seen from there).
The photograph can be saved, if desired, by taking the photo using the save mode on the camera, however the snapshot icon will not appear in the photograph (unless the shot is composed so the snapshot doesn't successfully register).
Most of the snapshot icons can be easily photographed as soon as San Fierro is opened, with the exception of one on the Garver Bridge that can't be seen until the bridge opens for crossing, but it is still possible to capture this snapshot before the bridge opens by using a boat to go under it. Another snapshot icon is located within the Easter Basin Naval Station. Accessing the area and getting too close to the icon will trigger a 5-star wanted level, so the player can keep their distance in a boat and still get close enough to take it without attaining a wanted level.
Snapshots are one of four collectibles along with Tags, Horseshoes, and Oysters, and as with the others, completing all 50 grants the player a significant reward. The reward for each snapshot correctly taken is $100, making a total of $5,000 for collecting the set. The reward for capturing all 50 snapshots is four weapon spawns becoming available at the Doherty Garage; namely the Micro Uzi, Grenades, Pump Action Shotgun, and Sniper Rifle, and the player will be awarded a bonus of $100,000.
- There is a minor glitch involving the snapshot icons; sometimes, CJ can be too far away for the icon to be visible but it will register as a snapshot if the camera viewfinder is zoomed in enough and pointing towards the general location of the icon.
- It is possible to catch a glimpse of the icon without the need of a camera if the player speeds towards one, it will be visible for a second before disappearing. An example of this can be the icon situated on Windy Windy Windy Windy Street.