Animal Crossing New Horizons: Villager Pics Guide

Like so many people from around the world, I have put more hours of this Covid-19 quarantine into Animal Crossing: New Horizons than I care to talk about. The game has everything and nothing to accomplish at the same time, and I am hooked. Today, I caught a squid, I decorated the yard of one of my animal villager neighbors, and I worked on the classroom in my house’s upper floor. I’m a little annoyed because it is starting to look a lot like a science classroom and I teach math, but that’s okay. I also did what I enjoy doing the most in the game: farming friendship points from my animal villagers.

With a game with little to no direction and goals, my Type-A personality had to create some. I have played this series since Animal Crossing: Wild World on the DS, and the animal villagers have always been my favorite part of the game. I enjoy running errands for them, writing them letters, giving them gifts, talking to them and hearing about their day or how much I’m annoying them (Seriously! Cherry the other day: “Todd, is this island not big enough for the both of us?”), and finally, I enjoy the rush that is receiving their pictures when I have almost maxed out their friendships. I decided to make that my direction and goal in New Horizons. I am going to collect as many of these little pictures as possible. I have received 14 pictures so far, and I think I have it down to an art. Want to hear about how I play Animal Crossing?

Well, like most people, I have favorite villagers. The problem with having favorite villagers and striving to keep them in your town is the game gets boring very fast. Animal Crossing burnout is very real. Using my amiibo cards, I would move Ankha, Lucky, Octavian, Pietro, Skye, Sparro, Phoebe, Ketchup, Stitches, and Coco into my town and keep them there the entire game. The problem with this is after maxing out their friendships, there is very little to do with them. That, and I would only have ten photos. I want more. I decided to create rules for myself:

  1. When a villager gives me a pic, I let him or her move out no matter how much I like the villager.
  2. I keep at least one of each of the eight personality types in my town.
  3. I keep gender evenly divided. A female moves out, a female moves in.

These rules keep me experiencing new villagers and keep my island feeling fresh. Talking with friends who play the game, I realized that not many people have as many villager pics as I have, although many have admitted that they have tried to get them. I have heard about many hurdles including hesitancy to give furniture as gifts because players do not want to mess up villager homes and hesitancy to catch bugs or fish for villagers because again, they mess up villager homes. Admittedly, I can’t be bothered to try to figure out which colors or clothing styles my villagers like to gift them clothing, and I, too, want to keep my villager homes looking nice, so I have tried something different, and it works like a charm. I decided to write this guide to share what is working for me to help you get the villager pics you want.

Most simply, I speak to each one of my villagers everyday, and everyday I gift each of them one non-native fruit. There are a few exceptions I will talk about below, but non-native fruit is the perfect gift for villagers. They comment about eating the fruit a little later, so the fruits do not end up in their homes destroying their homes’ aesthetics, and I do not have to worry about colors or styles for gifting. What’s more, non-native fruits sell at Nook’s Cranny for 500 bells. Villagers will either give you an item for the fruit, or will pay you 650 or 750 bells for the fruit. I have found that the closer I am to getting a villager’s picture, the more often he or she pays 750 bells for the fruit.

Of my 14 villager pictures, I have 2 snooty villagers (Ankha, Portia), 3 lazy villagers (Lucky, Bones, Marcel), 2 cranky villagers (Octavian, Butch), 3 normal villagers (Tia, Goldie, Bea), 1 sisterly villager (Cherry), 1 peppy villager (Maddie), 1 smug villager (Shep), and 1 jock villager (Mac). A lot of this has to do with the personality types I select to fill my island’s extra two villager slots, but I have found that some villager types give their pics more freely with my method than others. Lazy and normal are by far the easiest villager pics to get in my experience. Cranky and snooty are in the middle. Sisterly, smug, peppy, and jock are the hardest. To those who have gotten pics, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this based on your own experience.

Lazy villagers are always talking about food, so maybe gifting them fruit will award more friendship points from lazy villagers than other types. For this reason, or rather, this way of thinking, I exclusively give my lazy villagers fruit. I have played around with other types of gifts for my other villagers to varying degrees of success. 

  • Flowers: I have found my normal villagers really love flowers. They only hold so many flowers in their homes at a given time, so you can’t give them too many flowers. I give my normal villagers golden roses. Not only does my friendship level quickly rise, but they pay me between 1300 and 1500 bells for each golden rose. Peppy and snooty villagers will accept flowers, but do not seem as excited by them as normal villagers. Smug and sisterly villagers seem to enjoy rare hybrids. Cranky and jock villagers will flat out tell you flowers are not their favorite.
  • Door Plates: Door plates are a safe furniture item to give villagers. I am not an expert of the game, so I do not know if color or price make a difference for friendship points, but I do know that if you gift a villager a door plate, it will simply replace the last door plate you gifted them. These might be worth playing around with. I gifted Ankha the golden roses door plate (which sells at Nook’s Cranny for 20,000 bells) over and over and very quickly got her picture. I am doing the same to Elvis right now. For me, it does not make sense for every villager to have a golden rose door plate, or I would do this for every villager. (Gold just suits some villagers better.)

When I notice villagers are more often paying 750 bells for fruit, and are asking me to do more things (deliver packages, take random gifts from them, take on a nickname, or come up with a greeting or catch phrase), I will hone in on that villager and start sending him or her one post card each day with an additional gifted fruit. This seems to speed up the friendship process, and I get pictures quicker.

It seemed like Mac, my jock villager, was never going to give me his picture, but after harassing him with letters and gifts of fruit, he handed that bad boy over the other day.


Here are answers to some questions I have been asked:

  1. Do you wrap your gifts? I was wrapping my fruits everyday for a while, but I stopped because it just seemed like wasted time. I have not noticed a difference in the speed I am getting pics, but I have read that wrapping your gifts increases friendship points. I guess I just don’t see it as a race and will get the pic when I get the pic.
  2.  Tell me about the frames. The pictures are really cool. You can hang them on the wall or sit them on a piece of furniture. They all come with a wooden brown frame, but the frames are customizable. I customize my frames to match each villager. I made Ankha’s frame gold and Marcel’s colorful, for example.
  3. Do you use amiibo? I do use the amiibo cards, but I am considering stopping. If I get all my favorite villagers out of the way, I am going to have a town full of villagers like Barold and Harry, and that doesn’t seem fun. I also want to get some of the new villagers that do not have amiibo cards.


I hope my tips help! Let me know if they do, and comment below with what has been working for you. How many pics do you have? I’d love to see screencaps of how you’re displaying them as well.

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