I was going to ask a question but figured out the answer on my own, but figured I'd share it anyway in case anyone else ends up with this problem, since I looked online first and got nothing..
Problem: I was taking screenshots today and the HUD kept showing up in the shot, which is really annoying becuase of how the camara icon and mini-map were constantly over top of my character at any angle. Also I noticed the recent characters I was uploading had weird small and squished snapshots in my gallery. I knew I had had better quality pictures before.
Answer: BEFORE I was playing with an HDMI cord, recently I've been playing on a different TV in another room using an old style A/V cable. That was all it was, I don't know why I didn't think about the resolution change between standard and HD, but that makes sense. I still don't understand why the HUD stays put using a standard A/V setup. That kinda just ruins screenshots for people with old TVs.