The Yutu was deployed at 4:35 am (2035 GMT Saturday), several hours after the Chang'e-3 probe landed on the moon, said the official news agency Xinhua, and the photo session began at about 11:42 pm after the rover moved a few meters away from the lander.
The color images were transmitted live to the Beijing Aerospace Control Center, where President Xi and Premier Li Keqiang watched the broadcast.
Ma Xingrui, chief commander of China's lunar program, declared the mission a "complete success" after the photographs showed the lander and rover were working, Xinhua said.
The potential to extract the moon's resources has been touted as a key driver behind Beijing's space progra, with the celestial body believed to hold uranium, titanium, and other minerals.
But the phenomenal cost of missions means such projects are not economically viable, experts say.
"China wants to go to the moon for geo-strategic reasons and domestic legitimacy," said China space expert Joan Johnson-Freese, a professor of national security affairs at the US Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.