Lift your day with Photo Booth Effects
Mac Tip #545, 18 July 2012
Photo Booth is a great app for making quick photos of whatever your Mac’s camera is pointing at. Usually that’s you. It’s a simple app that encourages spontaneity and fun, especially with its Effects. Give your day a lift with a quick photo and an Effect such as Space Alien, Frog or Stretch. Here’s how.
5 years ago I wrote about Photo Booth in Picture yourself in Photo Booth. Some things have changed since then though. This Tip adds info about features added since then.
- Open Photo Booth and go Full Screen for ease of use and maximum fun.
- Choose an Effect for distorted images.
- Add a custom backdrop or choose a built-in backdrop.
If this Tip was useful, please leave a comment letting us know. Want more detail? Read the full Tip below.
The Photo Booth look
Photo Booth has been on the Mac for a while, but Lion brought some extra Effects and a fullscreen view. Open the app (look in the
Applications folder) and a fairly normal window appears, like the one in my ‘Alien’ screenshot above.
Enter Full Screen from the
View menu (or
Control Command F) and the window enlarges, adds side curtains, wood veneer and other decoration to mimic an actual real-life Photo Booth.
Still, Still Multiple or Video
At bottom left of the full screen window is a roller wheel. Move it to the left to take 4 still images in rapid succession. Move it to the centre to take a single still image, and to the right to switch to video.
Shutter button (glowing red in the screenshot) changes from a still camera icon to a video camera icon when you select video.
At bottom right of the full screen window is the
Effects button. Click it and 9 different Effects are applied to the image the camera’s seeing.
Below that is a row of 5 dots with an arrow at each end. Click the right arrow to see another page of 9 different effects. Or just click a dot to jump to that page. There are 5 pages of Effects in total, though Pages 4 and 5 are a bit special, as I explain below.
Click on one Effect to select it, then prepare yourself for the shot. Click the Shutter button when you’re ready for a 3 second countdown to begin.
After the countdown the image is recorded.
If you selected the Multiple Images setting 4 photos are taken one after the other.
Special supplied backgrounds
Page 4 of the Effects shows backgrounds that include the Eiffel Tower, Earthrise, Fish and others. Each background has a grey human shape marked on it.
To show yourself in an image with Earth rising in the background, or with the Eiffel Tower behind you select the appropriate effect. It’s a good idea to start with a fairly plain background behind you in real life.
If you use a laptop start by putting the machine on a table or other flat surface rather than your lap, as you’ll need to move yourself out of the picture.
Photo Booth instructs you then to step out of the frame while it recognises the actual background. When it shows success with that put yourself back in the shot and click the Shutter button. The app replaces the real-life background with the background image you selected and places you in the shot.
Use your own background
Page 5 of Effects is like Page 4 with special backgrounds, but this time none are supplied. Instead, find a photo of your own and drag it into one of the
User Backdrop Effects squares. Then just go ahead as for the supplied Backdrops.
Share your photos
Once you have a photo you like select it in the strip of photos across the lower part of the window. Then click the
Share button. Several options appear, including emailing the photo (requires Apple Mail) and adding it to iPhoto.
I was feeling a bit gloomy earlier this morning, but there’s something about the Space Alien and Stretch effects in particular that just makes me chuckle. Photo Booth is intended for quick, spontaneous, playful photos. I think it’s a great way to start the week. What do you think?
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