Mac 101: Photo Booth Tips

When’s the last time you played with Photo Booth? I’m guessing you and your friends had some raucous laughs with it when you first got your Mac, and then haven’t done much with it since. Well I’m here to suggest you bring it out of mothballs and check out a few things that you may not have known before. (Oh, and if you have kids, let them at it and it’ll keep them busy for hours!)

Secret Keys

You know when you’ve been moving your head around and trying to get that squeeze effect to look just right, and then you have to press the button to take the photo, and then hold your head still for the countdown, and you inevitably move and the shot is ruined? Yeah, that’s lame. So if you want to cut directly to the chase, hold down the OPTION key and click the red snapshot button at the same time. BAM! No countdown.

The there are some times that the screen flash may not be desirable — I particularly need little help looking pasty white in the winter months… Nix that annoying flash by holding down the SHIFT key when pressing the red snapshot button. Want an instant, no flash Photo Booth picture? Hold SHIFT and OPTION at the same time while clicking the red snapshot button.

If you’ve got dozens of pictures in the Photo Booth viewer, it can take time to click through each set of photos. If you want to get to the beginning or the end of the collection, hold down the COMMAND key while pressing either direction arrow to fly all the way to either end instantly.

Fun Effects

Photo Booth is loaded with some fun effects to begin with, and it’s got some ‘green screen’ type effects to make it look like you’re someplace you’re not. Then on the fourth effects page, there’s space for you to add your own. Here you can drag any photo you want and use it as a backdrop. But you can also use Apple’s Quartz composer effects to do other cool things like the Star Wars Hologram or the Shepard Fairey effects. But you could also use Quartz Composer to roll your own, if you’re the adventurous type.

So there you have it. If simply reminding you about the fun that’s to be had with Photo Booth wasn’t enough, these simple tricks should help to rejuvenate that experience — not to mention, impress your friends all over again!