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!


Banjo DEz

Didn’t tell me how to reverse [FLIP] the photo booth VIDEO image, why is this so????????? is there something difficult about this problem or WHAT ????

Anna Koto

Hi thanks you for all these help im 12 and when my friends come around and when we take photos its alot easier all of the keys worked!!
btw i got a macbookpro os x

dana Pizzolato

i take a photo in photo booth and it comes out negative but that happens with the ones i downloaded from the internet, there really cool and i dont want to delete them


I have the new 56 photo booth effects that i just downloaded to my macbook pro leopard… but when i take the pictures with the new effects it looks normal as i take it but when it drops down to the bottom as an old picture.. it comes out totally negative and flashed out! HELP?! How can i make this go away.. it is set on the 32 k mode thing…


I just used “Grab” (application) as a workaround to take a Snapshot of the Photobooth Window. It’s not as funny but at least you can take the photo if you need it.


when i take 4 pictures can i change the seconds in between each picture?


A month ago I “accidentally” (???) took a short video of myself with the computer, sitting at the desk like I do for Photobooth. It shows up on the screen as a Quicktime video. But how did I do it? Why can’t I figure it out???
I’d like to do short lil videos to go with some emails. (sorry 2nd postg…forgot notify button)


A month ago I “accidentally” (???) took a short video of myself with the computer, sitting at the desk like I do for Photobooth. It shows up on the screen as a Quicktime video. But how did I do it? Why can’t I figure it out???
I’d like to do short lil videos to go with some emails.


Nick, I have been searching and searching to find an answer to a photo booth question and I’m hoping you have an answer for me. :o)
On the photo booth icon, the 3 pictures are VERTICAL. But when you take pictures in photo booth, it becomes 4 pictures in a SQUARE. Can you change the settings somehow to be vertical, just like the “old fashioned” photo booths? Thanks for your help!


I noticed you have the same question I have. Were you able to figure out how to make them vertical?

Thank you



Hi Michelle,
No, I never figured it out. I think someone told me that you couldn’t. :o( Let me know if you have better luck than me!


It’s simple just click command+F to flip the photo or command+shift+F to flip all photos you take. you might take a look at the edit menu for more info.


That’s dumb. If it’s a camera, why would the pictures come out backwards? It doesn’t make any sense.

But thanks for the fix anyway.

Mike Thomas

When I take a Photo Booth pic, it’s in reverse. So wearing any clothing with lettering or numbers comes out looking backwards. How do you fix that?

Nick Santilli

Well I’m using the latest version of Leopard (10.5.6), so if you’re on an older (possibly 10.4.X?) version, the keys may not work as I outlined…


Thank you so much for this tip!!!!!!
I have always wanted to disable the flash in PhotoBooth!!!
The Shift key works fine for me!!!!!

F1 Racing

tried shift and photo in photobooth- did nothing.
only flash work-around , that I know , is to press ctrl-option-cmd-8 to invert screen then flash is black and then return screen to normal.
why you say shift work but not working for me?

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