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How to take a photo on Mac and share it with anyone

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5 min read

Have you ever been in a video call and thought “I wish I could take a photo on Mac and share it”? Working from home has us all looking at ourselves more than we normally do, so it’s natural you would want to take a pic from your Mac!

It might not seem like a no-brainer because we are so used to using mobile devices to take pictures these days, but you can take a photo with a Mac using the included webcam. A webcam photo may not be ideal, but there are ways to improve the image after you take it.

We’ll also show you a few apps for snapping great pics when you use a webcam to take a quick photo, and how to use your iPhone as a webcam to take the best selfie on Mac — yes, that’s possible! 

How to take a photo on Mac with webcam

Plenty of apps on the Mac App Store offer to let you take pics and most have some sort of unique angle. Some let you clap to snap a pic, others just replace the Mac’s screen grab feature without added features. Some have filters. By and large, there are not many interesting apps to find on the Mac App Store for taking or saving pics. 

Your Mac has a built-in app called Photo Booth that saves you the trouble of downloading any of the apps you’ll find on the Mac App Store for taking pics. Photo Booth can snap pics, record video, and has 27 filters that morph your head or overlay fun graphics into the shot. 

Just like most apps for taking pictures on Mac, Photo Booth uses your Mac’s webcam, so the quality of those pictures won’t be great. But it might work for you sometimes. 

Take a picture with Photo Booth

  1. Open Photo Booth on your Mac
  2. Make sure the “still image” icon is selected at the bottom left of the app window
  3. Click Effects to add some fun 
  4. Click the red shutter button on the bottom of the app window to take a picture. 

Photo Booth still images

The screen flashes white as the image capture happens, and that’s all it takes! It’s a simple and  great app for snapping the quick pic from your desktop. Especially if you just want to have some fun, and don’t really care about the quality of those pictures. 

Saving and sharing selfies taken on the Mac

Your Photo Booth app will save photo from webcam shots locally, right in the Photo Booth app. All your pics will appear at the bottom of the app window. You can also move those pictures to the Photos app if you like. 

If you want to share Photo Booth pictures, simply select the shot you want to share and click the share button on the bottom right of the app window. A menu will pop up where you can select how you’d like to share your pic with others!

share your pic with others

How to take a photo on Mac by screenshotting

Screenshotting gives you the flexibility of taking pictures of your screen in any size. So if you want to take a picture during a video conference, for example, it’s better to take a screenshot. The quality of screenshots won’t differ from the quality of pictures you take with Photo Booth anyway. 

CleanShot X is the most robust screen capture tool that lets you edit your screenshots — even before you save them. When you capture your screen, CleanShot X surfaces a handy menu at the bottom left of your Mac’s screen with options to keep your shot pinned, mark the screenshot up, share it, delete it, copy the shot, or save it. CleanShot X’s impressive markup tools allow you to add images or shapes, and remove any personally identifying features.

CleanShot X, a screen capture tool

For those who don’t have CleanShot X, you can take a screenshot on macOS using the native screenshot utility. To capture entire screen, press Shift + Command + 3. To capture an area of the screen, press Shift + Command + 4. To capture an open app or window, press Shift + Command + 4 + space bar (when the app is selected). 

These methods are beneficial for various reasons. If you want to capture things quickly, screenshotting the entire screen is a great way to capture it all. If you have time to adjust a window, capturing an area of the screen brings up an adjustable frame you can use to frame exactly what you want to capture. Capturing a window is great if you’re creating how-to lists and need to capture step-by-step imagery of an app. 

With CleanShot X, you can also block out other things on the screen and capture only what you want by disabling desktop icons. 

If you want a screen recording rather than a still photo, no app is better for recording your screen than Capto. You’ll love that Capto can hide your cluttered desktop during a recording, and allows you to annotate video in post-production. You can also snap still images with Capto and annotate them just as you would do with video.

snap still images with Capto

Basically, the combination of CleanShot X and Capto gives you access to the full toolkit — you can grab and save screenshots, videos, and even GIFs on Mac. Oh and both apps are available on Setapp, so you don’t have to choose between them. 

Screenshot a portion of your screen

First, use the Shift + Command + 4 keyboard shortcut mentioned above. From there, size the window to the area you want to capture. When you’re done sizing the area you want to capture, your Mac will automatically capture the area once you release pressure on the trackpad or mouse.

How to screenshot an entire window

To screenshot an entire window, follow these steps:

  1. Use the Shift + Command + 4 + space bar shortcut
  2. Click on the window/app you want to capture

It’s really that simple! Your screenshot will be saved to the destination you set, typically the desktop.

How to use built-in FaceTime camera

You can grab an image from FaceTime using the Shift + Command + 4 keyboard shortcut above! Simply follow these steps:

  1. Open FaceTime on your Mac
  2. Position yourself in the frame of FaceTime
  3. Utilize the Shift + Command + 4 keyboard shortcut
  4. Narrow the window you want to capture to the FaceTime frame with you in it
  5. Strike a pose, and release your trackpad or mouse.

Your Mac will capture what’s on your FaceTime screen at the time, so be sure you’re in frame and looking your best before releasing the trackpad or mouse.

Tip: Solve the problem with poor webcam photo quality

Let’s be honest — your Mac’s FaceTime camera isn’t great. Detail lets you link any camera to your Mac for use as a FaceTime camera or secondary camera for video chats. Hook up a pro camera, iPhone, or iPad to your Mac and switch between feeds as you record or stream. It’s a great app for capturing more natural shots as you record, too! 

Just look at the quality of this screenshot I grabbed by connecting my iPhone to Mac. Detail really brings the power of modern iPhone camera to Mac. 

iPhone camera to Mac

Detail has AI Auto Frame, which means you never have to worry about positioning yourself in the center of the shot, Detail will do that automatically. 

Conclusion

Sometimes you snap an image that’s just not perfect – but you don’t want to pose for another shot. When you need to do some pro-level editing quickly, turn to Luminar or TouchRetouch. Both apps offer incredibly powerful photo editing in user-friendly formats. You can blur backgrounds, enhance important details, improve color and contrast, and make any image pop with these two editing apps.

Luminar, TouchRetouch, Capto, CleanShot X, and Detail are incredible apps that are all available with a free seven-day trial of Setapp. Setapp is the world’s largest and most complete suite of productivity apps for Mac, with over 200 tools for solving your daily tasks.

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