How to Use an External Camera with Photo Booth

By Gabriele Sturmer

Mac OS X includes the Photo Booth application that lets you take pictures and record videos that can contain special effects. The application works with many external cameras as well as the built-in iSight camera included on Mac desktops and laptops. Many supported cameras don't require you to install any drivers, but other cameras may work if you install a third-party driver or one from the camera's manufacturer. After connecting an external camera, you can select it as the camera for Photo Booth.

Step 1

Disconnect your external camera if it's already connected to your Mac. If your webcam came with any driver software on a disk or from a website, install it before proceeding. Open Photo Booth and then reconnect your external camera.

Step 2

Click Photo Booth's Camera option on the menu bar and select your external camera's name to display its video feed in the main program window.

Step 3

Click the "Effects" button if you want to select an effect before you snap a picture or record a video in Photo Booth. The video pane will display nine thumbnails showing your webcam feed with different effects applied, including distortion effects, color effects, customized backgrounds and animated items. Click the right-arrow button on the screen to view additional pages of effects. After you find the effect you want to apply, click it to return to the full-size video stream.

Step 4

Click one of the three square icons near the bottom left corner of the video preview. Click the first icon to make a series of four consecutive images, the second icon to take a single picture or the third icon to record a video.

Step 5

Click the red camera icon to automatically take one or four pictures, or to start recording a video. If you are recording a video, click the red camera icon again after you finish recording.

Tips & Warnings

  • All images and videos made in Photo Booth appear in the list below the video stream. Click any image or video to view it within the video pane.
  • You can also click the "Email" button to email a selected image or video or "Add to iPhoto" to send the video or picture to iPhoto. Clicking "User Picture" or "Buddy Picture" lets you use an image as your Mac OS X user image or iChat buddy icon, respectively.
  • To export a Photo Booth picture or video to a location on your hard drive, click the "File" menu and select "Export."
  • Not all external cameras will automatically work with Mac OS X, so check with your camera's manufacturer's website if your camera doesn't work with Photo Booth. If your manufacturer doesn't have drivers available, you can install a driver package such as Macam.