Taking a photo using your webcam can be a quick and easy way to add an image to your online profile, get a shot of that new gadget you just have to show someone, and even just capture the rare moment your hair looks absolutely perfect. Taking the photo doesn’t have to be a difficult process, and there are several ways to do it.

First, the software included with your webcam probably has the feature built right in. If your webcam didn’t come with a disc loaded with drivers and software, you may be able to find them on the manufacturer’s website. Once installed, reboot your computer and take a look at your taskbar to see if any new programs have been loaded. If not, they may be in your start menu and the folder will generally be highlighted for the first few days after installing.

If, for example, you use a Logitech webcam on a Windows machine, the control software starts up automatically by default and waits in your taskbar near the system clock. As with just about any included webcam software, the splash screen should give you two obvious options to either record video or take a picture. From there, it’s just a matter of following the instructions on your screen.

Taken Using Photo Booth

Mac systems have a program pre-installed that is very handy when it comes to taking photos with a webcam. Photo Booth is located in the applications folder by default and offers users a variety of cool effects and backdrop options. You can even create your own custom backdrop and use that as sort of a makeshift chromakey. In the image to the right, I turned on a dim light and chose the “Glow” effect. Once the shot is taken, Photo Booth sends a copy in to your pictures directory and gives you the option to upload it right away or send it to iPhoto where you can do a little more editing yourself.

There are several options available through cloud services including one service called Cameroid which gives you a lot of the same functionality Photo Booth does, without the requirement of having a Mac. They also include some frame elements as well as a few effects not found on Photo Booth or most webcam-included software.

Taking Using Cameroid

Another cloud service offering webcam snapshots and hosting is Seenly which looks and exacts almost exactly like Photo Booth for the Mac.

For Linux users, Cheese is a great little webcam photo app that allows you to send your snapshots off to Flickr. Currently, the program is optimized for users of Gnome 2.28 and later. Cheese was developed as part of Google’s Summer of Code 2007.

No matter how you choose to take your photos, remember that lighting is important and having a messy background is never attractive. If you have a preferred method for taking snapshots using your webcam, please comment below and let us know.