How Do I Use My PC to Take a Picture of Myself?
By David Weedmark
If you want to take a self portrait, there's really no need to confine yourself to the bathroom mirror, cellphone held aloft with a shower curtain behind you, when there's probably a perfectly good camera on your computer. Windows 8 already has everything you need to take a photo, whether it's a quick selfie or a more serious professional-looking portrait. To make the most of your self portrait, try some free photo filters or some photo editing software.
Finding a camera for your PC shouldn't be too difficult. Practically all laptops, tablets and all-in-one PCs today come with at least one webcam already built-in. USB webcams range widely in price. While lower-end models are good for taking snapshots, the more expensive webcams give you better resolution, autofocus options and the ability to stream HD video. Many high quality digital cameras, like those sold by Nikon and Canon, come with software that give you the ability to control the camera with your computer when you tether them with a USB cable.
Windows Camera App
Windows 8 comes with its own Camera app, which opens and activates your camera when you click the "Camera" tile on the Start screen. The app gives you options to use a self-timer and change the exposure. If your camera has a light, you can turn the flash on or off. Photos are saved in the Windows camera roll, which you can access from the Photos app or in the pictures folder in File Explorer.
Fun Photo Apps
If you want to add a touch of pizzazz to your self portraits, the Windows App Store has an abundance of third-party apps with a variety filters and special effects, many of which are free. With apps like SuperPhoto Free you can add color filters, warp and distort your face or even change your photo into a drawing or painting. You can add frames to your photos with an app like Love Frames, and can even give your photo an antique look complete with a bit of yellowing and some scratches using an app like Vintage Photo Camera or Sepia Camera (links in Resources).
Digital Darkroom Apps
For a more serious self-portrait, photo editing apps are invaluable for cropping, adjusting the light and colors, as well as sharpening or blurring details. Professional-quality apps like Adobe Photoshop -- which has a free 30 day trial -- can even remove lines and wrinkles from a face, or make a forgotten bottle on the table behind you disappear. GIMP is a free alternative to Photoshop with many of the same features for touching up photos. Fhotoroom is a good free photo editing app for cropping, tilting and adjusting exposures, as is Microsoft's Photo app, which comes with Windows 8.
A published author and professional speaker, David Weedmark has advised businesses and governments on technology, media and marketing for more than 20 years. He has taught computer science at Algonquin College, has started three successful businesses, and has written hundreds of articles for newspapers and magazines throughout Canada and the United States.