How to take a picture with a laptop camera (including getting a mirror photo)

Good day!

Almost every laptop today has a built-in webcam. It is, of course, more intended for video calls, but nevertheless, it allows you to take photos (although this is not so obvious) ...

For example, this can be useful when you need to quickly create an avatar, register for a service, when there is no phone at hand (or there is no camera on it), etc.

In this post I will offer several options for how you can take a photo with such a regular webcam (moreover, it works even if you do not have a special application for it). I will also briefly consider the issue of obtaining mirror images (it can be very useful if you are photographing any text document).

And so, closer to the topic ...


Taking a photo with a laptop camera

Check if the camera is on, if there is a driver

The first thing to start with solving this issue is to check if the camera is turned on, if it works. On a number of laptops, by the way, there are specials. button (switch).

Physical switch on laptop webcam

I also recommend to go to device Manager and see if the camera is involved and whether a driver is installed for it (just if there is no driver, all programs for creating snapshots from it will show you a "black screen").

To open the device manager: press the keyboard shortcut Win + R , and in the Run window that appears, enter the command devmgmt.msc , click OK.

Launching Device Manager - devmgmt.msc

Then open the tab "Cameras" and see if your device is there (usually the camera model should be displayed) .

Cameras - Device Manager (driver installed, device running)

If there is no driver, you will see that a yellow exclamation mark will be lit in front of this device (and most likely, it will be in the tab "Other devices" ).

How will a webcam look in Device Manager for which there is no driver

In this case, you need to find and install a driver for the camera. The easiest way to do this is with the help of specials. programs (link below).

To help!

Automatic driver update programs - //

We use the "Camera" application

I can't help but note that usually along with the drivers, specials come with the webcam. manufacturer-specific applications (for example, HP has the "HP Camera" application, which is quite handy). However, if the spec. there is no application - you can do with other tools (I will focus on them).

In general, in modern Windows 8/10 there is a special application for working with a webcam - it is called that. "Camera" ... There is a link to it in the START menu. By the way, it can also be found through the search.

Camera in Windows 10

Immediately after starting the application - the camera should start showing everything that is happening in front of it. To take a picture - just click on the icon with the camera.

To make a photo

The taken photos are saved automatically to a folder "Pictures / Camera Album" .

Pictures - Camera Album

If the built-in app doesn't work (or doesn't)

If the "Camera" application does not work for you (or you are working in an older Windows OS where this "goodness" is not available), you can use alternative methods ...

Option 1

There is a very handy webcam application -Mycam (link to the software portal). What are its advantages:

  • this program sees and supports most modern webcams;
  • allows you to take pictures and record video (including with sound);
  • it is possible to adjust brightness, contrast, shades, etc.;
  • you can apply various effects, etc.

In general, this "combine" should be more than enough for all everyday tasks. After starting MyCam - just click on the "Open Camera" button - the camera should start broadcasting immediately.To take a picture - click on the icon with the camera (at the bottom of the window).

MyCam application - allows you to record videos and photos from a web camera

What is convenient: all the pictures are placed in a photo album, which can be accessed directly from the program (see arrow-3 in the screenshot above).

Option 2

You can also use almost any player, in the settings of which you can specify the source of the video. In my example, I used a regular Media Player Classic (built into the K-Lite Codec Pack). The screenshot below shows the settings window for this player.

Media Player Classic - how to set up your webcam

Then just click on "File / Open device" - and the player will start playing the video from the webcam.

Open device

Then you can take a regular screenshot of the window (in fact, this way we get a photo).

To help!5 ways to take a screenshot of the screen on a laptop - //

Webcam image sent

Supplement (from 1.02.2020)!

If you have Windows 10, please note that it has a special. section of settings, which is responsible for privacy. In it, you can deny access to the camera for various applications.

Note: to configure privacy settings - press the button combination Win + i, and go to the appropriate section. See screenshot below.

Privacy - Camera (Windows 10)

For those who need a mirror image

If you try to take a picture of a document with a webcam, the text on such a photo will almost certainly be "reflected" (ie exactly the same as it would appear in a mirror). Of course, it is almost impossible to read something from the footage.

To fix this, the photo must be taken with a mirror image. Here are a couple of simple ways ...

Option 1

The MyCam program recommended by me above in the options contains one mega-useful switch - "Mirror" (in Russian mirror). So, by turning it on, the image from the camera will automatically be "reflected" (example in the screenshot below).

On the left - the mirror option is off, on the right - on / Clickable

Option 2

If you have already taken a photo, and only then noticed that something is not readable on it, then you can use almost any graphic editor that has the ability to change the geometry of the picture. There are enough opportunities for this task Paint (a simple editor built into Windows XP, 7, 8, 10).

Launch Paint - Windows 10

In Paint click on the tool Flip Horizontal ... See the example in the screenshot below.

Paint - flip horizontally

After this operation, the text on the photo becomes readable ...

Paint - the image has been modified


That's all for now ... Add-ons would be very helpful!

All the best!


First published: 3.05.2019

Correction: 02/30/2020

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