Most smartphones, tablets and laptops come with a built-in webcam, but they’re not just for Skype. You can use a webcam to take a quick snap – perhaps to update your Facebook, Twitter or Google+ avatar.
Your laptop or PC might come with software that can do this (search the Start menu for camera, webcam or the manufacturer name to see if there’s a utility) but you can also use a handy website: webcamtoy.com.
We’re using Google Chrome here, but in your browser, go to www.webcamtoy.com and click the pink ‘Ready? Smile!’ button to start.
Click on the Use my camera! button to grant permission for the site to access your camera. No photos are saved or stored online unless you choose to share them.
You might see another button asking for permission in your browser’s top or bottom bar.
You’ll see a live preview from your webcam. Click the cog to choose options. By default there’s a countdown timer after you click the shutter button.
Using the arrows in the middle, you can scroll through the available effects, including the obligatory set of Instagram-style filters plus distortion and mirror effects.
Click the camera button to take the photo and, if you like the shot, click the Save button to immediately download it to your computer. Alternatively click the Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr buttons to share the photo.