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Many new Macs come with Photo Booth, Apple’s application that tries to replicate the old-time photo booths once found in the local five-and-dime. Using a simple interface, you take a picture by clicking a red circular camera button. After clicking the button, Photo Booth starts an audible and visual countdown (3 - 2 - 1), then flashes the screen white (to brighten the image) and snaps the picture. After the shutter clicks, your picture drops down into a holding area below the iSight window. That’s all fine and dandy, but the three-second lag and audible countdown can get a bit annoying after a while.

If you’d like to have Photo Booth take a picture right now , the solution is simple—just hold down the Option key before you click the red camera button. The screen will still flash, and you’ll hear the shutter effect, but there won’t be a countdown of any sort. You still can’t use this technique to take rapid-fire images, as you’ll be forced to wait for each picture to drop down into the holding bay. But you will save three seconds per shot (oh, the productivity gain!) and you won’t be subject to the beep - beep - beep countdown timer.

Note: I’m headed to the MacMania 5 cruise —Dan Frakes and I will be filing dispatches for the MacMania blog all next week. But since I’ll be bobbing around the Western Caribbean, I may not be able to respond right away in the forum thread to any questions about this hint. Thanks for your patience.

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