I find myself interested in the possibilities for using a laptops built in webcam for photography - particularly for interesting stock photography or for setting up cool shots for startup types to put on their social media.

Are there any established photographers, or even sets of shots, that look at what can be done with a built in webcam as a tool?

This question is NOT about how to fake a webcam-eye shot using other equipment. It's "Given this tool, what can be done with it?"

Good answers would look like: "Yes, this person has some amazing shots, by using this technique" or "No, because of these technical limitations on the device in question", or even "Look how cool this photo is that I took right now with my laptop camera"

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    \$\begingroup\$ Pro Photographer Cheap Camera #6, youtube.com/watch?v=VMjZw1WB9mk \$\endgroup\$
    – user50888
    Aug 2, 2017 at 15:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ I guess you won't be able to sell the pictures as stock shots, although you definitely can create interesting images, some of which could be considered as art. \$\endgroup\$
    – dannemp
    Aug 2, 2017 at 15:13

2 Answers 2


As Rafael shows in his answer, there are some people of note who use such an approach.

You'll probably never have any success doing that in the world of stock photography where technical image quality has become an obsession, though. As the market value of stock images has plummeted the cost of entry from an equipment and technique standpoint has never been higher.

While it is true that better gear won't make you a better photographer, it is equally true that any photographer is limited by the capabilities of the gear being used.

There's a saying that has been around photography for a long, long time: Gear doesn't matter.

This is true, but it is only a part a larger truth.

The fuller truth is: Gear doesn't matter... until it does.


I am not giving you the answer you are looking for.

Good photo is about light, theme, composition, not if the camera is still attached to a bulky laptop. I supose you can carry your laptop to make street photography pointing your screen to people. I guess you can practice aiming without seeing what is going on.

Another option could be aiming at a spot on a studio, with good lighting and performing there. Jennifer Chau does this, as highlighted in Pro Photographer, Cheap Camera #6 by YouTube channel DigitalRev TV (link provided by @ben rudgers).

But as you can see, if the camera is atached to the laptop or not is pointless. The posibilities are the same, but the mobility and composition tools are not.

I guess a blogger could brag about taking photos with the webcam. But a serious photographer will care more about taking a good photo than the camera model.

As a social media experiment, recopilating footage or photos from diferent users is interesting and you can see some colaborative videos on youtube.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Professional photography (i.e. the kind done for the purpose of making money from selling stock images) is very competitive. Few serious players would consider using an inferior instrument (laptop webcam as compared to a pro grade camera). The Arts & Entertainment is different story... \$\endgroup\$ Aug 3, 2017 at 13:35

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