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Passport photos

Today you don’t need to use cutting-edge photography equipment to take your own passport photo. Thanks to the technological advance of digital photography, even the most ordinary cameras can now produce ID photos of adequate quality. What’s more, you can take a passport photo using a webcam on your computer or a smartphone and at home rather than go to a local CVS. All you need to do is to follow some basic rules.

Here are the essentials to keep in mind when taking government-approved ID photos at home. They will also be helpful both to beginner photographers starting to master the techniques of ID photo business.

When Do You Need a New Passport Photo?

If you are planning to travel in the foreseeable future, you should take a look at your current passport and consider whether you need to renew your photo there. For example, a U.S. passport is valid for 10 years, but in some cases you may need to make a new 2x2 photo before the previous document expires. Do not worry, a simple change of your hairstyle doesn’t require a new ID picture. However, more profound changes in your appearance will certainly call for reshooting. Here is the list of photo renewal requirements:

  • Significant changes in one’s appearance due to adulting or aging (especially relevant to young applicants who got their passport at the age of 16 and should renew it in 5 years instead of 10 years)
  • Facial surgery or serious trauma (except for minor cosmetic procedures)
  • Lost or gained a large amount of weight
  • Gender transition
  • Added or removed extensive facial tattoos or piercings

How to Take a Passport Photo at Home to Meet Official Requirements

So you have decided to replace your current passport photo with a new one. Following the tips below, you can avoid common mistakes and make sure your new ID image meets all the official requirements. Keep on reading to learn more!

Camera Placement and Settings

The optimal distance from the subject to the camera is 2 meters. Full face front view (often including the top of the shoulders) is a must for all kinds of official documents. Zoom in the camera so the face is shown from the bottom of the chin to the crown, with some space below and above the face left. Keep the camera at the level of the subject’s eyes. As regards the camera resolution settings, you can take a good passport picture at 640x480 resolution, commonly available on today’s cameras.

Take a passport photo yourself

Background and Lighting

ID photos must be taken against a uniform plain background. It may be white, white-off, light blue, grey, cream - check out the requirements for each particular document type. The lighting must show the skin tones naturally. It is best to take a passport photo in daylight. If it is impossible, set up appropriate lighting to prevent shadows across or behind the face. Artificial light should come from several sources. If there’s no way around using a flash, the subject must be close to the background to avoid underexposure.

Background dos and don'ts

Facial Expression and Glasses

The photograph must show natural facial expression – no smiling, frowning, or blinking. The subject must look straight into the camera, so the eyes are clearly visible. If the subject normally wears glasses, it is acceptable to keep them on, provided that they don’t have heavy frames or tinted lenses. To avoid glare on the lenses, slightly tilt the glasses downward, or raise the camera a little above the eye level.

Facial expression and glasses in a passport photo

Clothes and Head Covering

The clothing must contrast with the background. If you haven’t thought about the right clothes in advance, it is possible to replace clothes right on the photo at the editing stage. The subject must not wear any hat or head covering in your passport photo. Exceptions are made for religious headwear. However, coverings that obscure the face are not acceptable: make sure the shot clearly shows the facial features from bottom of chin to top of forehead and both edges of the face.

What head coverings to wear in a passport photo

How to Crop Your Photo to Passport Size

After you have made yourself presentable and taken a perfect shot, you still need to crop your ID picture to passport size. Passport Photo Maker is a convenient that will crop and resize the image you have added in accordance with official requirements. All you need to do is to select your country and the type of document you need a photo for. The program automatically recognizes the facial biometrics and marks the top of the head, eyes and chin for future cropping leaving enough space above the head and on each side.

Edit your ID photo in Passport Photo Maker

While on the Edit tab, you can also adjust the color balance, remove red eyes or get rid of shadows. In your pursuit of a more flattering appearance, beware the over-edit as your application can be rejected for an unnatural image. Choose a suitable printing template to fit all your pictures on one page and make sure to use matte or glossy photo quality paper.

Can I Use My Iphone To Take A Passport Photo?

If you do not have a camera with a tripod, simply take a perfect picture with your mobile phone! To make a DIY passport photo with iphone, you will need some help as there is no good way to take this kind of selfie even with a stick. Stand against a plain background and use a neutral facial expression. Ask your assistant to line up your face and body in the frame - the face recognition feature built into the iPhone camera will automatically identify the subject’s face and help avoid tilting.

Take a passport photo with your iPhone

You can make further adjustments in Passport Photo Maker software, and no one will see the difference between the photo taken in a professional studio and the one you shot with your iPhone.

Take your own passport photo at home and easily edit it in Passport Photo Maker! That way you will save money on photographer’s services and get an all-in-one program for preparing perfect photos for all kinds of official documents - visa, driving license, student’s ID card, and many more.

Create and print high quality ID photos with Passport Photo Maker!


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