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Where to get a digital passport photo

We all know the business of organising a passport: collecting the forms from the post office, sweating and cursing as you fill in all the minutiae of detail that the authorities need in order to issue this important document.

The photo must be right

One of the most important details is the photo, which must be exactly right. Previously this required a family outing to a suitable photography studio and everyone wearing a dark coloured top, the latter to allow the camera to pick out facial details for posterity. Then would come the chore of trying to get small children and babies to sit still without moving, unsmiling, but also not crying, wriggling off their seat or looking at mum or dad (unless mum or dad are standing right behind the camera).

In short, getting passport photos used to be something of a trial; time consuming, anxiety-creating and expensive. These days, it is much easier to get passport photos taken. It is even possible to take perfectly acceptable photographs yourself, saving time and money.

Taking your own photos

Taking your own photos is very easy these days, when most smartphones contain excellent quality cameras. You can take the picture yourself using a timer feature if your phone offers one, or you can get a friend to snap it for you. Just bear in mind the rules for acceptable passport photos: they must show your head, shoulders and upper body. Do not crop the photo to the same size as the one in your current passport as the passport office will do that when they are laying out your new document – over cropping does not leave them enough to work with. As well as having a neutral expression on your face, you should also make sure that your face is not obscured by any headwear or your hair. It is best to remove glasses too, as the glare from the light on the lenses can obscure your face and make the photograph one that will not be acceptable to the passport office.

If you don’t trust yourself with the business end of a camera, there are still studios that will take pictures for you, and the price is very reasonable. Thanks to the wonders of digital cameras, your photos are ready instantly, or very nearly, and you can ask for a physical set of photos, or digital versions. The latter can be emailed to you, or saved onto a disc or flash drive enabling you to submit an entirely electronic passport application form.

Photo: Selfie by camilla_baier licensed under Creative commons 2

How to make an online passport size photo

Applying for a passport online is a convenient alternative to applying for one through the post. However, switching to these online methods can be tricky, especially when it comes to submitting an acceptable sized photo.

Digital photo dimensions

The most important thing to consider for your online passport photo is the size and quality of the photo itself. There are certain rules that you must follow for this:

• Photo size: Your photo must be a minimum of 600 pixels wide and 750 pixels tall and a maximum of 4000 x 3000 pixels.
• File size: Your photo must be at least 50kb in size and 10mb maximum
• File type: Only .jpg and .jpeg files can be processed
• The photo must also be in focus
• Do not apply any filters to your photo

In order to obtain the correct size and dimensions for your photo, you can choose from an array of online or computer-based editing programs to resize and crop your photo to the required passport regulations.

You can also order your passport photos through the internet if you prefer to have physical copies of them. offer a service where you can order passport photo prints for the whole family where they are validated and delivered to you at an affordable price.

How to get a digital photo

You can use your phone, tablet or camera to take a digital photo for your passport – it is a good idea to have a friend do this to ensure your photo is straight and is taken in the correct way. You can also go to a photo booth – you can now get a code along with your printed portrait photo to retrieve the digital version of it. Finally, you can also similarly get your digital passport photo from a photo shop.

Rules for taking a digital photo

The rules for taking a digital photo, other than the file and photo sizes, follow the same rules for a normal, printed passport photo.

A passport photo will be accepted as long as the photo:

• Is of you looking straight at the camera, face forward
• Shows your face clearly without expression or smile, with your hair back, and without glasses or anything on your head (unless you must for religious or medical reasons)
• Be clear and of good, in-focus quality
• Has a clear, light, plain background
• Has been taken recently, within the last month

Where to get a passport photo taken

The summer is finally here – hoorah! But with the excitement of summer holidays ahead, time of work and school, and swimming pools just waiting to be dived into, you also need to ensure your passport is in date before you plan any holidays.

Part of this is knowing where to get the best passport photo taken, too, whether that’s adult passport photos, or a baby passport photo.

Machines and booths

The easiest and simplest way to get a new passport photo is to visit a passport photo booth. Here, you can get about 4 snaps for £5, so you can keep one if you need to renew your driving licence, or other documentation in the near future.

When taking the picture, many worry it may look unflattering. To help abolish this, you can simply set the seat a little too high, so you’re looking down slightly. Always make sure you have nothing covering your key features, such as hair covering your face.

Top tip: Most of these machines require change, as opposed to cards, so make sure you have some before you get there.


Many chemists, post offices and other local shops will still have the equipment and experience to take the photo for you, if a booth isn’t available. This is a much easier option when photographing for a baby passport, as you have human interaction and don’t have to try and hold them in place on a hard stool for a long period of time!

Take it yourself

One of the trickier ones, and is likely only necessary to do if you’re unable to get anywhere to have a photo taken, or if you’re a bit of a photography whizz. If so, remember the background should be as clean and white as possible so as to not detract from the image itself. You can then take your USB or memory card to the nearest printing shop, so you can print professionally.

For digital passport photos, remember the same rules as before, no hair covering the face, no big cheesy grins, and look down slightly if you want a more flattering look.

How to get a passport photo online

Did you know that you can get your passport photos online? It’s easy, fuss-free and more reliable and convenient than using a photo booth. Taking your photos at home is also the best way to get your child and baby passport photos. This way the photos are checked using an automated system and you can be sure they’ll meet all the stringent requirements of facial recognition for passport photos today. The process is simple and incredibly straightforward.

What are the rules?

Adults need to be looking directly at the camera and have a neutral expression, also glasses and headwear need to be removed. Unlike adult passport photos, those for children under six do not follow the same requirements, which makes life a lot easier. You’ll need a light coloured background and the shot must include head and shoulders. Also, for children, make sure no toys or dummies appear in the photo as these are not allowed.

Take your photo and upload

Choose a space with a light coloured background such as a wall or door. Make sure there is plenty of natural light in the room and dress in a plain top in a bold colour (pale colours tend to blend into the background). Using flash is fine, but make sure you don’t use a photo with red-eye. Make sure the head and shoulders are clearly visible. Once you’ve got your shot, upload to the Paspic website where your photo will be validated using an automated system.

Approve and order

Once your photos have been through the checking system, you can purchase your hard copies. These will be manually checked by staff before being posted to you free of charge. They should reach you in around two working days, so you can complete your application without delay.

Success guaranteed

Around 99.5% of photos produced by Paspic are accepted the first time of asking, but in the unlikely event of your photo being rejected, Paspic will refund your payment or work with you to produce an acceptable photo.

So don’t struggle with a photo booth, hoping that you’ll meet all the requirements. Take your photos in the comfort of your own home and let Paspic take the stress out of taking passport photos.

How to take baby passport photo

Do you need a baby passport photo, but have no idea of how to take one? Then don’t panic as we can help. Your life is busy enough when caring for a new baby, so we’ve made this quick guide on how to take the perfect digital passport photo of your baby in the comfort of your own home. After all, life is hard enough.


When it comes down to taking passport photos for babies, then the golden rule is to relax. For younger babies a good time to snap that photo is just after they have been fed and changed, as the odds are they will sleep. For older babies, make sure they are well rested, with a good time to take that photo being after nap and snack time. This way they are more likely to be still and compliant.

Centre of the screen

The photo will need to show a clear image of baby’s face. The head and shoulders need to be in the centre of the screen, not blurred, and the face not in shadow. It is best to take the photo in a well-lit room with natural light to avoid any unsightly shadows.

Plain background

As with all passport photos, the background needs to be plain. If taking a photo on a change mat for example, then it’s a good idea to add a white or cream blanket, or sheet. There should also be no toys, or dummies, in the shot.

The newborn passport photo

When taking a newborn passport photo then you can support their head, but your hand and arm must not be in shot. A better alternative is to place baby in a car seat, or on a change mat on the floor, while you take the photo.

Mouth and eyes

When it comes to taking a newborn passport photo or a photograph of a baby that is younger than 12 months, then different rules apply to that of an adult. Baby can have their eyes closed and mouth open, so don’t be worried if you can’t keep your newborn baby awake long enough while you take the photo.

Be sure to use our quick and easy digital passport photo service for your baby passport photo.

Photo: Photographer by michelhrv licensed under Creative commons 2

Be cautious about taking your passport photo right after a haircut

It’s understandable that people will strive to look amazing on their passport photo. After all, the image will typically stay with you for 10 years and can be seen by friends, colleagues and airport officials during that time. This is why many applicants choose to treat themselves to a brand new haircut before getting in front of the lens. If you’ve decided to go down this route, you should be cautious about posing for your passport picture immediately after returning from the hairdressers. Here are three things that you need to think about.

Time to settle

It’s true that your hair might look sleek and shiny in those first few minutes after having it styled. However, you should give it time to settle. Colours, for example, might appear bolder than they will in the hours that follow. You don’t want to go to all the effort to take a great passport photo, only to find that your hair settles into something totally different after a wash or two.

Get used to it

The hairdresser will tell you that you look fabulous once they’ve worked their magic. You might initially think this too. Sadly, once you get used to it you might find that it’s not for you and that it needs a complete restyle. It would, therefore, be unfortunate if you’d already snapped a photo and submitted your passport application before coming to this conclusion.

Signs of the hairdressers

It can be hard to see beyond your new ‘do when you leave the hairdressers. Your locks might look perfect, but you could have small strands of hair stuck to your skin or even an inflamed scalp if you’ve only recently had bleach applied. These small details could ultimately leave you unhappy with the picture when you come to analyse it.

Think before flashing

It would be an awful shame for you to end up with an unsatisfactory passport photo just because you jumped the gun and snapped one to show off your freshly cut hair. Due to this, you should think about waiting for a while after returning from the hairdressers. Once you’ve taken a picture that you’re pleased with, be sure to send it over to Paspic so that you can have assurance it meets the government guidelines.

Tips for pregnant women taking passport photos

You’ll almost feel like you’ve got a never-ending to-do list when you’re pregnant. As well as having birthing plans and baby supplies on your mind, you might also find that you’ve got to submit your passport application – and, as a result, take a picture to go with it. Thankfully there are a few handy tricks which should help you to take a decent passport photo as quickly and effortlessly as possible, which you’ll no doubt agree is highly desirable in your pregnant state. Here are three you can try out:

Embrace your glow

It’s not uncommon for girls (and guys) to rush to the make-up counter before taking their passport photo. After all, everyone wants to sport a flawless, blemish-free complexion on such an important picture. However, you don’t need any foundation or blusher to achieve this when you’re with child. Instead, you should embrace your pregnant glow. The fact that this means you can steer clear of make-up should save you some time that could be spent on other baby-related tasks.

Stay sat down

There’s always a temptation to rise to your feet for your passport photo. However, this isn’t demanded in the official guidelines. Instead, the rules simply state that you should flash your picture ‘against a plain cream or light grey background’. Therefore, you should be sure to give your feet a much-needed rest by taking the photo from the comfort of a seat.

Submit it quickly

While life can get in the way of your passport application (namely the possibility of giving birth and becoming a mother) you shouldn’t leave it too long to submit the picture you’ve taken. The guidelines state that all images must be ‘taken within the last month’, so make sure you’re speedy with sending it off or you could find that you need to take another at some point in the future.

Good luck!

A fully completed passport application will be just one less thing that you’ll have to worry about when you’re pregnant. For a helping hand in making sure that your picture will be accepted, be sure to use the great service provided by Paspic.

Photo: Pregnant by be creator licensed under Creative commons 2

Why do babies need passports?

The fact that babies even require a passport may seem a bit strange, but next year will mark 20 years since the government introduced new laws requiring babies to have their own passport. That means we’ve almost had two decades of parents trying to get the perfect baby passport photo so that they can take their baby with them on their travels, but why exactly do babies require a passport in the first place?

Back in 1998, the then Immigration Minister, Mike O’Brien said that child abductions were among the reasons for introducing the new rules. In 1996, there were 374 children who were removed from the custody of their parents illegally and the government acted swiftly to bring in new laws in an attempt to bring the number of abductions down. O’Brien went on to say that child abduction was a problem that was ‘growing’ and with international travel becoming a lot easier, and more people having children outside of marriage, it ‘further complicated’ the situation and forced the government into introducing passports for children.

When the law was introduced, it affected half a million under 16s who would be applying for a passport for the first time. The new passports would last five years instead of adult passports which last 10, a rule which hasn’t changed since the passports have been introduced. Up until then, children didn’t require their own passport and would be entitled to travel on their parent’s passport.

One of the biggest challenges surrounding the new passports was the fact that a child would look very different in a short space of time, so if, for example, a child of three had a passport with a photo in it from when they were a baby, parents may have been required to replace the passport. In fact, the Passport Agency even stated that it was ‘incumbent on the parents’ to ensure their child got a new passport if their appearance changed.

Today, passports for babies and children are just part and parcel of travelling, although getting a baby passport photo can be challenging. If you need any help capturing the perfect passport photo for your baby or toddler, read our guide on how to take a passport photo of your baby.

Funniest passport photo fails

We all know that with the new regulations, getting your passport photo taken and ensuring it is fit for purpose is not straightforward. However some people fall at the first hurdle – and occasionally in the most entertaining ways…

Grandad’s photo fail 1

In 2015 an amused granddaughter shared her grandad’s passport photo disaster to Twitter. The unfortunate gentleman, clearly preoccupied with the list of dos and don’ts that he will have studied ahead of entering the photo booth, managed to press the wrong button. The resulting pictures had decorated his balding head with an assortment of fake cartoon wigs. It soon turned out that he was not alone. Several other grandchildren shared the results of their own grandparent’s efforts – all were modelling a series of cartoon additions to their heads and faces.

Tip: Lots of booths have a ‘fun’ option which will decorate your photograph with various animations and cartoon features. Double check which button you’re pressing.

Grandad’s photo fail 2

Also in 2015, another Twitter commentator shared the results of her own grandad’s expedition to the photo booth. On this occasion, he had somehow managed to select the ‘fun frame’ option, and the resulting picture had him chummily sat alongside famous comedy icon, Ali G. Much to the contributor’s amusement, her grandad was convinced that he had somehow received someone else’s photographs as he had absolutely no idea who Ali G was…

Tip: see previous. Check the buttons carefully!

Baby photo fail

At the other end of the age spectrum, in 2012 one Canadian internet blogger posted a magnificent passport photograph of his five month old son looking, well, a little worse for wear. The picture captured the baby with one eye closed, the other barely open and drool on his drooping jaw. The youngster was soon edited into various memes and photographs indicating he had been partying hard, much to the delight of members of the online community.

Tip: Be prepared to take several pictures to get the shot you want. Ideally go after baby has completely finished napping!

Tips to show personality on your passport photo

There’s little room to show personality on your passport photo – but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. The official guidelines – which ban people from smiling, looking into the distance or posing at an angle – mean that it’s difficult for people to capture some essence of what makes them unique. There are still some routes that you can go down if you want to make your image a little bit more individual. Here are just a few tips to get you started.


There’s actually quite a lot of freedom when it comes to your hair. As long as it doesn’t cover your eyes or face, it’s pretty much fair game. This means that you’re still welcome to experiment with funky ‘dos and adventurous hair dye if that’s what you’re into.


Admittedly, the vast majority of your attire won’t be seen on your passport photo if you take it in accordance with the guidelines. However, there can still be a small amount of your upper clothing on show – especially around the shoulder/neck area. Just make sure you don’t wear a hat or any other form of headgear because it’s not allowed.

Facial hair

Men can try all different styles of facial hair without worrying that it will cause their passport application to be rejected. Beards, moustaches and five o’clock shadows are perfectly acceptable, so there’s no need to shave for anyone who wants to rock one on their passport picture.

Make up

Makeup is fine for those people who want to cover those small imperfections. Whether it’s foundation to add a little bit of colour to your complexion or lip liner to add more definition to your pout, you’re free to wear whatever you want in terms of makeup.

Think carefully

There’s always going to be a temptation to show some personality on your passport photo. After all, the image will stay with you for years and can be used on other forms of identification. However, it’s probably best that you avoid anything that’s too modern or that’s a fleeting trend in case you live to regret the decision later down the line.