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Tips for getting a good baby passport photo

We all know that passport photos have to be at a certain standard. You have to be looking straight at the camera, no cheesy grins, and no silly faces. Try telling that to a six month old who just wants to play! Here are some hints and tips on how to get the best baby passport photo, and avoid it being a stressful experience.

Not too excited, not too tired

A tired baby may be too fretful to take a good photo of. If they are in need of a nap and are going to start crying or becoming stressed, put your photo off until another time. Likewise, just after nap time might not be the best time either. When your baby is super lively, they are not going to want to sit still for you while you take your best shot. You know your baby best. Find the time when they are most chilled, as you will be able to get them into the best position more easily. And be prepared to take a few shots!

Use a favourite toy, sound, or TV show

What makes your baby stop everything and just stare? Use it. Whether that’s your partner or a sibling waving a favourite toy over your shoulder, or a favourite cartoon projected on the ceiling, anything that keeps their attention for a few seconds while you take your shot is ideal. Baby sensory videos available for free online can be really useful for this.

Avoid a busy photo shop

Taking a baby to a busy shop where they’re expected to sit in a white room or against a white background and stay still is expecting too much. Babies can become easily overwhelmed by crowds in shops, or alternatively, they might just want to be super social and giggle at everything around them. Taking passport photos for babies at home is quicker, easier on baby and parent, and in most cases, much more cost effective.

Speak to us here at Paspic today to find out how we can help you take baby passport photos at home.

Photo: Baby by smbuckley23 licensed under Creative commons 4

How can I apply for my passport online?

The prospect of completing a passport application is often a daunting one. You may be reluctant to apply due to preconceptions of needing to complete an excessive amount of forms.

Introducing digital applications

The rise of the digital era has thankfully eased the burden on passport applications. You can now apply for your passport online via the government website, as well as being able to update, renew and replace your passport. Online passport application also enables you to easily track the status of your application.

Benefits of online applications

The main benefit of an online application is the elimination of inky mistakes. If you make an error, you can simply press delete and re-complete that section of the form without having to source a whole new document.

You also save money by applying online rather than by post. That £9.50 saving in your pocket can help contribute to your holiday fund!

Things you should know

You need a debit or credit card to pay for your passport online, so make sure this is something you have prior to starting an application, or else you will not be able to process it.

It will take approximately six weeks to receive your UK adult passport, but this process may take longer during busy periods like summer. All other types of application take around 3 weeks, but this duration may also be extended depending on demand and incorrect details in your application.

Online passport photos

Digital passport applications also enable you to upload a digital photo. However, please bear in mind that your digital passport photo must still meet the requirements that are set by Her Majesty’s Passport Office. Our passport photo service is the perfect way to help meet these strict requirements, as 95.5% of our passport photos are approved on first submission.

If you upload your photos with us, you will benefit from our BETA passport photo service that provides both physical and digital copies of your passport photo. Your digital photo can be seamlessly uploaded to your online passport application, making the process even easier.

Can I wear a hat or head covering in my passport photo?

Summer is just around the corner and you might be looking forward to your holiday abroad in the sunshine. In the rush to organise your flights, hotel, and swimsuit collection, however, you might find yourself suddenly realising that you – or a member of your family – need a sudden passport renewal. During this busy period for the Passport Office, it’s particularly important to meet all the photo requirements first time in order to ensure that your application is processed quickly and smoothly. One of the questions that many travellers have each year is: can I wear a hat or head covering in my passport photo? Follow our tips and explanations below to make sure you’re on the right track:

1. Skip the hats

It might be tempting to think about reusing a photo that you love in which you’re wearing a baseball cap or a winter hat. Even if the photo meets all of the other requirements, however, this will not be accepted by the Passport Office. Instead, if you are in need of a quick new photo, opt for our new BETA Digital Passport Service. In addition to a hard copy, you’ll receive a digital passport photo that you can use to complete your application online. You’ll be away on your holidays before you know it.

2. There’s no problem with medical headgear

It’s important to remember that you are perfectly entitled to wear items on your head if it is required for medical purposes. There’s no need to panic about not getting to your dream holiday abroad because of medical equipment showing in your official passport photograph. If you have any concerns, you can always contact the Passport Office or your doctor for answers to any specific questions.

3. Religious head coverings are acceptable

Another exception to this general passport rule is religious attire that covers the head. If you are uncomfortable removing a head covering for a passport photo, there’s no reason to let this stop you travelling the world and enjoying a relaxing trip this summer. As long as other requirements about clarity and angles are all met, you can provide a passport photo that includes your religious garments.

For high-quality passport photos for the whole family, Paspic offers an efficient and reliable service with a revolutionary new digital option. Contact us today for more information or to take advantage of our 99.5% photo approval rate.

Photo: Picnic Hat by basykes licensed under Creative commons 4

How recent does your passport photo have to be?

Your passport application can’t be approved without first submitting a picture. This image will potentially stay with you for up to 10 years – so it’s understandable that you’ll want to look your best on it and be proud to flash it at the border. You might, of course, already have a few cherished pictures that you know would fit this bill and want to use one of these instead. The question is: how recent does your passport photo have to be? Let’s take a look at what you need to know.

Can you use an old photo?

No. This might not be the news that you want to hear, but the guidelines are clear that the image ‘must be taken in the last month’. You’ll be breaking the rules if your image hasn’t been taken within this timeframe and this could cause delays for your passport application – which could be extremely detrimental if you’ve got a trip planned.

Could you try anyway?

It’s not recommended that you breach any of the rules. Aside from the fact that it could delay your application, you’ll also be putting your countersignature in an awkward position. This individual – who must have ‘good standing in the community’ – must vouch that the photo you submit is a true likeness of you. This is unlikely to be the case if the picture is old.

What’s the reason for it?

The point of your passport photo is that it must be a clear representation of your appearance for when you leave and enter different countries. You risk causing delays or arousing suspicion if your passport photo isn’t accurate. Don’t forget that adult passport photos can last for a decade, which is a rather generous timeframe. This means that an older picture will just further compromise how recognisable you’ll be from your passport photo in 10 years time.

It’s time to start fresh!

It’s more than possible to take a new passport picture that you just love – especially since you can now do so from your own home. You can now take your time to take a photo that you’re happy with before having it looked over by Paspic. This way you’ll know it meets all the guidelines before you submit it alongside your passport application.

Could smiling one day be allowed on passport photos?

Your go-to facial expression might be to flash a huge smile when someone whips out a camera. This is fine in your day to day life. You can’t, however, currently do this on your passport photo. This can be a real annoyance for some people, especially those who rarely pose for a picture without showing off their happiest face. The question is: could smiling soon be allowed on passport photos? Let’s look at what you need to know about the future of smiling on passport pictures.

What’s the current rule?

The guidelines state that you must have a ‘plain expression’ with ‘your mouth closed’ on your passport photo. This guideline first came into effect in 2005 in the UK and is arguably one of the most unpopular rules that people have to abide by when submitting their passport application.

Could it change?

It seems that an argument is being built to remove the rule. According to a new study conducted by the University of York in 2018, it would actually be easier for border officials to spot fraud and forgery if people were allowed to smile on their passport photo. Research leader Dr. Mileva explained: “Our research suggests that replacing the neutral expression we usually use when taking identification photographs with an open mouth smile can make face matching an easier decision.”

Have officials commented?

The Home Office have previously stood their ground against questions regarding the function of the ‘no smiling’ rule. In 2017, a spokesperson re-iterated that the guideline had been put into place as a result of the software now being used by e-gates at airports. The explanation read: “When the mouth is open it can make it difficult for facial recognition technology to work effectively.”

It’s picture time!

While you still can’t smile on your passport photo, it’s more than possible to take an image that you’re happy with – especially if you do so from the comfort of your own home. You can then send the image to the team at Paspic, who’ll confirm that the photo meets the guidelines before sending the hard copies back to you.

Photo: smile :) by gudka licensed under Creative commons 4

Can you use a filter on your passport photo?

It’s become a common practice for people to filter their photos. This is thanks to apps like Snapchat and Instagram, both of which have software that gives quick and varied ways of making a picture truly unique before it’s posted online. The question is: can you use a filter on your passport photo? Here’s what you need to know as you prepare to snap your picture.

Are filters allowed?

No, unfortunately not. While this might be bad news for some people who love nothing more than adding a filter their photos, the passport guidelines are pretty clear that the image must be a ‘true likeness’ of the person in the picture. This means that even the slightest tint can flag up questions over whether the photo is accurate enough to be processed along with a passport application.

Has this been tested?

You’re not the first person to question putting a filter on your passport photo. In fact, the passport office was so overrun with filtered photos in 2017 that it had to release further guidance on the matter. A spokesperson said: “The latest Snapchat trend is perfect for happy, funny social media posts, but we must remind the public that these photographs are entirely unsuitable from an international security perspective.”

What can you do?

You’re probably keen to use a filter so that you can guarantee you’re happy with your passport photo. This is understandable. Luckily, this can still be achieved now that you can take your photos at home. It allows you more opportunity to take several images and inspect them all thoroughly to lock down one that you’re happy with. This beats visiting a photo booth, only to find yourself rushed to use the facility and move on.

One last step…

Once you have taken a picture that you’re happy with, your safest bet is to then send it over to Paspic. You’ll be given assurance that your image meets the official guidelines before you send it off with your passport application. In addition, you’ll also be able to get the hard copies posted straight to your address.

Photo: Selfie by anke_allaert licensed under Creative commons 4

Can you change your existing passport photo?

There might well come a point when you just can’t stand to look at your existing passport photo. Whether it’s because you’ve matured a lot since it was taken or whether you’ve changed your style, the sight of it might very well cause you to cringe. If the picture really gets you down then you might want to take action. The question is: can you change your existing passport photo? Let’s look at what you need to know if you choose to go down this route.

Can you change it?

An adult passport lasts for 10 years under most circumstances. During this time the only way to change the picture would be to apply for a renewal. This would mean going through the passport process again and that any time you have remaining on your current passport will be lost.

How much does it cost?

The price varies depending on which way you renew your passport. It’s £75.50 if you do it online or £85 if you fill out the paper form. You will incur additional costs if you go through a fast-track process.

It is worth it?

This question can only be answered by you. You might be particularly sensitive about the picture if you regularly use your passport as a form of ID or if you go abroad quite often. Ultimately, an unfavourable photo is upsetting but it’s up to you to decide whether you can live with it.

Where does the process begin?

You can move ahead with your renewal at any point. Judging by your circumstances, you will probably find it beneficial to first start by taking a new passport photo and ensuring you can get it right. This time you should take it in a place where you’re comfortable, like your own home, before having it checked over by Paspic.

It’s your decision!

If you do decide to move ahead with a passport renewal, don’t forget that you can take advantage of the service provided by Paspic. You’ll not only have peace of mind that the image is suitable and will be accepted alongside your application, but you will also have hard copies sent to your address.

Where is the best place to take a passport photo in your home?

It’s never been more convenient to secure passport photos. After all, you can now take the photo from your own home! Since you no longer need to visit a photo booth, the only thing you really need to do to start the process is to find a suitable spot in your property. The question is: where’s the best place to take a passport picture in your home? This is what you need to know to make sure things run smoothly.

Think of the background

Unfortunately, you can’t just take your picture in any old place like you would with a normal selfie. Instead, you’ll have to position yourself in front of a suitable background. The official guidelines state that the spot you choose must be ‘a plain light-coloured background’. This rules out any spots where there may be patterned wallpaper or brightly coloured paint in the shot.

Watch out for light

It’s vital that you pay close attention to the lighting when choosing a place in your home. This is because your photo might be deemed unacceptable if ‘there are any shadows on your face or behind you’. If it’s determined that there are shadows in the image, it’s possible that your picture will be refused and you will have to submit another.

Find somewhere quiet

The actual passport guidelines don’t specify that you should take your photos in an area that is quiet. However, it’s certainly in your interest to do so! There are quite a number of rules to familiarise yourself with before getting in front of the lens and you’ll need to focus on adhering to these as you pose for the photo. If you’re distracted or struggling to concentrate it’s likely that you’ll fall short of meeting all the criteria.

Good luck!

Don’t worry, you’ll find the process to be simple and convenient. The best part is that after you’ve taken a passport photo that you’re happy with you can have it checked over by Paspic. This will give you peace of mind that it’s suitable, as well as ensure you have hard copies posted straight to your home.

When is the best time to take your child’s passport photo? Three reasons to do it after school

It can be notoriously difficult to sit a child down for a passport photo. In fact, the passport office has even recognised that it’s no walk in the park by making some guidelines age-specific. For instance, anyone who’s six or under don’t have to be looking directly at the camera or have a neutral expression on the image. As you familiarise yourself with these rules, you should probably start thinking about the perfect opportunity to take your child’s passport photo. How about right after school when they first get home? Here’s how this timeframe could potentially make the task much easier.

Polished appearance

Your son or daughter will be guaranteed to look dapper on their passport picture if they’re wearing a smart school uniform. Yes, they might need a comb running through their hair and a tissue to wipe their nose, but after this, you’re probably looking at a generally presentable passport photo. Don’t forget, the image can always be used for non-passport purposes, such as if you were to share it with relatives.

Little energy

It’s rare that a youngster ever appears to be running low on energy. However, you might find that they take a while to snap out of first gear after finishing a day at school. There’s a small window where you can hopefully convince your child to sit still without fear that they’ll be raring to do something else.

Free time

You and your child can take your time when you choose to snap a passport photo after school. After all, in the morning you’ve got the school run and in the evenings you’ve got dinner time, bath time and bedtime. You should find that the process runs much smoother for everyone involved if you’re less pressed for time. It also reduces the likelihood of submitting a picture that will be rejected for not meeting the guidelines.

Good luck!

Hopefully, you won’t need luck if you’re well prepared for taking your son or daughter’s passport photo. Remember that you can always have its quality double checked by sending it over to Paspic. This way you’ll have assurance that you won’t need to go through the rigmarole again, as well as benefiting from the convenience that comes from taking the photos at home.

Which people can sign a passport?

It’s more than possible to independently complete the majority of your passport application – that is until you require a countersignature. This is a person who can vouch for your identity by signing the back of one of your passport photos. The problem is that this individual can’t just be anyone from your life. Instead, it has to be a person who meets certain strict criteria. With this in mind, let’s take a look at which people can sign a passport.

Who can you choose?

It’s not as easy as just picking any friend, neighbour or family member and hoping that this person will suffice. Instead, the countersignature must be someone who you’ve known for two years or more, who isn’t a family member and who doesn’t currently live at your address. In addition, you can’t be in a relationship with them. They must also be a ‘person of good standing in the community’. Ultimately, this means that they must be part of a certain profession.

Which professions qualify?

There are more than 40 professions deemed acceptable to make someone qualify as an appropriate countersignature. The list of occupations includes police officers, doctors, barristers, journalists, civil servants, airline pilots and funeral directors. You’ll need to familiarise yourself with the full list to decide which person from your life would be the most suitable and practical choice.

What do they need to do?

The countersignature just needs to write ‘I certify that this is a true likeness of [title and full name of adult or child who is getting the passport]’ on the back of one of your passport photos, with their signature and the date. This then means that your passport application can be processed without any doubt over your true identity.

Good luck!

Don’t forget that you’ll first need to have suitable passport pictures before you can recruit a countersignature. The best way to do this is by using the service provided by Paspic. This way you’ll be able to take the photos from home, be confident that they meet the government guidelines and have the hard copies sent straight to your address to be signed by your countersignature.

Photo: Signature by hierher licensed under Creative commons 4