The world of passport photos often feeds us with stories from across the globe, some more strange than others.
What we saw reported on the Australian news and features website, Gizmodo, certainly raised a few eyebrows this month. They had been all the way to Cuba to interview Lian Marrero, who appears to be doubling up on his job as passport photographer.
Rather than moonlighting in a different profession once his customers have gone home, Mr Marrero has added a niche to the service he provides, which might well save his happy clients a lot of money in new suits!
This is how it works; customers arrive at Mr Marrero’s studio wearing nothing more than casual clothes – jeans and a T-shirt will do. Mr Marrero then takes their photo as normal, but when they leave the magic occurs. Mr Marrero happens to be a whizkid on Photoshop, and is able to super impose a suit onto the passport photos so well it appears that the subject is dressed in full formal wear. This came after Mr Marrero encountered problems with customers dressing too casually for their appointment, meaning Mr Marrero had to lend them a suit to wear. He very soon cottoned onto the fact the process would be made a whole lot easier with the Photoshop technique.
Apparently in Cuba it is highly desirable to look smart in passport photos, and for this reason Mr Marrero has developed very good custom across the country. Customers are even able to choose the kind of suit they want, from three piece to a cool jacket and cardigan look.
Mr Marrero has his competitors, and there are other photographers that now offer the same service. But the good news is that they all work as a group; they’re happy to swap photographs of the latest suits that customers might want to pick from.
So if you work in any kind of capacity that requires you to view passports from around the world, maybe you will no longer be surprised that Cuban men all appear to be smart professionals!
No-one likes having their picture taken. For most of us, having a passport photo done is an unpleasant ordeal with an inevitably disappointing ending that we will have to carry around with us in our pockets for years. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Here are five essential tips to achieve passport photo contentment.
1. Hairy, not scary
You may be proud of that bushy beard, but will you still have it in 10 years’ time? Too much unruly face fuzz can leave you looking like someone who spent the night sleeping in a hedge. Trim and tidy is the way to go, and getting a haircut isn’t a bad idea either, although don’t get your photo done straight away. Give your new haircut a few days to bed in, or your photo will just look like you were trying too hard.
2. Cool threads
Remember that your passport photo will follow you around for several years, so don’t wear anything too trendy or outlandish. Stick to classic looks that won’t go out of date in six months, and avoid bright or garish colors that could bring out imperfections in your complexion. What should men wear for passport pictures?
3. Get some sleep
It’s a good idea to get your photo done when you’re at your brightest, which for many people will be in the morning, rather than after a full day’s work. So make sure you get plenty of sleep the night before, or you’ll end up with a photo that makes you look like a fugitive on the run.
Smiling on demand is not natural, nor is sitting upright and staring into a lens. But, as with everything else in life, practice makes perfect. You won’t need to develop Hollywood celebrity levels of camera-technique, but it won’t do any harm to practice your neutral smile and relaxed demeanor in front of a mirror.
5. Get help
If you want something done properly, turn to a professional. Nearly 100% of Paspic passport photos are approved on the first submission, so get in touch and let Paspic provide you with a high-quality Digital passport photo you won’t be ashamed of!
Most of us have had experience with getting a set of passport photos which have turned out rather badly. Either we look nothing like the person we recognise from the mirror, or there are errors that won’t pass Her Majesty’s Passport Office. 100 years ago, when passports first required photographic content, the rules were more relaxed.
When Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of Sherlock Holmes, applied for his passport in 1915, he posed with his wife and children, as if for a family portrait. The two boys were sat in a little toy cart. There were no photo booths of course, so the would-be travellers would probably have to go to a studio. For those with access to a camera, this was not even necessary. A French mother and child were pictured on a beach. In those days, there were no strict criteria.
In order to visit the troops on the Western Front, the Archbishop of Canterbury appeared in his full regalia and robes for his passport photo, he was even bearing his elaborate crozier.
A passport was just a sheet of paper, folded over. When Lord Palmerston was asked by Belgian authorities in 1835 to state his height and eye colour on his, he declared such a suggestion was both “degrading” and “offensive.” Personal descriptions and photographs became required with the onset of World War I to offset fears of spies. This was still not without problems. Explorer Bassett Digby was not impressed when his own definition of his face as “intelligent” was changed by the Passport Office to “oval”. It was not until 1932 that British passports were encased in blue cardboard and turned into a booklet, a version which survived until 2003. The rule about not wearing hats in passport photos came in in 1926. Smiling was banned in 2004.
The burgundy covered British passport we now carry comes with a long list of over 20 rules for photos. These are mostly due to biometrics which measure the distance between facial features. You can be sure of getting perfect passport photos every time if you use our services here at Paspic.
We all love a trip abroad. Whether for business or a family break, a romantic weekend away or that trip of a lifetime with friends, it’s always great to be sitting on that plane, drink in hand, thinking of your final destination.
You’ve spent weeks planning where you’ll go, what you’ll see and what you’ll wear. The cases have been checked repeatedly and your travel guide has been a constant companion during the hours before bedtime. However, imagine after all that you reach the airport to be told you can’t board your flight. If you’re thinking about a trip to the United States any time soon, it could happen to you.
As of last month, all UK visitors travelling to the country are required to possess a biometric passport. Those travellers wishing to apply for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) online, allowing stays of up to 90 days, must have one.
First introduced in 2006, biometric passports are now the most common type of passport in this country but estimates show that up to one million Brits may be using the old versions.
If you want to renew, a number of passport application forms can be picked up online and sent in. As has always been the case, ensuring your passport photo meets requirements is vital. You don’t want to spend all that time on an application only for your photo to be rejected.
The passport office includes a full list of guidelines on its website but we at PasPic are also on hand to help. If you have any concerns or questions relating to the perfect passport photo, simply get in touch today with a member of our dedicated team. 99.5% of all our photos are approved on their first submission so you can be sure you are in safe hands.
We offer a simple online passport photo service and if your picture isn’t approved first time, we offer a full money back service.
So if you want to know more about applying for a passport or renewing your passport to meet the new biometric standards, get in touch today.
Meeting all the requirements for a passport photo can be hard enough for adults: no hair is allowed to cover the face, no glasses, no headscarf, no smile… the list is endless! But to get a decent baby passport photo that meets all regulations can be even more difficult! Fear not, because we’re here to help.
Just make sure that you take a photo of your baby with his/her face in the center of the picture. Upload it to Paspic and we’ll do all the hard work! Here are our five top tips on getting the perfect baby passport photo:
1. Do it yourself
Lay your baby on an off-white sheet and take a picture from above with a digital camera. You can then upload the image to paspic.com, where our team will manually ensure that your photo meets all standards, before sending a hard copy out to you and email to you a compliant digital passport photo to upload to your online appication..
2. Do it outside
You should ensure that there is no glare from the flash or artificial lighting in the picture. We recommend going outside on a sunny day and using natural light instead of a flash. This eliminates most of the shadows and all of the glare.
Editing software like Photoshop can be very handy. Position your baby against a white background and kneel below, holding him or her up. Get your partner or a friend to take the picture, and upload it to your computer. Using Photoshop, edit out your hand before sending it to us for final approval.
4. Use a white sheet
Sit on a stool and cover yourself completely with a white sheet, then sit your baby on your lap. This way, neither you nor your hands will be seen in the photograph.
5. Use distractions
If you’re having trouble getting your baby to look at the camera, hang a multi-colored mobile or toy above the camera to focus their attention. This gives the illusion that the baby is looking at the camera. Remember, children under 12 months old do not need to be looking directly at the camera.
You can watch our video tutorials for further advice on getting the perfect picture: Passport photo of your baby