UK Home Office allows mobile phone passport photos

The UK Home Office may just have sounded the death knell for passport photo booths across Britain after it announced it will now accept passport photographs that have been taken on smartphones and tablet devices for passport renewals made online.

Owners of photo booths will no doubt be concerned that the decision will result in a significant loss of business. Indeed, The Imaging Alliance, which works on behalf of UK photography professionals, has already voiced concerns about the long-term viability of the 6,000-plus photo booths located across the country.

The purpose behind the ruling is to make it simpler for British passport holders to renew their passports. Those applying to the UK Home Office for a British passport for the first time or those wishing to replace a stolen or lost passport must still obtain countersigned physical images.

The Home Office confirmed to passport holders that smiling faces will not be tolerated and nor will ‘selfie’ style shots, as reiterated by a Home Office spokesperson: “A ‘selfie’ photograph is [still] not allowed in a passport application. Customer guidance clearly says that ‘selfies’ are not permitted and that the photo needs to be taken from a distance of approximately 1.5m.”

For those who’d prefer to sit in the comfort of their own home and take their passport renewal photos using their own mobile device, it’s still very important that you don’t waste time sending off your renewal with an invalid picture; especially if you’ve left it to the last minute to renew your passport ahead of an exciting family holiday.

That’s where comes in.

We’re the online solution for validating, printing and delivering your UK passport photographs when you need it most. For ultimate peace of mind, simply send us your intended passport renewal photo and our experienced team will do all the legwork to reassure you that it meets the important regulations stipulated by the Home Office. Once you’re happy and we’re happy, we’ll deliver you four professional UK passport prints free within just two working days. We can’t say fairer than that!

Four uses for your spare passport photos

If you give the process plenty of thought, there is a very good chance that you could end up extremely happy with your passport photo. In fact, you could be so thrilled with the outcome that you dread the prospect of the spares going to waste. Luckily, there is a way that you can get full use out of the extra snaps. With this in mind, here are four other uses for your passport photos.

Keep them spare

You will be best served to keep at least two spare copies of your photos. After all, if your passport application were to get lost in the post you would only be required to take new pictures. Another issue that could arise is to do with the suitability of your countersignatory. For instance, if your current pictures were signed by someone who is ineligible to act as a countersignatory, you could just have the spares signed by someone more appropriate.


You will need a small picture for most forms of identification. Therefore keep your photos spare in case you ever need them in future. You can even use your photos for your driving licence as the DVLA picture guidelines are remarkably similar to the passport picture guidelines.

Job applications

Although it’s becoming rather uncommon, some jobs may require that you send a picture along when you apply for a role. Your passport photo could be perfect to attach because it will have a certain level of formality – in terms of your straight face and the picture’s clarity – that an employer will be impressed with.


Passport photos are ideal to hand out to your family and friends. Because of their size, they are easy for your nearest and dearest to keep in places such as their wallet or purse. Additionally, it will be a picture that you approve of rather than one they have taken themselves.

The more the merrier

You really can’t go wrong with investing in a handful of passport photos. After all, the pictures are handy to have spare just in case you ever need one at a minute’s notice.

Top tips on how to keep a straight face when taking your passport photo

We all know that sometimes when you need to be ‘serious’, you can descend into a fit of giggles, and if someone else is taking your photo you can get a little distracted or camera shy. This, however, isn’t the desired face required for a passport photo – you need to be serious (for a moment), and so here are some simple tips on how you can keep a straight face when taking your passport photo.

1) Breath deep

Breathing really helps your focus, so before you go to take your passport photo, compose yourself and take a few deep breaths. This should allow you to calm down.

2) Clench your teeth

This helps prevent you from laughing, which is what we want to avoid, so keep your mouth firmly closed.

3) Don’t think about the situation

Distract your mind with something that will make you feel serious, so it reflects on your face; for example, the time someone really annoyed you, or you got offended by a comment. Distract so you don’t react!

4) Think maths

If you are struggling to think of a negative situation to distract your mind, give yourself the hardest maths sum or calculation to work out, as this will keep you focused.

5) Clench your fists

This doesn’t have to be overly aggressive, but clenching your fists can help make you feel more focused and serious so you get the perfect passport photo for your travels.

6) Light bite

Bite down (lightly) on your tongue or the inside of your cheeks – this can help focus your face and mind so that you don’t relax and laugh.

If you take these simple but effective tips on board, then getting the perfect passport photo shouldn’t last more than a few minutes, and then you can laugh and giggle to your heart’s desire. Remember that if your passport photo isn’t perfect, your passport cannot be approved, so don’t waste time and ensure you become one of the 99.5% of customers who have their passport photo approved on its first submission with!

Does your passport run out in 2017? 4 reasons you shouldn’t wait to renew

It’s being predicted that record-breaking numbers of British citizens will be choosing to holiday in the UK in 2017. This is said to be the result of the pound plummeting in value and Brexit. For many people whose passports are set to expire this year, there is sure to be a temptation not to renew it immediately. However, this does come with its downsides. There are actually many reasons why you should start the process of getting a new passport – here are just four that you should really give some thought to:

1. The weather

The weather is more unpredictable than ever in this country, so you really can’t rely on the small chance that there could be a sun-soaked summer on the horizon. Instead, the only way that you can guarantee some rays is by heading abroad.

2. Unplanned travel

Always remember that it’s not just the weather that pulls people abroad. Instead, you could be asked to head overseas for commitments such as work or weddings. You surely don’t want to be unprepared if these were to be sprung upon you with very little notice.

3. Your passport photo

You will need a fresh photo whenever you get a new passport. The rules are very clear that you will need one even if your appearance hasn’t changed since your last one. Since the image can stay with you for a decade, you’ll want to give the picture-taking process plenty of thought to make sure that you end up with one that is not just suitable, but also one that you like.

4. Unexpected delays

The process for getting a new passport can actually vary in length. In some circumstances, there can be severe delays if your passport photo or countersignatory doesn’t fit the strict guidelines. On the other hand, if you are on the ball, you won’t find yourself trying to complete the process against a tight deadline.

Don’t wait

Always be sure to keep an eye on your passport’s expiration date. Once it passes, there are many benefits to getting a head start and renewing your passport within a comfortable timeframe.

Common reasons passport photographs are rejected

According to the passport authorities, around 20% of online passport applications are rejected as the applicant has their eyes shut on photographs. A recent case hit the headlines when an Asian heritage man had his application rejected nine times as the software used to automatically measure and reject such criteria decreed that his eyes were shut, even though they weren’t.

Although shocking, this example illustrates the fine line between what is acceptable to the algorithms that measure images, and what you feel makes a good passport photograph.

It can be hugely frustrating to go through the process of applying for a passport only to be rejected due to an oversight – particularly as some of the criteria may seem arbitrary to us mere mortals. It can also cause a lengthy delay which may impact your holiday plans.

Surprisingly, people still make the mistake of thinking they can submit a snap that is not even regulation size or shape, or ones scanned from other places.

Many photographs are rejected due to the natural human reaction to a camera – a smile. This is considered a facial distortion, and it is important to keep a “straight face” for the shot you use.

Other photographs are rejected as the subject has left their glasses on, has what is considered excessive makeup or is adorned with jewellery. They may also be wearing something that casts a shadow over their face or even gives the impression they are naked due to bare shoulders. One of the most common mistakes too is hairstyle: hair has to be back off your face, so that elaborate “do” will have to wait for your holiday.

The background has to be completely plain cream, white or pale grey – and well lit. Another common cause of passport photograph rejection is if there are “alien” objects in the background (shadows or other distractions) or that the image is overexposed and too bright, making detail hard to read.

All of this can make you feel uncomfortable and stiff when getting your photograph done, but you do need to relax and look as natural as possible. The image will be rejected if you are not sat naturally, looking straight at the camera.

If in doubt, use Paspic to approve your passport photo in advance and go into your application process with “your eyes wide open”.