How to prepare in advance for a passport photo

Passport photos last for years, but it always seems to surprise you when a new one is needed (unless it’s a baby passport photo, of course).

However, that day does come round every so often and, when it does, you want to make sure your image is as perfect as possible. After all, you will have to use it for many years to come! Here’s how to prepare for the ideal passport photo.


Bear in mind that only your upper chest and above will appear in the photo, so dressing in your best trousers isn’t going to make a difference.

Focus on the shirt you wear, picking something that’s comfortable yet appropriate. Think about what you’d wear to a smart-casual event.

Also, ditch the jewellery and try to avoid bright colours, both of which can leave a less flattering appearance in a black and white photo.

Finally, don’t wear the same clothes you used for the previous photo. It has been known for people to have their photo rejected because the authorities thought it was the same one from years before!


Have it cut about two weeks before the photo, giving it a bit of time to grow out and look natural.

Also, don’t go for the model look on the day – just stick with the same hairdo you have every other morning. The photo is for passport control to recognise you, not a fashion agency to hire you.


If you have poor eyesight, ditch the glasses for the day. Although they tend not to cause problems, the glare off them can sometimes reflect in the photo.


Finally – and this relates to your eyes also – get enough sleep the night before and steer clear of any wild parties.

No matter how hard you try on the day, if you were downing shots the night before, those bags under your eyes will be impossible to get rid of. If you doubt this, just ask any student who got their registration card picture taken during Freshers’ Week!

Photo: by eflon licensed under Creative commons 2

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