How to print passport photos at home

Whether it’s the nightmare trip to the local post office photo booth or the increasing cost of photographing the whole family for passport renewals in time for the annual summer holiday, there’s no denying acquiring passport photos are a hassle. For many people, taking their own digital passport photos at home seems like an easier, cheaper, less stressful way of getting that essential mugshot, especially when taking passport photos for babies or children. But whilst taking a photo at home is much easier, printing them can be a technical and specific process as the finished photo needs to adhere to the official passport photo guidelines, but with these four main steps you will have it printed stress-free in no time.

Step One: you will need a good photo printer, which needs to include high resolution and realistic colour reproduction to achieve a high quality result. An average professional quality inkjet printer with high calibre inks should produce the correct professional-quality print.

Step Two: you will need to print onto photo paper, as this is the same paper used for passports, driving licenses and other kinds of I.D. This should preferably be low gloss or matte paper, so avoid card, printing paper and coloured paper.

Step Three: before printing, ensure you haven’t edited the photo so that it no longer conforms to the requirements. The photo should be 35mm wide by 45mm tall, and photos which have been altered by post-production may be rejected by the passport office. This means you will have to start the whole application again, meaning more cost and effort, so trying to edit away those stray hairs and few spots probably isn’t really worth it.

You will need several photos to send off, so copy the same image and organise the either four or six identical images on the page with a border of at least 5mm between them on all sides. Double check and then check again that the sizing and spacing are correct, and you’re ready to print.

Step Four: if the printer warns you to make changes or adjustments, ignore these prompts if you have double checked the sizing and quality is correct. Once printed, check these again, as well as the physical measurements of the photos with a ruler, and you have your professionally printed passport photos ready to be sent off. The next time you see your handiwork will be on a legal document, ready to travel the world with you.

Photo: Passport by seantoyer licensed under Creative commons 2

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