How to take a good passport photo

A passport photo is something that a lot of people get wrong because they don’t understand the specific requirements.

This can drag out the passport application/renewal process, as passport offices will return your application if it does not meet the necessary standards. So, it’s in your interest to make sure that the passport photo is right.

Even if the application goes through, there’s the risk that when you’re rushing through an airport somewhere or trying to cross a border, the process can take longer with a bad passport photo.

Follow these key tips, and your photo should be accepted.

The right background

The passport photo should have a background which is ideally cream or light grey. It’s important that it’s not textured too, so if possible it’s better to use a wall for your background than a sheet.

Remember that natural lighting is essential, as if there is too much glare on your face or visible shadows, you run the risk of having the photograph refused. Your face needs to be clear.

The right position

A quick way of getting your passport photo refused is to have it cropped too close to your head. Remember, the passport office will crop the photo to fit into your passport, you don’t have to.

Ideally, you want to make sure that you have some free space around your head and shoulders, and that a decent proportion of your upper body can also be seen in the photo to help with identification.

The right look

Smiling is not something you want to do in a passport photograph, indeed any expression at all is undesirable. Try and rest your face in as neutral a pose as possible, remember that it’s not a fashion shoot.

Also make sure you remove any hats, scarves, or other items which might otherwise obscure your face. If you wear glasses it’s best to take them off, but if you need to leave them on then make sure they don’t pick up any glare in the lenses from the light.

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