How to take a great passport photo on your smartphone

In times gone by, the quickest way to get a passport photo involved sitting awkwardly in a cramped photobooth and waiting for what seemed like an eternity for the flash to go off. Now, thanks to the new BETA digital passport photo service, it’s possible to take a passport-ready picture from the comfort of your own home. All you need is a smartphone.

But although having the option to submit a digital passport photo is making the application process a lot easier, your image still needs to meet the strict guidelines. You must:

Look straight at the camera;

Have a neutral expression, with your mouth shut;

Ensure that nothing is obstructing your face;

Make sure there is no glare or shadows distorting the image.

So how can you ensure you get a good enough snap on your smartphone? Here are our top tips:

1. Take your photo during the daytime

Natural light will give you the best results, and will also reduce the chance of your passport picture being obstructed by glare and shadows. If possible, position yourself directly facing a window, and remember you need to be standing in front of a blank background. If there are no plain walls in your home, you can try putting a white sheet behind you.

2. Get some help

Although it’s possible to take a passport-quality ‘selfie’, you stand a much better chance of getting a good passport photo if someone else takes it for you. If you’re taking passport photos for babies or toddlers, you may also need an extra pair of hands to ensure they keep still for long enough. Although bear in mind you can’t submit a child passport photo if someone else is visible in the background.

3. Take your time

In this digital age, we’re used to doing everything instantly, but it’s best not to rush to click ‘send’ once you’ve taken your photo. Try taking several different shots and examining them all carefully to ensure you have an image that meets all the criteria.

If you need more help, check out the online tutorial at

Photo: Smartphone by newkemall licensed under Creative commons 4

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