A parent’s guide to baby passport photos

It will come as no surprise to parents that babies are some of the most difficult subjects for photographers to capture on camera. And when it comes to getting a great baby passport photo, getting a good shot on the first try is paramount. While some kids may have an easy time staying still for the photo, some parents will need a few good ideas to get the perfect passport photo. Here are a few you can try:


Make sure to schedule your appointment during a time of day when your little one won’t be overly tired or overly energized. For some, this might mean an hour or half an hour before their regular naptime, while for others it will be right after waking up. The important thing is that they aren’t too cranky to stay calm, but aren’t too excited to make sitting still an impossibility.


Keeping your child calm during the photo is important, since passport photos need to reflect a neutral calm expression. For infants, laying them down on their back looking up is a great way to make sure they are relaxed, while sitting toddlers upright is a good way to go. Take the photos at home or in a place you know they are feeling comfortable. For young infants, a white noise machine or gentle music can be used to maintain a peaceful atmosphere.

Avoid the flash

Most photographers will tell you that natural light is the way to go. It’s not just because the flash tends to flatten-out photos, but because they are a quick way to send a baby into a sour mood. Taking your photos by a window or even in your backyard can be good options.

A two-person job

If you are having trouble getting that perfect passport photo with your child, try enlisting the help of your spouse, a friend, or family member. While one of you stands behind the camera with your finger on the button, the other should be near the child to make sure they are looking in the right direction, as well as feeling comfortable. After a few tries you should be able to get the pose you are going for.

5 more tips for taking a good passport photo

The results of a passport photo session are going to be with you for many years to come, which is why it’s important to pose correctly. You would like to have your appearance represented correctly to avoid problems with security officers at airports. The best news is that there are few tips which can come in handy for accomplishing this task. You’ll only need face powder, makeup, and hair gel.

Review the regulations

Ensure that you take the photo according to the government’s specifications. In the U.S., it should be colored and 2 inches-by-2 inches. Use a white background and face the camera. Professional photographers understand these requirements, but if you plan to do-it-yourself, observe this and print the photos on high-quality paper.

Wear correct attire

A solid-colored T-shirt or collared shirt will do. Don’t wear neutral colors like black, gray or white. Instead, consider your skin tone to select the appropriate color for your case. People with pale skin should go for jewel tones, while dark skinned people look good when wearing vibrant colors.

Use makeup

This is not necessarily in the context of ladies who apply beauty enhancing makeup on their faces. Face powder to absorb the oil on your face will do. Tap some of it on your nose and forehead before the photo session. Women can add clear lip gloss, mascara, and blush for an elegant look, but avoid going overboard.

Wear your prescription glasses

This is particularly applicable if you wear your glasses on a daily basis. When taking the photo, tilt the glasses slightly down on the nose to avoid any glare. Ensure that your eyes are clearly visible behind the lenses. If you use your glasses occasionally, then take them off.

Sit upright

To maintain an upright position, push your shoulders back while holding them down. Stick out your chin an inch or two farther than its normal position and hold it there. You can ask the photographer to countdown from three so that you can blink before photo is taken to prevent a mid-blink. When smiling, keep your lips together and avoid broad smiles.

4 passport tips to make your life easier

When you’re getting ready to travel internationally, there are plenty of potential obstacles you may have to overcome, and some that are entirely avoidable if you plan ahead and travel smart. In fact, there are a number of things you can do with your passport that will make travel a lot less of a headache. Here are some of our favorite passport tips that can save you time, money, or just general hassle:

1. Personalize your family passports

If you’re traveling with your children abroad, you are going to need to get a child passport photo taken and apply for a passport for each of your children. That means there are more documents that you’ll be in charge of during the logistics of getting on and off the plane. One way to save time at security and customs is to put a personalized sticker for each family member on his or her passport, so you can keep them organized and give the right one to the right person when the time comes, rather than having to open every single one.

2. Maximize your blank pages

Often, when you get to customs, the agent will open your passport to any blank page to stamp it, which can lead to pages getting used up a lot faster than they’d otherwise need to. So instead of having to get a new passport when your pages get used up, maximize space by simply asking the customs agent to stamp on a particular page, or put Post-it notes over the blank pages to discourage stamping there.

3. Find out if you’ll need a visa

We often assume that we’ll only need a passport when traveling abroad, but there are certain countries and circumstances when you might also need a visa, and you don’t want to be stuck on the day of travel without one. Check the US State Department website to find country specific information.

4. Double and triple check if your passport is valid

If it isn’t, it’s not the end of the world. You can easily take new passport pictures online here at Paspic and apply for a new passport – you just want to make sure you give yourself enough time, or you’ll be stuck paying fees to expedite the process.

4 tips that will help you beat the passport rush

Did you know that 2016 is expected to be a landmark year for passport applications? It’s true, and it has to do with a ten year-old decision that requires Americans to have a passport for travel to Canada and Mexico. Back in 2006, passport applications hit the 17 million mark and now they’re expiring, numbers are expected to surge up to 20 million or more this year. So, whether you are looking to travel to one of our neighboring countries, or anywhere else in the world for that matter, one question rises to the surface: how can I beat the rush?

The good news is there are a few strategies you can use to make sure you get your travel documents in order in record time. Take a quick look and save yourself a mountain of hassle.

1. Apply by mail

One great way to cut down on time spent in line is to just avoid the lines all together and apply on the internet. It will take less time and you can do it from the comfort of your own home. Who could ask for more?

2. Try an expedited request

For an extra $60 you can put in an expedited request, which will automatically put your application at the top of the stack. The only downside is, you will need to visit the passport office in person. Is an hour spent queuing worth a few weeks saved on your application? You decide.

3. Make an appointment

If you do decide to head into the passport office for an expedited request, your best bet is to set an appointment, so you don’t find yourself waiting behind all of the other walk-ins. This way, you’ll be in and out in no time.

4. Get a professional passport photo taken

Believe it or not, passport photos can get rejected, which, needless to say, can put a major kink in your travel plans. To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, get a professional photo taken. This can help ensure your application gets accepted first time round.

Photo: US Passport by Damian613 licensed under Creative commons 2

4 tips for keeping your passport safe

When you’re traveling abroad, keeping your passport safe while still having it accessible is extremely important. You’ve taken the time to take the proper passport photos, send in your application and get your passport sent to you, and you don’t want to have to repeat that whole process from abroad. Here are some general rules of thumb for how to store your passport in different situations:

1. Keep it your person. If you’re in a situation where you’ll need access to your passport (such as at the airport or when crossing the border) you should keep your passport as close to you as possible. In an airport, this may simply mean in a handbag or in a small compartment of your backpack or carry-on, while other situations may require you to be even more careful, such as hiding it in a money belt underneath your clothing.

2. Leave it at your hotel when you can. When you’re spending the day sightseeing, it’s much safer to not bring your passport with you. Pickpockets are everywhere, and you may not even notice it’s gone until the end of the day. It’s better to keep your passport in your hotel room safe, or in another locked bag, or otherwise hidden away in your hotel room.

3. Don’t let it out of your sight while in transit. If you have your passport in your bag and you’re traveling on a bus or train (or even an airplane), make sure your bag doesn’t end up in a storage compartment under the vehicle, in a separate luggage compartment, or somewhere else out of your sight.

4. Make photocopies. If you’re using your passport as identification while traveling, or you need access to your passport picture for some reason, that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to bring your physical passport with you. Often while traveling abroad, a photocopy of your passport will be sufficient for low-security ID checks like bars or museums.

If something does happen to your passport, or if you need to get a new one for some reason, it isn’t the end of the world. You can always use Paspic get new passport pictures taken and we’ll help you get it taken care of.

Photo: Safe by rpongsaj licensed under Creative commons 2

Beyond the passport: a travelers checklist

Accommodations, check. Transportation, check. Passport, check. Some travelers think that those three ingredients are all the preparation one needs before embarking on a trip. Savvy travelers know the traveler’s checklist includes more boxes to tick off to ensure smooth travels. Amateur travelers and professionals can always benefit from a handy reference guide to international travel, so bookmark our smart traveler’s checklist for quick and easy access.

Learn about your destination

Visit the state department’s website to research your destination. Familiarize yourself with local laws and customs and be sure to review the country’s policy on passports. Although the United States will allow you to re-enter the country until the date your passport expires, some countries require your passport to allot an exit date at least six months prior to the expiration date on your passport.

Obtain required documents

In addition to a passport, some countries might require a visa. Again, you can refer to the state department’s website to verify your entry documents. If you are on medication, request a letter from your physician outlining the medications that you are bringing. Be aware: some countries have very strict policies on entering the country with drugs, even over-the-counter medications. Review your destination’s drug policy. Also, if you are traveling with minor children, your destination might require custody documents or written consent from the absent parent. The destination’s embassy can advise you on the particulars.

Plan for health emergencies

In the event of a medical emergency, will your insurance provide for your treatments? After checking with your insurance provider, consider adding a supplemental insurance policy for your travels. Depending on your location, you might required to be vaccinated and proof of updated shots. Finally, review the websites of the US Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization for any health precautions.

Financial security

Remember to communicate with your bank and credit card companies about your planned trip to prevent awkward and unnecessary declined transactions. Review their foreign exchange fee, and also check the currency exchange rates.

Final tips

Make several photocopies of your travel documents, including your itinerary, flight ticket, and passport. Give a copy to a trusted friend or family member, along with the contact information for your accommodations. Before you depart, record the contact details of the US Embassy or US Consulate at your destination. Finally, enroll in the US State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) for travel and security updates.

4 surprising facts about passports

When you’re applying for a new passport, you may only be thinking about a couple of things: do I look good in my passport photo? Is my child’s baby passport photo still valid? But there are a few things that may not even cross your mind when it comes to passports and passport pictures. Here are four of the most surprising facts we found about passports.

1: Germany and Sweden have the most powerful passports

According to the Passport Index, they each have a visa-free score of 158. America is in a five way tie for 4th place, meaning that if you hold an American passport, you have access to 155 countries without a visa. According to these same rankings, the least powerful passport belongs to Afghanistan.

2: Your passport is electronic

If you received a new passport after August of 2007, that means you are the recipient of a new and improved e-passport, which comes embedded with a special chip that’s designed to deter hackers and identity thieves.

3: Passports used to accommodate even the busiest jet setters

Don’t have enough room in your standard issue 28-page passport for all the countries you’ve visited? Before 2015, you could actually request a longer, 52-page passport when you were renewing, at no additional cost. Or you could add pages to your current passport up to a total of 76 pages! These days, you can no longer add pages – but to make up for it, all US passports are now issued with 52 pages instead of 28.

4: That patriotic art took 6 years to make

Have you ever noticed the artwork on the inside pages of your passport? If you have one of the newer versions issued since 2007, every page is decorated with the most American of designs, from Mount Rushmore to bald eagles and more. And this patriotic makeover didn’t come easily – a committee of six important people spent six whole years developing the page designs, which were all part of an overall theme entitled “American Icon.” So next time you open a page to get stamped, take a second to appreciate how much effort went into making that page a reality.

Photo: Passport by seantoyer licensed under Creative commons 2

When should you change your passport photo?

You may think that the only time you need to update your passport picture is when your passport has expired, but that’s not the case. Since the only thing that proves your passport belongs to you is your picture inside it, it’s important that this picture actually resembles you. It’s for this reason that the government requires you to update your passport photo when you’ve undergone significant changes to your appearance.

So what counts as a significant change in appearance?

1. You’ve undergone significant facial surgery or have experienced a serious trauma that has affected your face. This may include plastic surgery, or trauma caused by a fire or other type of accident.

2. You’ve added or removed significant facial tattoos or piercings that take up a large portion of your face. Something small like a single nose ring doesn’t count, but use your best judgment to determine if it’s something that is obscuring your facial features in any way.

3. You’ve gained or lost a significant amount of weight. Again, use your best judgment – this really only applies if the weight gain or loss has a significant impact on the appearance of your face as seen in the photo.

4. You’ve made a gender transition.

In case you’re still confused about what constitutes a significant change in appearance, here are a few examples of appearance changes that do not require you to update your passport photo:

1. Growing or shaving off facial hair like a beard or a mustache counts as a minor change, so you don’t need a new photo.

2. Coloring, cutting or in any way changing your hair style also doesn’t count, because it does not significantly affect your facial features.

3. The normal growth of a baby or young child happens very quickly in a short amount of time, so you are not required to apply for a new passport for that reason while your child is under the age of 16. Instead, you can continue to use the same baby passport photo or child passport photo throughout the duration of that time (barring any of the other significant appearance changes listed above).

Don’t get stuck at the airport! Passport rules you simply must know

Rules on international travel have tightened for everyone. U.S. citizens can no longer cross borders with just a birth certificate and photo ID and having a passport is becoming more important than ever.

Here are a few rules to know to help get you through the airport and on to your next destination.

Six month validity rule

If you’re embarking on international travel, it’s critical that you have more than six months left before your passport’s expiration date. Many people don’t think to check, but if you’re traveling to a country with a validity rule and you’re within the six months of your expiration date, you won’t be leaving the airport, other than to return home.

Brazil, China, French Polynesia, Jamaica, Mexico, St. Lucia, and Thailand are just a few of the popular vacation destinations that require passports to have six months validity at entry, so make sure you check the rules on your specific destination country.

Schengen borders agreement

Americans traveling to one of the 26 European countries known as the Schengen Area also have special requirements. These rules may apply even if you are simply transiting from a Schengen Area airport to a non-Schengen Area airport.

All European Union countries except Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom are included in the Schengen Borders Agreement. Additionally, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein are also included.

Your passport must also be valid for more than six months before expiration date and for at least three months beyond the expected departure from the Schengen Area.

Travelers from specific countries to the U.S. have similar rules. You can view the complete list of countries here.

Recognizable passport photo

A different hair color or length won’t hold up the line at airport security but if you’ve changed quite a bit since your passport photo it’s time to get a new passport. A gender transition, significant weight loss, the removal of facial piercings or even cosmetic surgery can make your appearance drastically different.

Make sure to double check your passport photo for believability and your destination country’s rules before your next trip to ensure a smooth departure and arrival.