Tips for Taking Passport Photos

It used to be the case that travelers who wanted a passport had to have their photos taken professionally. Today, there are apps available online that make it easy for anyone to take his or her own passport photo. Read on to find a few tips for how to use them.

Choose the Right Background

Passport photos must be taken on a neutral, solid-colored background. Find a wall that is either white or light gray and make sure to avoid shadows. Photos taken with colored or patterned backgrounds will not be accepted.

Get the Exposure Right

Photos must have the right exposure. If it is too bright or it shows shadows on the traveler’s face, this can cause problems. Get the exposure right and never apply photo filters to passport photos.

Ensure a Natural Appearance

Take out colored contacts and avoid red eyes by turning off the flash on the phone’s camera. There’s no need to worry about clothing, as the passport agency prefers travelers to wear what they would normally wear while traveling, but avoid headwear such as scarves and hats unless they are worn for religious reasons.

Remove All Objects

Don’t include any objects in the photo. That includes both objects in the background of the photo and things like headphones, earpieces, and, in the case of young children, pacifiers. The only thing in the photo should be the person applying for a passport.

Maintain a Neutral Expression

There’s no need to smile for the camera when it comes time to take a passport or visa photo. Instead, maintain a neutral expression. Travelers should also close their lips instead of showing their teeth.

Take the Photo at Eye Level

Taking passport photos requires the help of either a friend or a tripod, as they must be taken at eye level. If the photo is taken from the wrong angle, the passport agency may not accept it.

Center the Photo

Passport photos are 2 x 2 inches in size. Travelers’ faces must occupy 1 to 1 3/8 inches of the picture from top to bottom and must be balanced and centered. Look straight at the camera, not up, down, or to the side.