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Passport Photo

( people found this content useful.) 7 min read

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Take Your Passport Photo

Imagine this: You’re on a plane, and the flight attendant comes over to check your passport. Your photo looks terrible. The airline staff won’t let you board, and you have to wait hours in customs until you can get another one.

Below are some tips on how to take your best possible passport photo.

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What You Need to Know About Passport Photo Requirements

Here are a few points to know about passport photo requirements:

  • The photo must be 2 inches (5 cm) by 2 inches (5 cm).
  • The background should be white or off-white.
  • Your clothing should be solid in color.
  • You cannot wear hats or head coverings, except for religious or medical purposes.
  • You cannot wear glasses in your passport photo unless they are for medical reasons and have been prescribed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. These include:
    • Bifocal lenses or progressive lenses that do not have corrective power but are used as protective eyewear due to severe nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, or other vision problems that require glasses only when reading small print at close range.
    • Contact lenses are NOT permitted. They can distort face shape when viewed from certain angles.

How to Take Your Passport Photo

To take a passport photo properly, you’ll need to follow these simple steps:

  • Step 1: Stand straight and look at the camera. Don’t smile or frown.
  • Step 2: Remove any sunglasses, hats and head coverings.
  • Step 3: Wear only plain dark clothing that covers both shoulders with sleeves down to at least mid-bicep level. Avoid clothes with patterns such as stripes or checkered designs. The reasoning is they may appear distorted in your photo due to lighting conditions.


  • If you wear a scarf or scarf-like item such as a shawl/blanket/shawl, you’ll need to ensure it does not cover any part of your face.
  • If you wear a longer hair style, there can be no hair hanging over your ears as this will create shadows and make them look darker than intended. This can give an unnatural appearance on screen printed documents like passports, which use UV ink technology.
How to Take Your Passport Photo

Where to Take Your Passport Photo

There are many places that offer passport photos. Those include some drug stores and supermarkets. However, it’s best to go with a professional photographer who has experience taking passport photos. This will ensure that your picture is taken correctly and meets all of the necessary requirements by any country’s immigration department.

The following list offers ideas on where you can find a location for a passport photo:

  • A regional passport office
  • Local photography studio
  • Professional photographer
  • Photocopy shop
  • Using your smartphone
  • Walgreens

Camera Settings for Passport Photos

The first thing you need to do when taking your own photograph with your camera is set your camera settings. Set it to the highest resolution, quality and contrast settings.

Next, make sure that sharpness is turned up as high as it can go.

Use a tripod so all of your photos are taken at exactly the same distance from your face. This will make it easier while being processed.

With these tips, you’ll make sure that your passport photos are the best they can be.

Let’s review!

First, make sure your face is in the center of the photo. This may sound obvious. However, it will be very hard for passport agents to check your identity when you move too far to one side or tilt your head back too far. When they look at your passport photo, you will want them to recognize you as quickly as possible.

Next, make sure that both of your eyes are open and visible in the photo. This means no squinting or closing of an eye. Both must be wide open so the person who is processing your passport application can see clearly the eyes of the person they’re looking at!

It may go without saying but you may want to keep your mouth closed while taking this picture. Otherwise, it could cause confusion among the person who is observing your identification.

Now let’s talk about hair. It should always stay away from your face (and especially eyebrows). If possible use some kind of clip-on device to get your hair out of the way.

If you have any other passport questions, you may contact us directly!

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Last Verified:
Jun 7, 2023