How To Take Your Own Passport Photo + Tips For Actually Liking How You Look In It

Eeeek! You guys! I’m so excited about this post. It’s literally been like 3 months in the making and my husband is an absolute SAINT for dealing with me over these past couple months while trying to get just the right shot. But, I’m getting ahead of myself!

Let’s back it up shall we?

How many of you legit HATE any photo of yourself on a Government Issued ID? From looking like convicts to bad lighting and angles, it’s easy to see why 98% of people are embarrassed to pull out their ID any time it’s needed.

And while I reallllly hate my Driver’s License photo, I think I hated my Passport Photo more. Why? Because my Passport Photo is TEN YEARS OLD.

So a few months ago, when I realized it was time to renew my passport, I made the decision to make sure I had a photo that I didn’t hate. Because this picture was going to be stuck with me for TEN YEARS. That’s a freakin’ decade. And I refuse to carry around a photo that I’m ashamed of for another decade.

After a little research, I realized that thousands of people take their own passport photos, and actually save themselves quite a bit of money in the process. All you need is a camera, a computer, a Walgreens and a very, very, very patient person to take your photo for you.

5 Easy Steps to Taking Your Own Passport Photos

Step 1: Familiarize yourself with your governments guidelines.

The first thing you need to do is check out your government’s requirements for you photo. In the US the list is kind of long… you can find all the guidelines here. Be sure to read it carefully. No hats, glasses, shadows, and teeth smiles are the biggies IMO.

Step 2: Get your tools.

Once you’re familiar with what you can and can’t do for your photo, grab the tools you’ll need. A camera that takes good quality photos, a white wall, a computer, access to a Walgreens (or a photo printer) and someone to take your photo for you. (A selfie won’t work!)

Before we move on to Step 3, know that you can totally download an app that will make taking your passport photo super easy. It will even line your face up in the box perfectly. However, I had a really hard time with the app taking a clear enough photo. If you want to try an app first, go for it. But make sure that your photo is crystal clear or it could end up getting rejected.

Step 3: Smile! Sort of.

Time to step in front of the camera! This is the hardest part of the entire process. Remember all those requirements we talked about? This is where they come into play. So if you’re like me and HATE head on shots of yourself, this could take a v. long time. (Like 5 weekends worth of photoshoots long time.)

The most important thing is that you leave plenty of space around your head so that it can be cropped correctly later. Also be sure you don’t have shadows on our face, that any part of your face is covered. (I don’t think this counts the shadow under your chin btw. We took 700 pictures trying to get rid of the shadow under my chin and it was literally impossible. Then I compared it to my old passport photo in which I had professionally taken at a camera shop and I had the shadow under my chin in that one too.)

Step 4: Pick your photo and crop it.

Upload your pictures to your computer and choose the one you like best. Now, it’s time to crop! I know plenty of people use photoshop to crop their photos, however, I was super nervous that I wasn’t going to have it cropped with my head in the exact spacing. (Again… those guidelines.) So instead, I used this website. It lets you upload your picture, and then move it around with an overlay so you know exactly where your face and chin need to line up within the passport guidelines.

Step 5: Save your photo and print it.

This website also saves your photo for you just like this…


So that you can upload and print it as a normal 4×6 photo. Guys. I literally paid 33 cents for four photos that I don’t hate, instead of $13 where I look awkward AF standing in the Walgreens with horrible lights over my head.

Now that I’ve told you how to physically take the photo, let’s talk about how to not completely hate how you look in your photo. (TBH I still don’t like this photo of myself AT ALL, but it was the best I had and was over it at that point. HA)

5 Tips That Will Help You Actually LIKE Your Passport Photo!

Tip #1: Wear “Photo Makeup”.

Take some time to do your makeup before your picture… and be sure to use makeup that looks good in photos. I’m talking matte foundation and powder, contour, not too heavy eye shadow and blush and as much as it pains me to say this, very, very, very light highlight. Today is not the day to experiment with the new bright colored shadows you just got, or the darkest lipstick you can find. Light and natural make up so you look like “you” is the look you want to go for!

Tip #2: Wear Your Hair Down.

Wearing your hair up in a picture can make your face look fuller than it actually is. Wearing your hair down helps to frame your face better in a head on type of photo like this.

Tip #3: Plan what to wear.

You can’t see it in these photos, but I’m totally wearing sweatpants. Your bottoms don’t matter, but your top does! I can not stress this enough… choose a top that you’ll be able to see. Because I can promise you, the last thing you want is to look naked in your passport photo. If you want to look “professional” choose a top with a collar. Also, try to choose a top that is a neutral color, without a bunch of patterns. I’ve also heard that if you have dark hair you should wear a light top, and if you have light hair a dark top. (A rule I didn’t follow!)

Tip #4: Today is NOT the day to experiment.

Thinking about dying your hair lime green? Or single handedly bringing back all around the eyes liner? Today is not your day to try it. Wait until after your photo is taken. You want to look as much like yourself as possible, or you know, you might not get through international customs.

Tip #5: Don’t stress. It’s just a picture.

Take it from me, someone who now has 1,367 deleted attempts for a perfect photo. (Ridiculous I know.) Don’t stress out. It’s just a picture. Taking it yourself takes off A LOT of pressure because you can take it as many times as you need to. However, don’t obsess over it like I did. Chances are, your first or second photo will be perfect!

Follow these easy steps, and use these easy tips and I promise you’ll get a picture you don’t hate like this…


And not one like this…

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset
Just a few of my favorite out takes for you to enjoy. HAHAHAHA God I’m embarrassing.

Have you tried taking your own passport photos before?! Were they a breeze for you? Or an absolute ordeal like they were for me? HAHA

I promise you guys… taking pictures is a breeze, as long as you’re not overly critical of yourself like I am! I just want to take a minute to shout out my handsome hubby one more time and say THANK YOU FOR PUTTING UP WITH ME. 🙂

Alright guys, I’m off to find a boat to get me through the rest of today. We’ve gotten SO much rain the past two days there is no way I’m making it home in my jeep! haha

Have a great rest of your Tuesday my friends! Remember… Bachelor Winter Games tonight! I’ll be back tomorrow for a little #WhatUpWednesday!




2 thoughts on “How To Take Your Own Passport Photo + Tips For Actually Liking How You Look In It

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