Taking a passport/ID photo is not as easy as it seems…

No smiling, no tilting the head, no posing, no hair in the face…etc. These are all the restrictions that come with the territory of taking an ID photo.  I used to think it was pretty simple, but now I realize the government doesn’t want you to look good, or look like you are having any fun in these photos.  In all seriousness, they want you to look miserable so they can capture the facial features of the face in a “no frills” kind of way.  As a result, a passport photo that you barely even like, and barely looks like “you”, becomes the representation of you for the next five to ten years.  Yes, you will have to look at it every so often, and see the unflattering lighting, how it hit your face at a bad angle, making you look not your best.  *sigh* It’s not that bad, or is it? Without sounding vain, wouldn’t you want to have the best photo you can get while still meeting requirements the government demands for formal IDs?  Here are some of my tips for making the best of a trying situation:

My Personal Tips

1. Don’t wear dark colours like black, navy or charcoal.  They weigh you down in spirit, which will weigh you down in the photo too.  I like to wear pastels and cheerful colours to reflect a lighter mood, to combat that downer feeling that taking a non-smiling ID photo can give.

2. Don’t smile, but think happy, relaxed thoughts.  Make your eyes smile.  This may sound crazy, but they can smile!  Look into the mirror prior the photo, breathe, relax, and look at your non-smiling expression.  I find practicing your “non-pose” can really help you see if you are making a weird face by default, or just looking too severe.

3. Wear your hair DOWN.  I can’t say this enough.  But for some reason, this makes all the difference.  Hair that is up makes your face look larger, because of the awkward cropping of all ID photos.  Not that a large face is bad, but in photos, smaller usually looks better in my humble opinion.

4. Make-up: Lots of people say to wear neutral make-up, and I kind of disagree.  I feel you ought to wear the make-up colours you feel like wearing.  So if you often wear bright eye shadows, why change to neutral for a passport photo? For my most recent passport photo I wore a bright fushia eye shadow in the corners of my lids and I love how they made my eyes pop!

5. Concealer and other tricks: I love the look of natural skin with its freckles and marks, and am not a big fan of concealer just because unless you have acne, what good is it really for on a day to day basis?  But for ID photos I would recommend it.  I saw the way those flashes magnify every flaw on the face…so use accordingly.  The day of my photo taking I had under-eye puffiness, so I used a bit of ice on it to deflate them before my photo.  Stay really hydrated to avoid water retention and bloat.  All these little things do make a difference to the end result.

What tips do you find help you take good government ID photos?  Is it just too much trouble to worry about these things and do you just don’t care when it comes to how you look on photo documentations?  Or do you think official documents should show a good photo of you most definitely?  During my recent photograph session, I remember a lady customer before me at the shop.  She was also taking her passport photo, and she walked into it with no prep, just dabbed some lipstick on before jumping into it.  The lady was so disappointed with her results, when the store showed her the proofs.  Don’t we all wish that it was just as easy as putting on lipstick!

IMG_2403 (2) edit
This is my new pic. It looked better in the proofs, but the reprint of it into the passport is very grainy. Still, I liked it, considering how I couldn’t smile, and the photo peeps took it in 2 seconds flat! Does it say “run away with me!”?  Hee hee.

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