Let's face it, driver's license, photo ID's and passport photos more often than not end up looking like mug shots. No one wants to have an embarrassing, ugly photo that makes you look sick or years older than your actual age. Unfortunately the US State Department will reject any photo which has been retouched, "Photo-Shopped" or doesn't meet the minimum requirements per their set guidelines.
The good news is that you can help yourself in getting a great passport photo. Follow any or all of these simple tricks and you're on your way to a professional looking image for the next ten years.
FIRST: Let's address the basic rules. The Passport agency does not allow you to wear glasses, nor do they allow you to show your teeth or smile. Wear a different outfit than you did on your previous passport photo. If you have amazing genes and don't look like you've aged much, the Passport Agency could reject the photo based on lack of proof that the photo was taken within the past 6 months. Nothing should be worn on the head. No headbands, hats, scarfs or large hair ties.
Photo by Braydon Anderson on Unsplash
To recap. NO Glasses. NO Teeth. NO Headgear. NO Disguises.
Now here's where it gets interesting. The Passport Agency doesn't seem to mind if you wear makeup. Male or female, it's OK. And men, nothing to be embarrassed about. Use a little concealer to cover those dark circles under your eyes and you'll look significantly better than if you didn't. Makeup can make a big difference. Don't be afraid to pile on a heavy coat of foundation and powder to keep the shine down. OK. Maybe not to this extent. Natural looking is fine. Caked on clay exfoliating mask. Not OK.
Photo by Velizar Ivanov on Unsplash
Avoid wearing white as the background is white and you may end up looking like a weird floating head on your photo. Another thing I've seen and think you may want to steer clear of is a deep V-neck or anything off the shoulders. You'll end up looking naked! Yikes. And although the Passport Agency doesn't mind if you wear a tank top or ratty stained T-shirt, you might run into future embarrassment if a future employer asks you for a copy of your passport during your hiring process. It's always best to wear a collared shirt or business attire. However NO uniforms of any kind are permitted. Keep it conservative!
Foreign passports present another challenge altogether. Precise sizing varies from country to country. Don't risk having your passport photo getting rejected!
The absolute best time to get your photo done is right after you get your hair cut or styled! Plan a day at the spa and stop by 60 Minutes Photo on your way home and you'll be pleasantly surprised!