Passport Photographs: Composition Checklist (from http://www.travel.state.gov/passport/guide/composition/composition_874.html)
7 Steps to Successful Photographs:
- Frame subject with full face, front view, eyes open
- Make sure photo presents full head from top of hair to bottom of chin; height of head should measure 1 inch to 1-3/8 inches (25 mm to 35 mm)
- Center head within frame (see Figure 2 below)
- Make sure eye height is between 1-1/8 inches to 1-3/8 inches (28 mm and 35 mm) from bottom of photo
- Photograph subject against a plain white or off-white background
- Position subject and lighting so that there are no distracting shadows on the face or background
- Encourage subject to have a natural expression
Figure 2. Head Position & Placement
Frequently Asked Questions about Passport Photographs
Do the photos have to be in color?
Yes, the photos to must be in color.
How recent must the photos be?
The photos must be no older than 6 months.
What pose should the photos show?
The photo should show a clear, front view, full face of the customer. The customer should be in normal street attire, without hat or dark glasses against a plain white or off-white background. The customer should have a natural expression, mouth closed, and eyes open and looking directly ahead. Photos in which the face of the person being photographed is not in focus will not be accepted.
How big should the head be in the photo?
The customer's head, measured from the bottom of the chin to the top of the hair, should be between 1 inch and 1-3/8 inches. The head should be centered in the photo. The head of the person being photographed should not be tilted up, down or to the side. It should cover about 50% of the area of the photo.
Can hats or religious headgear be worn for the photo?
Unless worn daily for religious reasons, all hats or headgear should be removed for the photo. In all cases, no item or attire should cover or otherwise obscure any part of the face.
Can eyeglasses be worn for the photo?
Eyeglasses worn on a daily basis can be worn for the photo. However, there should be no reflections from the eyeglasses that obscures the eyes.
Can sunglasses or tinted glasses be worn?
Dark glasses or nonprescription glasses with tinted lenses are not acceptable unless you need them for medical reasons. A medical certificate may be required.
Can work uniforms be worn for the photo?
Uniforms should not be worn in photographs except in the case of religious attire that is worn daily. Otherwise, normal street attire should be worn.
Are photos that are copied from recent driver licenses or other official documents acceptable?
No, only original photographs are acceptable. Copied or digitally scanned photos of photos will not be accepted. In addition, photos must not be retouched to alter the customer's appearance in any way.
Are snapshots, magazine photos, or photos from vending machine acceptable?
No, snapshots, magazine photos, most vending machine prints, or full-length photographs are not acceptable.
May photos be taken with a digital camera?
If the digital camera has sufficient resolution — capable of capturing and storing images with 1 million pixels (megapixels) or more — it can be used to take the photos. However, printing of digital images is best done by professional photography processing labs because many off-the-shelf digital printers cannot achieve the image-quality required for passport and visa photographs. In any case, the image-quality criteria, described on this website, must be met in the submitted conventional film photo and/or the digital image printed photo.