How to look good in your passport photo
How do you look good in a passport photo? Is it even possible? Does your passport image look like something from Crimewatch? Or maybe you don't relish the idea of a new one having aged 10 years since last time! If the thought of a new passport image fills you with dread, read on for how to nail a flattering passport photo to be proud of.
After all, this is the image that will define you for the next decade.... yikes!
Photobooth lighting can be very harsh and make you look washed out. Make sure you accentuate eyes, brows and lips and make your skin look the best you can - drink lots of water in the days leading up to your shoot and get plenty of sleep. Make sure your foundation matches your skin tone perfectly. Avoid fake lashes and bright colours, stick to neutrals instead. Try to make your makeup as timeless as possible - this is not the time to experiment with the blue eyeliner!
These images will not be retouched so you need to get everything as correct as possible before the photo is taken! One thing to avoid is anything that gives you a glow - shimmer, shine, sparkle - this will only make your look shiny (read... sweaty) with the harsh flash. A mattefying powder can be your best friend when using direct flash.
You don't have to use a photobooth for your images, you can do it yourself if you have a plain white background at home. Make sure you use plenty of light without any harsh shadows being created behind you. The light on your face must be soft and even. Plenty of natural light is always good with your main light source slightly higher than your head to create good definition under the jawline. For an extra boost to your light, hold a piece of tinfoil or white card at chest height to bounce light back up into the face to illuminate and reduce wrinkles and eye bags.
A classic colour such as a dark colour is not only timeless but will make you stand out against the white background. Try to avoid busy patterns. Very little of your outfit will actually be seen but make sure the neckline is flattering, with no creases or twisted necklaces etc. It might be best to avoid an off the shoulder top unless you want to look naked! Hair should be styled and off the face completely or the application will be rejected. No hair accessories or hats are allowed except for religious reasons. If you can get away without wearing your glasses, it is better to do so otherwise make sure there is no glare from the lights on your lenses.
Whilst you are not allowed to smile in passport pictures, to avoid looking like you'd like to murder someone, just relax your jaw slightly whilst keeping your lips together. Try to smile with your eyes (think happy thoughts!) Pressing your tongue to the roof of your mouth will reduce a double chin. As will pushing your chin forward and down just a little to elongate the neck. Sit up straight and relax your shoulders. If you have light sensitive eyes, close your eyes between shots and open them just before the flash goes off. Practice your facial expression in the mirror before your shoot.
For more information on UK passport applications, you can visit https://www.gov.uk/photos-for-passports