Doing Passport Photos Yourself

Everything you need to know about processing your own passport photos.

Take Your Own Passport Photo

Did you know you can take your own passport photo? That’s right! Since your passport photo will be valid for 10 years (5 for a minor), then you may want to make sure you like your photo. Taking an acceptable photograph for your U.S. passport is possible if you follow the requirements listed below. The camera should be focused on the face at eye level. The camera should be at least four feet away from the applicant. Make sure there are no shadows on the face or background and that the applicant’s fits within the size listed below.

Passport Photo Requirements:

  • Printed in color on photo quality paper size: 2 x 2 inches with the head between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head.
  • Recent photo taken within last 3 months and reflect your current appearance
  • Plain white or off-white background
  • Full-face is visible and facing the camera, neutral facial expression, with both eyes open
  • Normal, everyday clothing. No uniforms, clothing that looks like a uniform, or camouflage attire should not be worn in photos with the exception of religious attire that is worn daily.
  • You may only wear a hat or head covering if you wear it daily for religious purposes. Full face must be visible. Head covering cannot obscure your hairline or cast shadows on your face.
  • No headphones, wireless hands-free devices, etc
  • Prescription glasses and/or hearing aid may be worn. Make sure there is no glare on the glasses.

Avoid Shadows and Glare

A common mistake when taking a passport photo is having a glare on the glasses or unnecessary shadows on the face or background. Make sure the light sources are on both sides of the applicant’s face and that the background is also without any shadows. Use lighting behind the person as well as in front of them to ensure a well-lit photo. The ideal lighting setup should consist of at least three sources of light. The photo should be uniformly lit and no shadows should be visible on the applicant’s face. If the applicant wears glasses, be sure to reduce any glare or the photos will be rejected.