Awful passport photos- what can I do?

posted 1 year ago in Beauty
Post # 16
3258 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

I don’t have any tips, but like 5 years ago I took a passport photo and it was one of the best pictures I’ve ever taken. I looked like a model. And every time I would travel and use that passport, security would look at me suspiciously because I don’t look anything like the woman in that photo. Once, TSA even pulled me aside to have someone else double check that I was the same person. They had me take my glasses off, take my hair out of my ponytail, and pose the way I was in the picture. Ugh 😂

So it’s probably not bad to look like a mess in the picture, since you want to look like the mess you are when you travel. I definitely don’t look gorgeous when I’m rushing to the airport at 6 am. 

Post # 17
1016 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: February 2020

I just wanted to add quickly too that above all, your passport photo is a security measure to insure recognition of yourself and safety for your fellow travelers. It’s not a profile picture or a glamour shot. Similar to a mugshot, the idea is to accurately portray the person in the photo.

I get that sometimes bad lighting and awkward angles actually do the opposite and make us almost unrecognizable, so obviously you want to avoid that! But I would strongly urge against face-tuning (which technically is altering the photo and makes it unviable–you could get in big trouble for that) or wearing makeup you wouldn’t normally wear when traveling. You simply want a photo that matches your true appearance.

Post # 18
338 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

Get them taken by an actual photographer, not just someone at a drug store or library or whatever which offers the service. 

I got mine done from a place in my city’s chinatown that specializes in passport photos. The photographer is legit, has a great camera and knows what he’s doing. He directed me in my pose a bit, and I think he even digitally touched up the photo a little (which they’re not supposed to do, but can get away with). It’s a great picture actually! 

Post # 19
755 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2019

Just chiming in to say omg my current passport photo is SO bad! I look super pale and just gross. My daughter’s is pretty bad too. We went to Walgreens, idk if that makes a difference. My first passport photo was great though, got that one at the post office. I was really tan back then and I think that helped. 

Post # 20
359 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

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@cathybow12:  lol mine is terrible. You’re not suppose to smile so you just look meh. Oh well! No one hardly ever sees it besides customs agents. 

Post # 21
224 posts
Helper bee

This is funny, because I feel like I look really good in my passport photo.I kind of cheated with a closed-mouth smile, but I have never had any issues. 

Could you take the picture yourself? That might help.

Post # 22
8480 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

I was actually excited last time I did mine because my second photo turned out pretty nice (first one from Walgreens was AWFUL). So I was like yay finally a decent passport picture!

And then…whoever actually puts the photos on the passport cropped the shit out of it, and blew out all the color for the final. Like wtf? Now it’s cropped to like right under my chin, you can barely even see the sides of my head/hair, and I look like I’m green from being seasick or something. It was completely within the guidelines so I really don’t understand why they did it. 

Post # 23
2318 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2019

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@bouviebee:  OMG this was my last passport photo! The woman was like 4’11” (I’m 5’10”) and she made me stand on a box but then look at her while she took the photo. I asked if she was supposed to stand on the box but she said no, so I am looking down and have about 4 extra chins! 

In my new one, they wouldn’t let me smile, so I was trying to smize and I just look pissed! 

Post # 24
160 posts
Blushing bee

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@pnwlove:  I second this. I have a few friends who did their own makeup (full face with false eyelashes and everything) and took their own photos with good lighting at home. Their passport photos look phenomenal

Post # 25
1768 posts
Buzzing bee

Lord of makeup and hair out. I’ve been battling with a hideous passport photo for ten years and so glad I’m getting a new one now xo

Post # 26
528 posts
Busy bee

If your passport picture looks like you’ve been stranded in the Upper Bumfuck International Airport after a 20-hour flight and your luggage is currently in Bali, you most likely wouldn’t be chosen for a surprise rectal exam by a friendly TSA agent.  Bad lighting, odd number of chins, facial hair where there shouldn’t be any, a suspicious stain on your shirt collar – that’s you going thru security and customs inspection pretty much anywhere in the world.  Rock it.

Post # 27
10633 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

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lol. And these days where you have to take your glasses off and you have worn specs all your life , well. Doesn’t matter how you protest you never have them off and certainly wouldn’t be going through customs without them , makes no difference. It’s to do with facial recognition technology or something . 

It all pretty much academic now … can’t see myself going anywhere overseas for the foreseeable …

Post # 28
119 posts
Blushing bee

My first passport photo, was one of my favorite pictures. Across the street, from the passport office, was a professional photographer’s studio, so I had my picture taken there.

When I renewed my passport a few years ago, against my better judgement, I went to Walgreens. The pictures were so bad, they sent them back as unusable. So, I found a local photographer, and had them reshot in a studio. The added bonus is that they gave me twice as many pictures, for 2/3rds the price as Walgreens’ passport photos.


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