To take a passport photo you’ll actually want to show off, you need to plan ahead. Here are a few tips to take a lovely passport photo that meets all governmental requirements.
Put your best face forward
A passport is valid for five or ten years, so you’ll want to take a photo that you’ll be satisfied with during this time. Avoid bright makeup or a trend you’ll regret later on and opt for a natural-looking, simple look.
Because the lighting is probably going to be less than flattering, improve your complexion by applying a foundation, concealer, pressed powder and blush. You can also apply some brightener and a bit of bronzing powder, in moderation of course.
For men that don’t like wearing makeup, we still suggest a bit of mattifying powder on the forehead and nose to prevent shine.
Choosing the right hairstyle and clothes
When it comes to your hair, you’ll also want to avoid trendy styles and opt for something simple. Your hair can be tied in a ponytail or loose, but you’ll have to show your ears and prevent your bangs from covering your eyes. Choose your hairstyle beforehand while keeping in mind these requirements so you don’t have to change your hair at the last minute.
For clothes, avoid tops that are white or the same colour as your skin. Governmental regulations state there must be a contrast between your face, clothes and the backdrop (which must be white). Try to avoid shiny jewels or flashy accessories that can create glare.
You cannot wear sunglasses, but you can wear your prescription glasses. However, if you wear your glasses, you must make sure they don’t cause any glare on the photo.
Make sure your picture meets the requirements
When you apply for a passport, you must have two identical photos that have been taken by a professional who complies with governmental regulations. Don’t hesitate to make sure your photos comply with passport requirements.
You need to make sure that:
- Your eyes are not red and there are no shadows or glare on the photo
- Your mouth is closed and you are not smiling
- The face is centered in the picture
- The photo size is 50mm x 70mm (2 x 2 ¾ in.). The face must measure between 31mm and 36mm (1 ¼ in and 1 7/16 in) from the chin to the top of the head
Information on the back of the picture
Finally, make sure that the following is visible on the back of your passport photos:
- name of the photographer or studio
- the full address of the photographer or studio where the photo was taken (with postal code)
- date the picture was taken
You have six months from the date the picture is taken to apply for your passport (new regulation as of May 9, 2015)
Requirements for babies
Requirements regarding the expression, size of the photo and clothes are the same for babies and children. If a baby cannot support its head yet, it is important that the parent’s hands not be visible in the photo. The picture can be taken when the child is in their car seat if you place a white blanket under them. Make sure there are no shadows.
The people in charge of the passport program know it’s hard to take a picture of a newborn with a neutral expression. They’re more tolerant in these cases but the child still has to have their eyes open and ideally their mouth should be closed.
Passport photo sessions for children can be tricky. Some Jean Coutu pharmacies offer a specialized photo service for babies and children under five. Contact your local Jean Coutu ahead of time to make sure they provide this service.