It’s that time again. The dreaded time to renew my passport. I got my first passport when I was 14 and ever since then I’ve had a series of truly unflattering passport photos. Usually I go to the pharmacy or the copy shop to get it done, where a beleaguered employee, who is simultaneously expected to run the cash register, rushes me over to a corner, grabs a point and shoot camera, and snaps. Without time to review, whatever photo comes out in the first shot becomes the one I’m stuck with.
This time, I decided enough was enough. I got a photo that was my worst yet. Frozen mid-blink, the bags under my eyes and my sallow complexion made me look like I’d been up for three nights straight binge-watching Orange is the New Black. I imagined myself for years to come, cringing whenever I opened my passport at the airport and getting the stinkeye from flight attendants because my photo looked so shifty. As a friend said when I showed her, “It looks like they had a time machine that fast-forwarded to your future self in 10 years.”
But when I stopped to think about it – why did I need to resign myself to the worst passport photo ever? Why not take my own? Here you can see the before and after, taken about 20 minutes apart. I did not edit the 2nd photo at all or change my makeup.
(Please forgive the poor scan quality of the first photo)
A few simple tricks made all the difference in the world and can help you take a better passport photo.
If you decide to take your own passport photo, don’t be afraid to take several and pick the best among the bunch. Keep in mind that you need to follow certain size rules for the passport office to accept the photo, like having it be 2 in. x 2 in in size and other requirements.
I know it seems silly to go to all this effort for a single photograph, but there’s comfort in knowing that every time you take out your passport over the next 10 years, you can like the photo inside.