When applying for your baby’s first passport you have a decision to make. Do I have a go myself, or overpay for a ‘professional’ to take your child’s first passport photo that will be almost unrecognisable in a matter of months?
I settled on trying myself and am pleased to report Baby M’s first passport arrived last week so I can’t have gone far wrong! It did however take a fair bit of reading to understand the criteria required for taking an acceptable child’s passport photo so I thought it might be useful to share my experience. This is by no means a professional guide, simply how I went about taking a successful passport photo of a child under one year old.
What are the benefits of doing it yourself?
- If you have a reasonable camera then you only have to pay printing so its definitely cheaper
- As you are not paying for someone else’s time the whole experience should be more relaxed as your wont feel under pressure for your baby to behave and corporate with the photographer.
- In my opinion though the main benefit should be it’s good fun! A bit of a challenge yes, but satisfying to look back on the all the shots that didn’t got to plan, funny faces and all.
What do you need?
To take a baby passport photo you need a good quality camera, a plain cream or light grey background and to submit the photo within a month, that is all
What are the criteria for an acceptable photo?
- You can’t be in the photo with the baby, they must be on their own and not holding a cuddly toy, their favourite blanket or using a dummy.
- If the child is under six years old they don’t have to be looking directly at the camera or have a neutral expression.
- Little babies under one old aren’t required to have their eyes open which means you can take the photo when they are asleep, or catch them blinking at just the wrong time!
- A key one to remember is that although you can support their head with a hand, it must not be visible in the photo. This was the most difficult bit for us!
Photo composition – what must be included?
Taking your baby passport photo is not the time to get arty! A simple close-up of their head and shoulders is all that’s required, nothing covering their face or head, and no hair in front of their eyes (if they are lucky enough to have enough for that to be an issue already!).
How to take the a baby passport photo?
My wife and I struggled with this! We first experimented with him lying on the bed but there were too many creases in the sheet which I’m sure wouldn’t have been accepted. We then progressed to holding him in front a plain coloured wardrobe door, one hand under his bum and the other carefully supporting his neck from behind. Success!
It is however easier said than done as you can’t have your hand in the image so we had at least 30-40 attempts before we succeeded. There were sneezes, blinks, double chins, screams, wriggles, yawns, falls and catches (!), but eventually we got one we were both happy with.
Printing your baby passport photo
· You need two copies that must be countersigned. All is explained in my other post (insert link
· The photo must measure 45mm high and 35mm wide. This should be a standard size but it is worth checking as the post office check and send man warned me that several supermarkets do not always print to this size!
· You must not cut down a larger photo to fit this size; it needs to be especially for a passport photo.
· Within the image the crown of your head to your chin must measure between 29-34mm high. It sounds very precise but if you have a quick look at the guide below produced by the passport office it gives you a quick reference guide when framing your photo.
Now you have two perfect passport photos of your baby you are ready to apply to start the application. If you want tips of that too read my other post here (how to apply for a baby passport guide)