Baby’s First Passport Photo

Our tiny family of three is traveling to Singapore in May, so we’ve been spending the bulk of our free time gathering paperwork for Bee’s first passport. The process is relatively quick and painless (especially after reading fellow Disney Baby blogger Mary’s excellent tips here!), but we did experience one surprising hang-up: the official passport photo.

We’d planned to take her into a local drugstore or on-site at our government building to snap her official Passport photos. But then, Bee’s molars began to sprout (along with a fury of tantrums!) and suddenly, leaving the house to pose for multiple photos seemed far trickier to manage.

Luckily, being married to a filmmaker / photographer has its perks, so we set up shop and directed a mini photo shoot in our own home. It was surprisingly simple with the help of these handy tips!:

  1. Shoot in front of a white background. Our home is fairly monochromatic, so this was no problem for us. But if your walls are painted, try setting up a makeshift background using a white sheet, large poster or dry erase board.
  2. Look for natural light. The curves and features of the face are more easily distinguishable in natural light, so try shooting near a window or door on a sunny day. Shadows on the face are not acceptable according to passport photo standards, so this is an important step!
  3. Pay attention to the details. The official passport guidelines can be found here, but some agencies are stricter than others. To be on the safe side, be sure that (a) both of baby’s ears are showing, (b) the face is positioned straight on with a neutral, closed mouth expression, (c) baby’s eyes are open, and (d) no parents’ hands or arms appear in the photo.
  4. Practice patience. We took roughly 59 photos before we finally arrived at a winner – one where she wasn’t smiling, talking, moving or crying. It’s especially helpful to have something distracting for your baby to focus on in the background, like a grandparent, older sibling or – in our case – the movie Dumbo.
  5. Crop accordingly. There’s a specific set of guidelines for cropping a passport photo, but it’s relatively simple if you rely on the photo composition template provided here. Once you’ve snapped a photo meeting all of the requirements, edit your photo with Photoshop or an easy online editing software like PicMonkey.

Tell me, did you snap your baby’s first passport photo at home? I’d love to hear how the process went for you – any snafus along the way, or helpful tips to share? Feel free to comment in the section below, and safe travels to all!

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