How to take a passport photo of an infant.

To apply for Simon’s passport we had to have a photo… 

Passport tries

…it took 185 tries.

The  photo had to adhere to all the rules for a regular US passport photo.  Most significantly when you’re dealing with an infant:

  • Looking at the camera
  • Eyes open
  • No extraneous body parts (baby’s or otherwise)

If you’ve spent any time with a baby you know this is near impossible.  But, as we’d like to leave the island, we had no choice. 

IMG_7223
This was our first attempt…

Here are some tips if you find yourself having to do the same in the near future.

Taking the photo

  1. This is absolutely a two person job.
  2. Lay a white surface on the floor.  We used a white sheet, you could also use a piece of poster board or other white cardboard.  Lay the baby on this, much easier than holding them upright against a wall when they are floppy.
  3. Shoot looking down on the baby.  I had to stand on a small stepstool to get far enough away to get the right proportions in the end.
  4. The photo is supposed to not have ‘distracting shadows’ so good light is important.Shoot near a window to get a lot of natural light.  If you have a directional flash that you can bounce off the ceiling that also helps. 
  5. To keep baby’s hands out of the picture either swaddle him or have your assistant hold his arms down.  (both worked fine for us – depends if your baby likes being swaddled)
  6. Getting the baby to look at the camera is so tough.  We did the following.
    1. At two weeks it was nearly impossible.  While I was shooting Steve got him adjusted on the floor and put his pacifier in his mouth.  Then he popped the pacifier out – resulting in his eyes popping open and leaving a pursed lips effect.
    2. At two months it was somewhat easier, Steve was just out of frame talking to him and making goofy sounds.

Editing the photo

Once you have a reasonable photo it needs to be edited to fit the size requirements.  To easily print at any photo shop you’ll want to have a 4×6 that can be cropped to leave a proper sized image.  To figure this out I traced the size guide on a piece of vellum and held it up to my computer screen – against the photo zoomed to make it 4″ x 6″ on my screen.

With our photo this was the original image.
IMG_7754-2

I rotated, adjusted the color and cropped so that it would leave the right size head when cropped to 2″ x 2″.
IMG_7754-3

And the final product looked like this.
IMG_7754-4

Bonus:  the one we took at two weeks looked like this.  (note how you can tell we just popped his pacifier out:-))
IMG_7298-2

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4 responses to “How to take a passport photo of an infant.

  1. Grandma Beckie

    A++ for effort and amazingly great photo. We are very relieved to know that Simon’s passport is “in the works” as we want to see all three of you in June.
    Grandma Beckie

  2. I think we know what pictures we are getting in our Christmas cards this year.

  3. that turned out really awesome!

  4. A photo of an alternative method. (not reccomended)

    Passport Photo

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