During the current National Lockdown I've had numerous phone calls from customers asking if I can still offer passport photography. Unfortunately Photography Studios like mine are required to close during the lockdown and with the vast majority of photo booths also closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic the only alternative at this time is to take your own and send it digitally to the Passport Office.
Of course, I'd much prefer you to visit the studio but it's simply not possible until the current restrictions are eased and I'm allowed to reopen again. However if your passport application cannot wait, and to help you during our period of closure, please find below a guide to taking your own passport photo at home.
To take your passport photo, I’d recommend a good quality phone camera, a digital camera, or a tablet. It is important to note that you can’t submit a selfie, so you’ll need someone else to take the photo on your behalf. However, if you have a tripod, use it! It will ensure that the camera is kept steady and level.
Take your photo in front of a plain background that is cream or white in colour. Avoid standing in front of tiled walls or patterned wallpaper, and make sure there are no objects in the frame. The correct posture for optimal positioning is to stand 1.5 metres away from the person taking the photo, and half a metre from the wall. Make sure your photo isn’t closely cropped as the Passport Office will automatically crop your image to size once they’ve received your application. Remember to position yourself so that there is enough space around your head and shoulders too.
The best lighting is natural lighting, so position yourself facing towards a window. Photos won’t be accepted if there are shadows on your face or behind your head, so make sure that the light is even. If you don’t have access to enough natural lighting, avoid being too close to a lamp as it will only light one side of your face.
You should take off any headwear unless it’s worn for religious or medical reasons. If you have accessories such as hair clips or glasses, they will also need to be removed (this also applies to glasses positioned on the top of your head!). Although the Passport Office recommends removing glasses, you may wear them if absolutely necessary - just take care to avoid glare on the lenses as this would void the photo. Put your hair back into a ponytail, tuck a long fringe behind your ear (or with a natural clip) as hair also counts towards covering your face.
Look straight at the camera with a neutral expression. Although it feels unnatural, your mouth should be closed, and you aren’t allowed to smile. Once you’ve taken your photo, double check that the image is clear and in focus, with no red eye. If there is a problem, take another shot as you are unable to use an editing software to correct it.
I hope this information is useful. If your new or renewing passport application can wait I'd be delighted to welcome you to the studio just as soon as I'm allowed to reopen. For more information on our passport and ID photography click here.