Tips for Babies' Passport Photo

June 17, 2011

When Connor was almost 8 weeks old we were planning a trip that required him to have a passport. The guidelines for baby passport photos are almost as strict as those for adults. Connor’s first photo shoot lasted 45 minutes; he could barely hold up his head, let alone sit by himself so getting the perfect photo was a challenge! (almost as challenging as finding a studio that does baby passport pictures) Half way into it Connor was no longer interested in cooperating, if I'd known then what I know now, we probably would have been done much sooner.

Once at the studio here are some of the things we had to accomplish:
1. Only the head and shoulders of the child can show in the photo and photos must show a full front view of the face with both edges of the face showing clearly. The face and shoulders must be centered in the photo and squared to the camera:
I’d dressed Connor in a very cute outfit, but that cute outfit was one piece and had “feet”, Didn't matter that his clothes were adorable, because noone sees the clothes in the photo! I have since learnt that the trick to holding a newborn for a passport photo is to place the palm of your hand on their back, inside their shirt; this allows you to support their head and hide your arm; so better to dress your little one in a shirt and pants.
2. Photos must show a full front view of the face with both edges of the face showing clearly:
That’s hard to do with a newborn! You need to balance your baby, keeping them upright so their head isn’t lopsided, without any evidence that you are holding them up. Connor kept tilting his head meaning one of his ears was hidden so we had to keep shifting my holding position, much easier for parent to adjust than it is to get baby to.
3. Eyes must be open and clearly visible and facial expression must be neutral, no smiling or frowning and mouth closed:
This requires good luck and patience! A rested baby and dangling toys help in getting your baby keep eyes open, focused on the camera, but natural looks and closed mouth are a bit harder with a baby that doesn’t understand directions! Be willing to take mini breaks to give both you and your baby a change of scenery and stay positive, you will get that great shot.
We were lucky to have the most understanding photographer ever, a lot of pictures were taken before we had one that met the criteria, but the end result was a cute photo allowing us to get the passport needed to explore the world.
Happy Traveling!
* First posted July 2010. 

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