Passport Photo Requirements and Tips

As you prepare to renew your Canadian Passport, we’ve put together some tips to help you get a  great Passport Photo that meets your requirements and even flatters you! First, here are the basic requirements the Canadian Government expects for your Passport Photo:

  • Passport Photo Specifications  – a quality and reputable Passport Photo Photographer should know all passport photo requirements including size and image quality (focus, lighting, background, skin tone, etc). But it’s good to know to make sure you get photos that will pass the vetting process of your application. The back of the photo must have the photographer’s stamp and date.
  • Facial expressions  – start practicing that neutral expression now. Your passport photo is not the time to say “cheese” to show off your pearly whites. Y our mouth must be closed, and your eyes must be open.
  • Appearance and Posture – the bottom line is that your photo must accurately reflect your appearance – so make sure it was taken within 6 months (maximum) of the time you submitted your passport application. You should place it perpendicular to the camera and in the middle. The background must be white. If you wear glasses, make sure your Passport Photo is clearly visible and not obstructed by glare from glasses. However, at AT STUDIO, our Passport Photo experts can tell you that it’s best to take the photo without glasses as there’s no guarantee that a photo of the subject wearing glasses won’t be tainted. refused due to perceived glare or eye obstruction. When it comes to hairstyles, hats, hair clips, headbands, hair ties, and head coverings, only religious head coverings are acceptable to ensure that your face is clearly visible. Avoid shiny jewelry or lip gloss. In addition, AT STUDIO Photo recommends that hair not touch the eyebrows. 
  • Special considerations for baby passport photos – because newborns can be difficult to photograph with neutral expressions, a variety of facial expressions are acceptable when taking a baby’s passport photo. Since newborns are often held for passport photos, make sure that the parent/caregiver’s hands are not visible in the passport photo. Additionally, the baby’s hands are also not visible in the passport photo . Infants can also sit in car seats for passport photos, but requirements still apply. Also, remember that car seat photos can increase the likelihood of shadows (around baby’s ears, in the background, or on the face/shoulders). At AT STUDIO, our experience proves that Passport Photos on car seats are rarely accepted due to shadow issues, so we do not recommend Passport Photos on car seats and do not take them this way . In addition, AT STUDIO also reminds some other notes: the baby must be dressed, the baby must keep his mouth closed and not show his teeth, the baby must open his eyes. 

More passport photo tips to ensure you truly enjoy your passport photo for years to come

Canadian Life  offers some  great tips so you can get a great-looking passport photo:

  • Get a good night’s sleep.
  • Wear full makeup – but don’t go too far. You want to look like the best version of yourself, not someone else entirely.
  • Color – pair with darker colored clothing or even a bold (but not too bright) pattern.
  • Hair – ideally you don’t want to pull your hair back. Leaving your hair loose will create more distinction between your face and the background.
  • Get rid of things in advance that will ruin your look – hats and helmets will make your hair unsightly, and glasses can cause dents on the bridge of your nose. Give your hair and nose time to recover before your Passport Photo is taken.
  • Review your photos and don’t be afraid to ask for a retake if you’re not satisfied. Typically, professional Passport Photographers will show you digital photos on camera for approval – so make sure you look carefully before approving printing.

The travel experts at AT STUDIO  add some  tips for taking their own Passport photos:

  • Choose a more skilled photographer like drug stores, Staple and UPS, Shoper Drug, Wallmart… locations may offer Passport Photo services but they tend to be in a hurry and not have the necessary skills and/or equipment.
  • Consider not wearing a strapless top – because the Passport Photo is cut off at the chest, it can give the appearance of being undressed for the photo, which may not be the ideal long-term look you want included in your Passport Photo. The AT STUDIO team has actually seen cases where bare shoulder Passport Photos were not accepted so we do not recommend it.
  • Avoid trendy fashion. Even though you look great today, it may not work well 10 years from now. Instead, choose a long-term view.
  • Pay attention to the shading controlled by the hairstyle.
  • Strive for a neutral expression? Order a special coffee?!?! Try saying “mocha” – “uh” creates a gentle neutral expression. The  Passport Photo experts at AT STUDIO  recommend creating simple, soothing sounds.
  • Can’t stop blinking? Close your eyes and open them in a 1-2-3 rhythm.
  • Pose – lengthens the neck and widens the chin. This may make you feel awkward, but it will make the photo more attractive.
  • Bring oil blotting paper to ensure that shine before the photographer takes the Passport photo.

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