Tips for taking a good passport photo

Taking a risk with a sneaky smile - cheeky or chuky?

Snap! Do you look like a startled deer in your passport photo, or worse, like a convict? Here’s 7 tips for turning your shot from horror to hot…

Harsh lighting and heinous background colours makes us look washed out and sick.

Adding insult to injury, facial recognition scanners have a hard time placing your face if you’re smiling or pulling a funny face. That’s why we’re not allowed to smile.

And it’s a tricky thing to look good when we’re not smiling.

How can you avoid a badassport pic?


How to take a good passport photo, for vanity’s sake

1.   Smile inside! Our faces light up when we’re happy. Smile with your eyes – think happy thoughts.

2.   Bright eyes are good but surprised eyes are not. You know you’re getting your photo taken so why are you shocked? There’s no room here for the startled deer.

3.    Forget bedroom eyes, trying to look sexy in a passport photo just makes you look a bit weird and sleepy.

Badassport Mick

4.   Avoid tilting your head backwards and looking down your nose. It can make you look like a criminal and that’s a potential bummer at passport control.

5.   A sultry Italian videographer, Isabella, once told me ‘chin down, eyes up’. Trust me, it works.

6.   Relax your face and shoulders, have a drink first if you need to. There’s nothing worse than someone peering out of a photo all pent up and anxious.

7.   It’s also best to avoid a cheeky grin (above). I got away with it once but it would have been ‘touch and go‘ according to one customs official in Australia. The alternative is forking out another couple of hundred bucks for a second application.


Other things to remember for passport photos

Remember to follow guidelines. Australian passport photo guidelines, for example, require that your mouth be closed, no teeth showing and in a neutral position. The UK, Canada and New Zealand are the same.



About Keri Algar

Keri has an insatiable appetite for travel, discovery and surf. You may find her among the happy isles, smiles and empty barrels of Melanesia, or swinging her hips at a Spanish fiesta, underwater in Mexico, on top of the Argentine alps, or at home in New Zealand with her nose in a book. She is delighted by difference - both people and places, and is inspired by those who follow their own path through life with passion and courage.


  1. Do you reckon your passport photo has any influence on how much of a hard time immigration might give you??  If yes, that might explain some of my grillings!

    Love the blog, kind regards, Si

  2. Crissygoldman says:

    you are hilariouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuus…  crissy gol dman

Speak Your Mind


You might also likeclose
Copyright 2011- 2014 Unstuck Travel -- All rights reserved