Tips on How to Take A Baby Passport Photo
If you were born in the 80s (or earlier), you might remember the ease of international travel. Being able to fly on your parent’s passport was the norm, until you reached the ripe age of 16, when you finally qualified for your very own passport!
Fast forward to 2019, and how things have changed.
Today every UK citizen, regardless of their age, is required to possess their own passport in order to travel abroad.
Aside from the costs and form filling involved, this also requires one important piece of documentation: a baby passport photo!
Children’s Passport Photos
In the UK, children’s passports differ to adults, in that they last five years (not ten like adults) and cost £49 instead of the adult price of £75.50*.
But they both share one commonality – the dreaded passport photo!
Unlike adults however, the rules are a little more relaxed for children, especially baby passport photos.
In accordance with current government guidelines, the following requirements are outlined for a child’s photo:
- Children must be on their own in the photo
- Children under six years old do not have to look directly at the camera
- Children under six years old do not require a ‘plain’ expression
- Babies should not hold toys
- Babies should not use dummies
- Babies under the age of one year’s old do not have to have their eyes open. If their head is supported with hands or props, these must not be visible in the photo.
Taking A Baby Passport Photo
To capture the perfect baby passport photo there’s three options available; 1) do it yourself, 2) use a high-street service and 3) hire a professional newborn photographer.
Here’s some tips for getting the perfect mug shot, whichever option you decide to choose.
Do it Yourself
If you decide to photograph your own baby passport photo, remember to keep the above requirements in mind. Forms and photos that fail to meet the criteria may incur delays, or may not be processed.
If you feel confident that you can meet the above criteria, start with a plain white backdrop, somewhere in your house that benefits from natural light. Do not go for any other colour. A plain white sheet or blanket makes a suitable backdrop for your baby photo.
Choose a time when your baby is in a good mood, and less likely to grumble. This is often after a feed, or a little while after they’ve woken up. As any new parent will tell you, there’s short window between feeds and changes, so plan your day in good time and be prepared that baby photography can be time consuming.
When you’re ready, carefully stand above your little one to capture their face and shoulders, using a good quality camera on a high-resolution setting. If you have a strap, do wear this around your arm or neck, it’s easy to accidently let slip causing injury to your precious one.
Be sure to avoid any shadows (yours or theirs) in the shot, and be mindful of your legs, hands and hair getting in the way too! It’s wise to wear a white top to avoid any bright colours reflecting.
Try not to focus the image too tight, it’s better to have a decent border to crop around if needed. Likewise, don’t take the photo too far away either. Try and stay in focus, avoiding any images that come out blurry or show movement – babies are notorious for moving around.
Say hello to your little one and make noises to get their attention to look your way. Or if they are under one, you can choose a time when they are sleeping on their back, as long as their hands aren’t in the way.
As per guidelines, make sure there’s no dummies or toys in shot either. Images should be sharp and clear and provided in full colour.
Take as many photos as you can; the greater the selection, the easier it will be to find a suitable image for the application.
High Street Photography
If your child is unable to sit unaided, then a photo booth is out of the question. However, there are a few high street shops that specialise in passport photography, that may be able to assist with your baby passport photo.
Before committing, enquire as to whether this is a service they have experience in, including training for handling newborn babies. You might also want to see if they have insurance, should anything go wrong. Finally, do check out their facilities for photographing your child; these should include a white backdrop and good lighting.
Hire a Professional Photographer
If all the above makes for tiring reading, then perhaps consider a professional newborn baby photographer.
You might already have a baby photography session booked to capture creative shots of your little one. If you contact your photographer in advance and ask them for a plain backdrop photo for your passport, they will likely oblige.
Since they have the perfect studio conditions and will be familiar with working with babies (and children), they are perfectly suited to take this shot for you.
It will usually be supplied in digital format, however there are certain websites that will crop the photo to the right specifications for printing.
Using a newborn baby photographer will help put your mind at ease that the photo will be taken to the highest standard, and that your baby will be handled with due care.
Other Useful Information
There’s a few other useful nuggets of information to be aware of when applying for your child’s passport and taking a baby passport photo, as follows:
- You will need to provide two photos that measure 45mm x 35mm.
- Only those with parental responsibility can apply on behalf of a child under 16 years old.
- Plan ahead – passports for under 16s can take up to six weeks to process, sometimes longer during busy periods.
- For urgent passport requests, a one-week fast -track service is available at a premium cost.
Before applying for your child’s first passport, be sure to consult the guidelines and visit the government website for full details on how to apply.
*Prices correct at time of going to print, for the latest pricing, please visit the government website.