Tips on how to make nice passport photos at home:
- Try to find a white wall or a white bed sheet/large paper. Keep it as a background.
- Find a place where there is good light that falls directly on the face. Try to avoid standing next to a window or door to avoid uneven light on the face. Make sure whole face is uniformly exposed.
- Take a photo in the Auto mode. If it comes out well, fine. If the light is not good, photo may be blurry or noisy.. You can try taking a photo with Flash on. If the flash creates any shadows, most online passport photo services like http://ipassportphotos.com or http://www.onlinepassportphoto.com would be able to remove the shadow. Supply them one photo with flash and one without flash.
- If you don't want to use Flash and photo is coming out blurry or noisy, follow these tips. If it is blurry, probably the shutter is open too long. Change to Tv (Shutter Priority mode) and set shutter speed to be no more than 1/75 seconds. (Mostly for such photos, subject person will be standing still for this much time).
- If the photo is coming out noisy, the ISO is probably too high. Try to set an upper limit on the ISO. Use the ISO mode (if available) or set ISO upper limit so camera can choose the value but not above the top limit you have set.If you are using a compact camera, do not use ISO more than 800 for most cameras. For SLR, you can go up to 3200 (or even more if you SLR is 2012 or older model).
Set Camera to Manual mode. Then set Aperture to the widest open (lowest number) and Shutter speed to 1/75. Take few photos.
- If the photo is coming out too dark, it is because camera is set on intelligent metering option. The while background will fool camera to underexpose the photo. If possible, change metering mode to a Point or Center only mode. This will make sure the face gets nicely exposed.
- Once you move your photos to the computer, crop it as shown below in photo#2.
Take few photos with different settings. Once you have a good photo, use some free tools/websites to crop your photo to make passport photos you need. For USA, you will need 2x2 inch photos.
Once personal advice. If you doubt the photo you have taken, it is worthwhile to spend few bucks and get your photo fixed by using services like http://ipassportphotos.com or http://www.onlinepassportphoto.com . When we are paying hundreds of dollars to renew a passport or get some visa, why not buy piece of mind by having someone fix your photo and make photos in the right size and as per the specs you need. Remember, US passport photos are very different than passport photos used in Canada, UK, Australia, Germany, Japan, China or any other country. Each country has own requirements when it comes to photos for passport or visa. Good luck.
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