Sharpness and Contrast
The face must be in focus, have good contrast and accurately reflect the subject’s skin tone. By uploading and using our Passport Photo Generator, you will be able to see if your photo is of sufficient resolution to print at high quality.
If you use our printing services, we will also check the quality and resolution and let you know if there is a problem.
Lighting and Illumination
The face must be evenly illuminated across all features, with no shadows. Red eye from camera flash is not acceptable, and glare or reflections on glasses will also cause the photo – and the application – to be rejected. It is preferred that glasses are removed before the picture is taken.
Natural light is always best, so look to have the subject face a window whilst avoiding direct sunlight which may cause the person to squint. This will also minimise shadows and reflections.
The background must be one plain colour – ideally light grey or white -and bright enough to isolate the subject sufficiently whilst providing good contrast with the hair and facial features. Although all backgrounds should be light, a good rule of thumb is to use a slightly darker grey for blonde or very light hair. Any kind of pattern on the background will not be acceptable.
The photo may contain only the person applying for the passport, even if the application is for a baby or young child.
Modern digital cameras are very capable of taking high quality pictures, but care must be taken with printer settings to ensure your application is not rejected due to a poor quality printed photo. Ideally, you should set your printer to print at 600dp. This is sometimes called “Best” or “Ultra” in the printer settings. An absolute minimum of 300dpi is required to print at sufficient quality, but all printers are different so check the quality before sending your application. If you use our printing services, we will make this check for you.
The photo must be neutral in colour and reflect the natural skin tone of the subject. Some printers deliberately print photos “warm” so make sure skin doesn’t appear unnaturally pink or red, especially with darker skin tones.
The subject should look directly at the camera with a natural expression. The eyes must be open and the mouth closed with no smile or other emotion present.
If both ears are visible, this usually indicates that the subject is front-on to the camera, as required.
Eyes and Sight
As well as being fully open, the eyes must not be covered or partially covered by hair, head coverings or any other object.
Glasses and Other Eyewear
Again, the eyes must be fully visible and any glasses worn must not be causing any kind of reflection or shadow across the eyes or face. Although not compulsory, UK Passport Office guidelines indicate that it is preferred that glasses are not worn when taking a passport photograph.
Hats and other headwear is not permitted unless for religious or medical reasons. Even then, any headwear must not obscure any part of the eyes or face. If headwear is required for medical reasons, a statement must be produced to adequately confirm this.
The same composition rules for adults also apply to photos of children, with a couple of exceptions. Children under 6 years old do not need to be looking at the camera.
No toys or other objects are allowed, and the child must be the only person visible in the printed photo.
Babies and Younger Children
As with all children up to the age of 6, the child does not need to be looking directly at the camera. Under 1 year old, it is also permissible for the child’s eyes to be closed.
The child can be supported by a hand, but the hand may not appear in the printed photo. Toys, dummies or other comfort objects are not allowed.
The following video shows a summary of all before mentioned requirements:
Size, Format and Orientation
The required size and format of a passport photo must be followed exactly to avoid the application being rejected. The photo must be (W)35mm x (H)45mm in total, with the head of the subject covering between 29mm and 34mm of the overall height.
Our Passport Photo Generator can help to centre the subject in the image, if necessary.