How to make baby passport photos

Shutterstock.com/ Olha Birieva

Getting good pictures of your child is difficult; getting a good passport photo may seem impossible. While older children and adults can easily get passport photos from a local drug store, younger toddlers and infants may have a much more difficult time sitting still and paying attention to a photographer.

Because it’s so difficult, many parents have taken to doing their own passport photos. If you’re in this category, the list below will tell you exactly what to do to successfully capture a passport photo of your baby.

Make sure that you know the rules

There is a long list of requirements set by the government for passport photos. All accepted passport photos must:

  • Be clear. No blurry photos are allowed.
  • Be against a plain white or off-white background.
  • Be in color
  • Be current (6 months or less).
  • Be 2×2 inches. Also, there needs to be between 1-1 3/8″ from the chin to the top of the head.
  • Be printed on matte or glossy photo paper.
  • Have a neutral expression with eyes open. Also, red eye photos are not allowed.

Know what time of day your baby will likely be alert

Your baby’s passport photo needs to be facing the camera with their eyes open. To get the best cooperation, it may be best to take the photo in the morning, after a nap, or after a bath. Think about the times of day when your child is calm, alert, and most willing to work with you. Some people can also cradle their baby and raise them quickly. The natural reaction will be for them to widen their eyes for a moment.

Dress the baby in colored clothing

To avoid having your child look too washed out against the white or off-white backdrop, dress your baby in a solid colored onesie or outfit. If your baby tends to play with their face, it may also be a good idea to swaddle them in colored cloth for the photo – that way they stand out from the background and their hands are kept out of the way for a moment.

Gather your supplies and take the photo

To take the photo, a white sheet or poster board are essential. You may also need white towels, tube socks, or receiving blankets. Car seats, bouncer seats, or bath seats can also be especially helpful.

The easiest way to take the picture is to lay the baby down on top of the white sheet and take the photo from above. Depending on the baby’s age, it may also be helpful to place the white sheet or receiving blanket over the car seat, bouncer chain, or bath seat and place the baby on top for the photo. If you can’t get them to look at you, place the tube sock on your hand if you need to help your baby position their head. Just make sure that your hand blends into the background and doesn’t cover the baby’s ears.

Don’t use tricks

Your baby’s facial expression needs to be relatively neutral, so try not to resort to tricks or toys, as they tend to make babies smile and coo.