How To Take Baby Passport Photos At Home

How To Take Baby Passport Photos At Home

How to take baby passport 2×2 inches size from home

Last time I went to a local Walgreens for passport photos, I was a little shocked. The worker actually took my entire family’s passport photos with a point-and-shoot camera against a plain white wall! I was like, wait, I could’ve done that at home! The photos weren’t that great but they worked just fine for the passport.

I always thought passport photos had strict requirements that required a certain kit but nope, it’s actually really straight forward, simple and fast.

In this post, you’ll learn how to take your kids’ and baby passport photos in the comfort of your own home with your own camera. This is especially helpful if you have little ones that require multiple re-takes and want to take your time getting the perfect passport photo.

Here’s how I took my baby’s passport photos from home in less than 10 minutes.

USA passport for baby

1. Understand the baby passport photo requirements

Here are important passport photo guidelines from the Department of State. Passport photos must be:

  • In color
  • Printed on photo quality paper
  • 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm) in size (standard passport photo size)
  • Sized such that the head is between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches (between 25 and 35 mm) from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head.
  • Taken within the last 6 months to reflect your current appearance
  • Taken in front of a plain white background or off-white background
  • Taken in full-face view with the baby’s head directly facing the camera
  • With a neutral facial expression and both eyes open
  • Taken in clothing that you normally wear on a daily basis, preferably with light colors

2. Find a plain white backdrop

This can be a plain white wall, a door, a closet door, or even white paper or poster taped to the wall. Anything plain white works. The important thing is that it is a plain background with no wallpaper, distracting objects, etc.

3. Look for good light

This is crucial because good natural light is what’s going to make or break the quality of your photo. Try in the morning or afternoon by a window in a brightly lit room. Remember that lack of light can cast shadows or make a white wall look gray or even dark gray.

4. Pose the child or baby

I had to photograph my 7 months old baby so I sat him up on a little table with blankets for padding. He’s able to sit up independently so this helped. You can get someone to help you if needed. Newborn passport photos are different because they can’t sit up on their own, yet you also cannot have someone hold the baby in the picture. Car seats are a no-go as well. If you have a younger baby, lay your baby down flat on a white sheet or blanket. Older children should be easier, just stand them against a white backdrop.

5. Try bracketing

Bracketing is just a fancy word for testing out your shots for exposure, brightness, composition etc. You can shoot in auto mode but if you know how to use manual mode on your camera, this is even better! Try taking some test shots to make sure the exposure, brightness and focus are right. Try to focus on the eyes if possible.

6. Frame the photo like this and snap away!

2x2 size requirement

If you know how to use basic photo editing software, you don’t even have to frame the photo perfectly because you can always crop and edit later. Just keep snapping away until you get the right shot! It may take a few tries to get the perfect photo for a baby.

7. Make sure the baby/child is looking directly at the camera with a straight face as possible.

This means no big smiles and wide grins on your baby’s face. If your child wears glasses, they must be removed as well. If possible, try to get a shot with their mouth closed. Be sure the hair is neat and both ears are visible. Clothing should be kept simple and neutral.

8. Use a passport processing online service

I ordered my passport application through Target and it was super easy. It cost me $9.99 for two photos (on one sheet) and it was available for pick up on the same day.

9. Use a local post office for easier and faster processing

I went to the LA passport agency the first time I got my family’s passport and this took over 4 hours. The lines were crazy long and it was draining to be there with the whole family. In contrast, applying at the local post office took less than 15 minutes with an appointment and it was so easy! You can find a post office near you here.

10. Be sure you’re there with your spouse (or with the right papers) with valid IDs

To apply, you need your child’s birth certificate, social security card/number and valid ID’s for parents. You also need both parents present unless you get a letter notorized by your spouse. If you’re not married or divorced, there are certain documents you will need. I believe this is a way to prevent one parent from taking the child overseas without the other parent’s permission.

You can find more detailed information here.

And that’s it! It’s a lot simpler than you thought, right?

Here are some photos I got. None were perfect but I got a photo good enough for the passport. As a bonus, you can use these various expressions for a cute milestone collage of your baby or child!

DIY photoshoot for babies

If you enjoyed this post, please pin the photo below. It helps more parents find this post and helps to support this blog. If you have any additional questions about taking your child’s passport photos at home, drop them below. Thank you!

DIY kids passport photo tutorial

What do you think? Would you like to take your own passport photos at home next time you travel abroad?

Did you enjoy these photography tips? Check out my DIY Newborn Photography Tips here.

Join the Conversation

16 thoughts on “How To Take Baby Passport Photos At Home

  1. What a great idea! We have to get my youngest his passport and I’ve been dreading the thought of trying to take him to get his photo done. Love the fact that I can now do it from home, thank you for this!

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