08 Sep Passport Peril

It’s time. That chance which only presents itself once a decade. Two seconds which can make or break you.

It’s time to retake your passport photo.

Deep breaths! Yes, the last photo was…not great, but surely you’ve learned from that, right? This time your picture will correctly resemble a savvy world traveler and not the angry, frazzled, maniacal snapshot, which caused so many immigration officials to do a double take.

You’ve practiced taking plenty of non-smiling, face front, strictly beige background photos in the past few years, correct? No? And you’re aware they don’t accept instagram selfies? Uh oh…

Before this gets out of hand, let Panrimo give you 5 quick tips on how to take a decent passport photo without the help of a professional photographer or makeup artist. Just remember to:

Pick Your Time

Are you the early bird who gets the worm, or the owl who stays up all night? Taking a good photo is much easier when you’re energized. Being wide-awake cuts down on droopy eyes, disgruntled expressions, and dark circles under your eyes. So choose your best time of day, it will make the whole experience more pleasant.

Groom Appropriately

Ladies: Keep the makeup natural, there’s no need for a full face of warrior paint. A little lip-gloss, concealer, and mascara will be perfect for a fresh, attractive id photo.

Gentlemen: Shave. For those with permanent facial hair, be sure you trim up the ‘stache and even the eyebrows, it will look much better in the relatively harsh flash of the drugstore/photo booth camera.

Both: Keep your hair down and simple. Tying it back or using a lot of styling product will make it look like you’re trying too hard or, heaven forbid, bald.

Dress Timeless

You may want to wear your newest and trendiest to a photo session, but your flower-print crop top will be dated in about 6 months, not to mention 10 years. Picking an era-independent style is a much safer bet and that means a V-neck, solid color t-shirt. Scoop necklines are also okay, but a solid, darker color is essential. It will stand out best against the regulation beige background, and ages well. We suggest a navy blue or coffee color.


You don’t have to go full-Madonna, but your pose will go a long way towards marking the distinction between “safe and friendly” vs “potential security threat”. Keep your shoulders down and back, with your chin out just a tad farther than you’d normally hold it. For those who wear glasses, angle them ever so slightly down your nose to keep the camera flash from reflecting off your lenses. Now smile!

Don’t Smile

Oops, sorry, disregard that ‘smile’ bit. Alas, no one is allowed to smile in these anymore. This shouldn’t prevent you from looking friendly though, thanks to a handy Tyra Banks’ patented move: Smize! It might feel ridiculous, but the easiest way to achieve this is to think of happy things and relax. Practice a few times in the mirror to get an idea of just what faces you can pull.

And remember, if it all goes badly, just have them retake it.

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