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British Passport photos

Discussion in 'People' started by Uncle Frank, Jun 23, 2007.

  1. There's no money in passport photos. You can walk into any Ritz Camera, Walgrens, or Costco and get them made for a couple of bucks... unless you're a Brit. Their passport pics are a different size (35mm by 45mm), and there are two pages of rules defining what they must look like. So when Carol, who is an ex-pat, tried to get passport photos so she could renew her and her daughter's passports, she couldn't find a place to get them made. I was her fallback position.

    After I read the rules, I reluctantly agreed to take on the job. British passport photos have to be well centered, head on, mouth closed, flat lighting... in other words, boring. But I decided I could still have some fun by including some non-passport shots.

    Here's Carol's daughter, Julie's, passport photo...

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    ... and here's Julie.

    View attachment 102285

    Carol's passport...

    View attachment 102286

    ... and Carol

    View attachment 102287

    And at the very end of the session, I convinced Carol's youngest to pose with mom.

    View attachment 102288
  2. gadgetguy11


    Nov 16, 2005
    That is very interesting, Frank! I thought all passports were created "equal". Different size requirements are surprising. Looks like you did a good favor for some very nice people. Kudos, Frank!
  3. Really nice.

    I should have called you when I renewed the passport 2 months ago. I look like a criminal on mine, and it has to be with me for the next 10 years.
  4. Thanks, John!

    Phil, it's no wonder. Looking at your avatar, it's obvious you have criminal tendencies that would be hard to disguise.
  5. Hey, I shot my own passport photo when I had to renew it, last year... The French have similar requirements to the Brits! :rolleyes: :smile:


    PS: I don't normally look that somber, but one of the requirements is to not smile! :wink:
  6. The more you look like a terrorist, the better is your passport photo :biggrin:
  7. Sure enough, they are virtually identical requirements as in the EU (except the picture size and head proportion to the picture). I am not sure when they were changed, but it used to be quite different, on both sides of the Atlantic...
  8. Love the first passport photo Frank. She is luck to have you as a friend to do this for her.
  9. Like Philippe,I also wear spectacles...but they are rimless. When I renewed my British passport recently, I was firmly told by the photographer that the rules now said that they had to be removed !!
  10. Davo


    May 3, 2005
    Las Vegas
    working at a ritz...we typically do the standard 2x2 american ones.

    however on occasion we'll have someone needing a canadian passport. which is a pain, because there's no template on our machine that prints passports. so i created a physical template...how to line a person up within a 4x6 print, and the dimensions to cut it into, and how large the head has to be, and how far from top and bottom. the lady and i spent around half an hour conforming to the guidelines.

    i really ought to get a passport at some point. ugh.

    you didn't make them look angry and ragged though frank...clearly a gigantic failure on your part :p 
  11. The Brits call out a photo size of 35 by 45mm (1.38 by 1.77 inches), and then state "please do not trim your photographs to meet this condition". I guess they expect everyone to have a stock of 1.38 by 1.77 inch photopaper on hand. Crazy.

    The face of the applicant has to measure between 29mm and 34mm from the chin to the crown of their head without hair. I measured the set of prints I prepared, found I was out of spec, and had to redo them. :Confused:

    No joke, I'm a little worried about Carol's shot. She had a little smile and her lips are slightly parted. Do you think it will pass muster by the beaurocrats at the UK Passport department?

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  12. I think the US is the "odd one out" in requiring 2x2 photos. Most countries use the 35x45mm size apparently. I've never had a set of passport photos rejected so they can't be that stringent here in the UK. How can they tell whether you've printed edge to edge or just trimmed it anyway? Indeed most will be "trimmed" in some way as they usually come in blocks of four on the same sheet of paper over here.

  13. Yes, they are mad now in Europe, too. It has to do with this new morphometry stuff.

    In former times it was possible to enter your kids in your passport, now they have to have their own. A friend of mine told me about his nightmare experiences getting a EU confrom passport photo made of his 2 year old daughter. Try to have a small kid sitting still without performing any grimaces. I am dreading the moment I need to do that with my daughter ...

  14. Phil Lee

    Phil Lee

    Jan 17, 2007
    Sale, UK
    When I renewed my UK passport last October I had no problem with trimmed photos.

    I strongly suspect they will reject that photo. The application form clearly states that the mouth must be closed.
  15. They were changed 2005 when the US forced the states in the Visa Waver Program to have machine readable passports. The photos need to be from the front and as emotion less as possible to be suited for automated face recognition. (Which is proven to be tricked easily, expensive and mostly useless in my eyes...)

    I'm not even sure if a scanned photo which is stored on an RFID chip on the passport which can be read out wirelessly is actually a requirement for the Visa Waiver Program, but most European Interior Ministers took the chance to fulfill their dreams of what they call security (still without proof of actual value), some of which are also affiliated with certain companies of the chip card industry.

    Next is fingerprints on-chip. Also readable wirelessly. You do not want to imagine what other people/countries/whoever can do with your fingerprint.

    Thank you for the security simulation, dear ministers.

    </rant off>
  16. You may be right about the rejection, but note that her mouth is closed. Her lips are just parted.

    Heck, I may just take it over :frown:.
  17. Seneca


    Dec 4, 2006
    My passport photo looks like a mug shot. All it needs is me holding up the card with those crazy numbers. I won't bore you with the picture.
  18. adrianaitken

    adrianaitken Guest

    Strange. The photo should look like you just waited 2 hours standing in a queue with no food or drink allowed to get your hand luggage x-rayed and then hand searched else it just won't look like you.
  19. Carol has a holiday planned in a month, and I didn't want her to take the risk of having her application denied, so I reshot her portrait photo. It was a spur of the moment decision, and I didn't have my good gear with me, but I think it'll do.

    Shot A
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Shot B
    View attachment 102291

    Both of them suck compared with the first version, but there's no sense fighting city hall :actions1:.

    View attachment 102292
  20. Frank, I'd go with B. Shot A has a lot of light spill on her right (camera left). It'll do. You should see how my relatively nice picture (I would think, no?) got scanned and incorporated (overexposed) into my new passport: just atrocious!! :rolleyes: 
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