Let’s face it: baby passport photos are kind of ridiculous. There are all these rules to follow, none of which your baby will care about while you’re trying to take their photo, and chances are that by the time you travel, your baby will look totally different anyway. Regardless, if you want to take your baby out of the country, a passport is needed, complete with a photo. Here is my quick guide on an easy way to taking a baby passport photo, plus a super easy way to order copies of the photo and have them in your hand within an hour!
Taking a baby passport photo
There are a number of rules to follow when taking a baby passport photo. It must be taken on a white background, the baby should be looking at the camera with his/her eyes open and mouth closed (or mostly closed) and both ears should be visible. This doesn’t sound too tricky, but it took me forever to get a photo that fit this criteria! I laid Grayson down on a white towel to provide the white background, and then took over 20 photos of him, trying to get one that fit the bill! Some he wasn’t looking at the camera, or he blinked, or he turned his head away. Twice he just rolled away. But in the end I had one photo (one! Out of 20!) that seemed to be perfect. I knew I’d have to crop it to get it to the right size, so I was just focusing on his actual head and the immediate background, not the carpet in the corner!
A few tips for taking a baby passport photo:
– The picture must be taken with a white background, and trying to hold a baby up to a white background is virtually impossible, which is why we went with laying him on something white instead. A towel or a sheet should do the trick, and just be sure to smooth it out so there are no creases that might create shadows.
– The baby needs to be facing the camera, so you’ll need something to get their attention. They should also have a neutral expression on their face, so a rattle or toy that makes them laugh won’t work for this. We tried a few different things, and in the end jangling car keys over him seemed to hold his attention without making him laugh. – Take the photo from a couple of feet from your baby. This will ensure that you can crop it down to the right size for the actual photo and avoid any glare or shadows from your camera.
Turning that photo into a baby passport photo
In order to turn this one photo into the right sized passport photo, I used 123passportphoto. This website is super easy to use! You upload the photo you want to use, crop it down to the right size, use their enhancement tool to make sure the picture is the right composition, and you’re done! They create a 4×6 print with six of the photos so you’ll have a few spare copies to keep at home. The cost for one 4×6 with the six photos was $2.99, and you can use Paypal to pay or just use a debit or credit card. You can then save the high resolution picture to your computer. I’ve used this company for not only the baby passport photos for my kids, but for my recent passport renewal as well.
Having the photos in your hands
Now, you can go ahead and print the photos out at home if you want. For US passport photos, they can be printed on either glossy or matte paper and if you have a photo printer at home, this is easy enough to do. However if you don’t have one (or you’re like me and you have one but no idea how to work it!) then you need another way to get those photos in hand.
Here’s what I did: upload your photo to Shutterfly and add it to your cart as a 4×6 print. Then you are given the option to collect your photo from a local Target, Walgreens or CVS store. I was going to Target anyway, so I ordered it to be collected from there. I received a confirmation email saying that my photos would be ready in an hour, so I could get my regular shopping done and then just stop by Guest Services on the way out. The cost for this convenience? 19 cents! Seriously! When I collected the photo, the associate couldn’t believe how cheap it was – she told me she’d just paid $12 for passport photos from somewhere else! This was so easy and convenient, I cannot recommend this method enough.
We’re headed to our local passport office this weekend to apply for Grayson’s passport, and we can’t wait to use it on his first international trip in December!
More posts on flying a baby can be found below:
1o things to do before flying with a baby
Essential tips on taking a red eye flight with a baby
Helping babies, toddlers and kids with jet lag
Surviving a long haul flight with a baby on your lap
Tips on flying while breastfeeding
Where was your baby’s first trip? Let me know in the comments!