What makes the ideal passport photo?

For many of us, the most common form or basic photographic services that one might ever require from a professional photographer or studio is probably the ever-important “passport” photo.

http://Passport photos in Malta

Be it a set of small miniature photos for a passport travel document or maybe a car license renewal, or perhaps an application for a visa from an embassy or maybe a work permit, they are always referred to as a set of passport photos,  however, the specifications for any of the above do vary, sometimes substantially in many cases. The actual photo composition is almost standard in all these cases, but the printed or picture format does vary.

For many others, some might think that it is rather straightforward portraiture, that is centered in the middle of the frame thinking that there is no skill in this ‘simple job’ as referred to by some. For those who had a visa application refused by the authorities concerned probably because of a sub-standard photo, they know that after all, it’s not strictly a simple click or just a few minutes jobs as some might think! One is paying his favorite studio for more than just that.

While we are dealing with identification I.D portraits, there are many criteria that must be rigidly observed by the professional photographer concerned. This is the real reason why one should go to a photo studio for a proper set of ‘passport photos’ more than other outlets that pretend to do an equivalent job like that of a fully equipped studio or perhaps making some extra cash!

 In this day and age, of a high degree of security procedures or the so-called biometric technology, a proper identity photo must be compliant with a number of requisites. Coming to the various types of visa photos that are required by various Embassies or Consulates, although technically, the photographer does follow the same approach when clicking the camera, the size of each type of visa or identification photos has got its specific photo template. There are entities, like the British Embassy who require also a professional passport image posted online with the application, apart from the traditional hardcopy miniature prints. Consequently, once again there are specific requirements related to such applications. It is also becoming increasingly common that such entities would ask for a digital photo with specified file size.

As an example, let us this time take a typical US Visa photo requirement. Although the technical details are mainly rather similar to that of a Maltese passport photo, the American visa photo is precisely square in its format, while that of the Maltese passport has a rectangular and vertical format. In principle, these types of identification photos are all required to be on a light background, normally a white or grey background, perhaps even a light beige background.


Since there are different types of passport or visa photos normally such specifications dictate specific proportions and measurements. As an example, the head would have to be anything between 22mm to 35mm in other words around 50 to 69% from the height the bottom of the chin to the top end of the head. Other specific requirements are that the photos must be in colour; the person must be facing the camera with a neutral expression that is not smiling; He must also be precisely centered in the middle of the frame. Moreover, no shadows are acceptable in such photos; both eyes must be open; The position of the person should be symmetrical ; Such photos must have been taken during the last six months; one cannot wear a uniform, the hair cannot cover any part of the face; One must not wear eyeglasses unless it is a medical requirement. The latter would mean that no part of the glasses or its frame would cover the eyes of the person. The glasses cannot have any reflections or glare.

One may use the normal everyday clothes that one would wear regularly; The hairline must also be clearly visible unless the person wears a headdress for religious reasons although the latter cannot cover the face of the person.

http://Passport Photos in Mosta, Malta

Finally, I would always strongly recommend that in all cases ‘before’ visiting your favorite studio, you should enquire about the photo details that are required by the entity concerned by browsing online to establish your specific requirements. One may discuss all this with his photographer so that he would be guided accordingly to facilitate such an application.

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