Culture & Entertainment

How to take a flattering passport photo

By: Guest Blogger
Canadian Living
Culture & Entertainment

How to take a flattering passport photo

By: Guest Blogger

Jamie passport Guest post by Jamie Anderson “Look how great my passport photo is!” said no one, ever. Notorious for making mankind look its worst, passport photos, with their straight-on, no-smiling, harsh-lit qualities, are almost guaranteed to be unflattering. But since you’re going to be stuck with yours for the next 10 years, you might want to try some of the following face-saving tips: 1.  Get some sleep The best thing you can do is make sure you sleep well the night before, says Natasha Jamieson, a hairstylist and educator who does a monthly hair segment on Rogers TV. “It will make you look refreshed and relaxed,” she says. 2.  Prep your face Apply full makeup, but don’t overdo it—you still want to look like yourself. “Full makeup does not mean Morticia Addams, but it does mean accentuating your features in the most flattering way,” says Jamieson. Focus on eyes and lips, and use a pressed powder to mattify and hide imperfections. When prepping for my own photo, I applied a darker powder to the natural shadows of my face so that the lighting wouldn’t wash me out. 3.  Let your locks loose Avoid pulling your hair back, says Jamieson. The best look for passport photos is wavy or curly hair. You want to frame your face to create a balance between yourself and the background. But since this is a passport photo, be sure to style your hair so that it’s out of your face! 4.  Go dark Steer clear of light-coloured clothing, especially white, says Steve Lim, manager of Rapid Photo in Toronto. Wearing darker colours or heavy patterns will make you stand out more. 5. Think ahead Remove anything that you may be forced to remove well in advance. Lim says about 90 percent of photographers will ask you to remove your glasses, which can mean unsightly red marks on the bridge of your nose. Similarly, hats and helmets should be taken off long before, to avoid the dreaded “hat head.” 6.  Relax Many people start to get antsy moments before the photo—I know that I do. When the photographer says not to smile, Lim says many people react by frowning or laughing. He suggests adopting a pleasant, relaxed expression with your lips resting naturally, not pursed. (This is one thing I really need to work on!) 7.  Smize! “When you’re ready, do as the pros do and ‘smize,’” says Jamieson. In other words, keep your face natural and relaxed, but squint slightly and smile with your eyes in order to achieve a Tyra-approved look. 8.  Ask for a do-over Not sure how it went? Many portrait studios will allow you to look at your photo and retake it if you’re not happy. Believe it or not, the above photo required four takes. If all else fails, ask that your photo be printed in black and white, because that’s always flattering.
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How to take a flattering passport photo

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