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Picture perfect: Tips and tricks for compliant passport photos

Written by: Russell Wallace | Travel Insurance Expert
Last updated: 2 March 2023 | Created: 2 March 2023
Picture shows a happy middle aged couple in a sunny destination

When applying for your passport, making sure your photo ticks all the boxes can be a little stressful. Nobody wants to have their application rejected, so take some of the worry out of the process by following our tips for the perfect passport photo.

Using the right device

These days, you don’t need to visit a photo booth for your passport photos. In the modern era of smartphones and tablets, you can take a photo on your device and send it in with your online application

If you decide to use your phone, you’ll need someone else to take the picture. Include your head, shoulders and upper body. Don’t crop the image; this will be done automatically as part of the online process. 

If you’re uncomfortable using your own device to take the photo, you can still use a photo booth picture for your application. Remember that you will need 2 copies of a printed photo if you apply via post. 

To apply online, but using a photo from a booth, ensure that the images include a code you can use. Most booths and shops offering passport photos will include this as standard but check first.

Making sure your photo is compliant

How do you ensure your photo will be accepted when applying for your passport? There are some basic rules which your image must comply with to be approved.

Your photo must be:

  • clear and in focus
  • in colour
  • unaltered by computer software
  • at least 600 pixels wide and 750 pixels tall
  • at least 50KB and no more than 10MB

The digital photo must:

  • contain no other objects or people
  • be taken against a plain, light-coloured background
  • be in clear contrast to the background
  • not have ‘red eye’


In your photo, you must:

  • be facing forwards and looking straight at the camera
  • have a plain expression and your mouth closed
  • have your eyes open and visible
  • not have hair in front of your eyes
  • not have a head covering (unless it’s for religious or medical reasons)
  • not have anything covering your face
  • not have any shadows on your face or behind you

What about children and babies?

If you’re applying for a child’s passport, there are some things to remember. Children must be alone in the photos, not with an adult. They cannot be holding toys or using dummies. Children under 6 are not expected to have a neutral expression and are not required to look directly at the camera. Children under one can be lying on a plain light-coloured sheet, and the photo taken from above. Under ones do not need to have their eyes open in the image.

With these tips, you can ensure your photo is approved and your passport processed as swiftly as possible. You should update your passport as early as you can and get Travel Insurance as soon as you book your trip.