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How We Took Baby Passport Photos

Oh my, how the last few months have flown by. Traveler #3 is now almost four months old. Between all the diaper changes, nursing sessions, and rocking her to sleep, I totally underestimated the energy levels I’d have to apply for her passport. Actually, the application was the easy part. The hard part was taking her passport photo.

All you need is one photo to attach to the application.

The basic passport photo must:

  • be 2″ x 2″ in size
  • be between 1″ and 1 3/8″ from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head
  • be in color
  • be taken in the last 6 months
  • have a white or off-white background
  • show your full face

Additionally, for babies:

  • there must be no other person in the photo
  • the baby should be looking straight at the camera (e,g., you can see both ears). If you have a newborn, however, it’s okay if their eyes are closed although the preference is for their eyes to be open.

Sounds simple enough, right?  Only if you’ve never tried taking photos of a baby.

The day we decided to take Traveler #3’s passport photo, we planned it for after both a solid nap and a good feeding in order to maximize her awake time (and by “awake time”, I mean her “non crying time”). To prep, Mr. T laid a white poster board on the ground next to a large window so we could get as much natural light as possible.  Then we placed Traveler #3 on it, I held down her arms so they wouldn’t be flailing about her face (which often happens especially when I’m trying to take photos of her), and Mr. T snapped photos with the iPhone.  At this point, the strategy was to take as many photos as possible in the hopes that we’ll get a couple of photos that meet the passport requirements.

We easily took hundreds of photos which is a lot easier than it sounds since you can take photos in “bursts” on the iPhone. We got a lot of photos that looked like this:


All of those photos were nixed since her face isn’t straight on and you can’t see her ears.  After a few minutes, she started fussing so we tried propping her up in a seated position instead. By a stroke of luck, we got this photo:


(She’s not centered in the frame, but that won’t matter once the photo is cropped to specs.)

With that photo on the iPhone, I went to CVS and used their kiosk to print the photo. Their machine is great because it automatically crops the photos to meet the requirements and prints a 2″ x 2″ for you. The best part is that because we took the photo ourselves, we only paid for the printing which was a whopping 28 cents. Woohoo!

A few days later, we submitted the application and we’re currently waiting to get Traveler #3’s passport. Once we have her passport and my energy levels return, an international getaway may be in order. 😉

For more information on the passport application process and requirements for children and babies, click here.

Update 2/9/17: I recently applied for Traveler #4’s passport. While we tried taking our own photos, CVS wanted to charge me $12 for printing this time.  Instead, we headed to Costco who took Traveler #4’s photo for us for $5.  It was so quick and easy.  We only had to bring a white sheet and his car seat and the employee at Costco did the rest.  After that experience, I’d recommend you skip taking your own photos and head to Costco instead!

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ingrid - September 11, 2014 - 2:58 am

Aww! She’s adorable. Where’s she going on her first international adventure?!

Mark - September 12, 2014 - 9:14 am

hahah nice DIY!! 🙂

We took the little one’s photo on DAY 4. lol.. went to costco and the dude at the photo area seems surprisingly experienced at dealing with babies..
we can’t get her to open her eyes.. but he hummed something and in 5 mins got it done.. lol.. we’re like wow baby photo whisperer!

where’s the first international location for M?

ExpressPassPics - January 24, 2016 - 9:05 pm

Oh My God!! She is so cute!! Well after reading your blog, I realized that you didn’t have to do a lot of hard work. I think it was extremely easier for you. Taking passport photos for babies is not an easy task for some parents. Clicking her picture on phone was the best idea you had used. Also, people can upload their pictures or capture their photos online and can get passport ready pictures on the same day. All the best for adventure sweetie

Joseph - February 2, 2017 - 9:41 pm

Thanks for sharing such an informative blog. I am also planning to go abroad with my family next month and this post will help me a lot. thanks once again.

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