How to take baby passport photos (and toddler photos too!)


My family and I travel while I run my company Purveyor of Geekery


DIY Passport Photos

Taking baby and toddler passport photos doesn’t have to be super difficult. If only we could explain that to the babies and toddlers.

Baby Bufton Passport Outtakes

 

To take baby passport photos you will need:

  • A white sheet or non-textured blanket. This MUST be white, no other colors will be accepted for passport photo backgrounds.
  • A camera that isn’t a potato. Photos must be clear or they will be rejected. If you are working by yourself, be sure it has a self-timer or a remote.
  • Lights. You are going to end up with shadows unless you have a professional kit, but those can be removed in a photo editing software, or at least lightened. We took ours with three light sources: the natural light from the sliding glass door, the overhead light and a floor lamp. You can see in the photos above there was still a lot of shadowing that needed lifted compared to teh finals below.
  • 2 People: one to stabilize the baby, one to take the photos. If you don’t have a helper, you may be able to get away with a rolled up towel or a baby headrest like they use in car seats for very young, non-roly poly babies. For the older ones… you could use a tripod and a camera with a self timer while you stabilize.
  • Photo editing software. Like Photoshop, gimp, picasa.
  • Good Baby Passport Photo Inspiration.  Check out ePassportPhoto.com’s Facebook Page and click “see all” on Other’s Comments on the right column. You can see user’s posts of pictures as well as whether they will pass official muster or not.

How to take baby passport photos

  1.  Prepare the space. Work in a room with good, indirect natural lighting. Turn on all the lights. Set up more lights if you have them. Take your white sheet or blanket and fold it so that it is thick enough that you can’t see through it and smooth out as many wrinkles as possible. Iron it if you have to.Lay it out on the floor or bed. If you are working by yourself, set up the camera and tripod. Have everything prepared as much as possible before bringing in the baby or toddler. Attention spans correlate inversely with time spent in a room. If you are working with a toddler, you may want to choose an area in front of a television, or set up a tablet/computer/phone with videos for distraction purposes. If they are old enough to understand bribery, go that route as well. 🙂
  2. Position Baby. If you are working with a helper, have them sit with their hands under the blanket and cradle the baby’s head. You don’t have to hold the head still, just support the head. This not only helps the baby stay in one position but also helps the baby feel secure.
  3. Take photos. Lots of photos.
  4. Reposition Baby.
  5. Repeat steps 3 & 4 100xs.
  6. Pick your best one and edit.

How to take “omg, just sit freaking still, baby” photos

Have you heard of “Invisible mother” photos?

Invisible Mother

We’re going to take a clue from these slightly creepy images for babies and toddlers with better things to do than to sit still.

  1. Choose a time of day when your child is at their best behavior. This may be first thing in the morning or after a nap. Don’t attempt this right before a nap and feel free to reschedule for a happier moment if you need to.
  2. Prepare the space. Work in a room with good, indirect natural lighting. Turn on all the lights. Set up more lights if you have them. Take your white sheet or blanket and fold it so that it is thick enough that you can’t see through it and smooth out as many wrinkles as possible. Iron it if you have to. If you are working by yourself, set up the camera and tripod.
  3. Position Baby. Bring baby in before you cover the helper so they can see who is behind the blanket. Try not to make too much of a game out of it or else you’ll have plenty of images of baby turned around playing peak-o and not many forward facing ones. The game needs to be upfront by the camera. If you are working by yourself, try positioning things so that you are in front of the television, so the baby can get distracted while you use the remote to trigger the camera.
  4. Take photos. Lots of photos.
  5. Reposition Baby.
  6. Repeat steps 3 & 4 100xs.
  7. Pick your best one and edit

For more details on how to edit your DIY passport photos online for free, see this article or for what to expect from the passport application process, see here.

O’s Final Baby Passport Photo

This is the first image above, cropped and edited to work. Arms up, slight shadows. Still passed.

passport-OBufton-mech

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My family and I travel while I run my company Purveyor of Geekery


One Response to “How to take baby passport photos (and toddler photos too!)”
  1. David

    Thanks so much! I was dreading taking him into a photo center!

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