How to Edit Passport Photos Online for Free

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


So you followed the last two installments of Passport Photo Family Fun Options and How to Survive Taking Baby Passport Photos and you are ready to move on to the editing phase? I’ve made a tutorial for you of how to do it. It took me three minutes to edit O’s photo. You’ll need your photos, this template for US Passport Photos (right click> save as) and

1. Download the Template
The template found here is only for United States passports. Other countries have different requirements for their size and dimensions, so you will need to find a template that works with theirs. For instance, the United States requires photographs that are 51mm square, where as the UK and Canada requires photos to be 35mmx45mm. Actually most other countries require 35mmx45mm…all except America, because that’s how we roll with our pin and chip absent credit cards, Imperial units of measurement, DVD codexs and God awful cheese. Add one more to the list of our Oppositional Defiance Disorder fueled differences: Passport photo dimensions.

Just right click the link and choose “save as” then save it somewhere that you can easily access it like your Downloads folder or desktop. You’ll also need a photo to use that fits the requirements for your country. I’ve covered How to take passport photos of babies and toddlers as well as other passport options including DIY for families in previous articles.

2. Open your photo in PicMonkey
From the PicMonkey website, choose “Edit”(1.) from the navigation menu, then “Computer” (2.) to open the file browser window.




3. Select Your Photo

Select the photo you want to use for your passport from your computer. It looks simple because it is, it’s exactly like attaching a file to an email. Once you’ve found the file, highlight it and press “enter” or double click it.



4. Open Overlay Menu

Your photo should now be loaded in the PicMonkey editor dashboard. It’s time to get to work. Click the “Overlay” option from the menu on the left. It looks like a butterfly. If you can’t find t, just hover over the options with your mouse. Pop ups will tell you what each one means.



5. Add your own overlay

At the very top of the overlay menu is a drop down option that reads “Your Own” (for add your own overlay). Choose the area then “My computer” from the list. This will open your file browser again.



6. Choose your passport overlay

Once the file browser window opens, navigate to where you saved the overlay that you downloaded from the top of this article. Highlight > Double click or press “Enter”.



7. The overlay will load tiny on your image.

And that’s okay. Our next step is to resize it…carry on to #8 for directions and keep calm.



8. Resize the overlay

Grab the circles in the corners of the white bounding box and pull to increase the size. An overlay menu will pop up but we don’t need to use it for this so just ignore it. How big should you adjust it? Glad you asked…on to 9!



9. Fit the overlay to your image.

Keep adjusting the overlay until it lines up to the face in your photo similar to the image below. Line up the bottom of the head at the line on point 2. The top of the head must fall between the top two lines of the ovals (1.). It must fall somewhere outside the bounds of the small, inner oval and somewhere inside the bounds of the the large, outer loval. Baby O’s head is at he very top point that is should be. It could go lower than this point, but not passed it. I choose to make it as large as it is so that the eyes would end up within the bounds of the rectangle (3.).



10. Open the Basic Edits menu, Choose Crop

The basic edit menu is usually the first menu at the top of your options, crop is at the top of the Basic Edits menu (the picture of the scissors in this photo).


11. Adjust your crop box

The area that will crop out is greyed out, so anything not greyed out will be your final photo. Grab the little circles at the corners of your bounding box and line them up with the dotted lines of the overlay on all four edges.



12. Apply the crop

Once you have the crop box where you want it, click apply! I didn’t do an OCD job of lining it up on the left for this tutorial, but you get the idea. Your passport application probably won’t be denied because your photo is 4 pixels larger than square but you probably want to get it as close to exact anyway.



13. Remove your overlay

Now that it is cropped, we don’t need the overlay anymore. It was just a guide to help you line everything up. So click on your image to select it. Since it spans the entire image now, you can click anywhere on it (1.) aim for the forehead if you are feeling nervous.  You’ll know the overlay has been selected because the “Overlay” toolbox will pop up in the sidebar on the left (2.). Once it appears, choose the “Delete” button from the bottom of it.



14. Bring up the Resize Menu

Just a few more steps! Now bring up the Resize toolbox by choose the “Basic Edits” menu (1.) which should already be up but just in case…then the “Resize” button from the bottom (2.).


15. Resize your image

If you are creating a photo for the United States Passports, insert “600” into one of the boxes, the other will adjust automatically. You can see that mine is a few pixels off from square. They probably won’t mind, but you should get it as close to perfect as you can in step 11.




16.  Brighten the whites

Adjusting the exposure will help your background look more white. Of course if you used a pink sheet or plaid…no amount of exposure adjusting in PicMonkey will help make that white and your passport photo will probably be rejected. Use a white background for your images to begin with. They probably would accept the image as it was in step 15, but I wanted to tone down the wrinkles a bit. Choose the “exposure” button from the Basic Edits menu, then just play with the adjustments until you get a brighter image without washing it out too much.

If you still aren’t happy with the background you can use advance features like “Eye Brighten” found in the Touch Up menu to remove more of the texture.



17. Bring up the Save Menu

You’re done editing! Congratulations! Now you can click the save button at the top of the dashboard to bring p the save interface.



18. Save your image

Name the file whatever you want, something unique from the original file since you don’t want to overwrite it. Choose the largest quality of photo (Sean), you can watch the file size change just above the green button at the bottom as you click through the different quality options. Since you are saving for print, you’ll want the largest file size for the best quality final print.

Then just click the green “Save to my computer” button to open the file browser. Find a place on your computer to save it where you will remember where you put it and click “save” in the file browser window…just like a normal document.


Congratulations! You now have a passport photo that you are ready to print. You can either upload it to a printing website like shutterfly or walgreens please see the note about Walgreens here) or print it at home. Either way make sure that it retains its dimensions and doesn’t end up “fit to media”, or printing at a normal photo size. This varies based on printers and settings so you’ll have to do some research as to the best way to do it for your personal printer.

Now you’re ready to apply for your passports. Find out what to expect here. 

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

One Response to “How to Edit Passport Photos Online for Free”
  1. Jen

    This was super helpful!! Thank you SO MUCH!!!!!

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