Gone are the days when you had to stand in line at the post office or town hall and sit in front of a projector screen for a blurry passport photo. Not only can you take a passport photo on iPhone, but you can adjust the lighting, change your clothes, and do as many retakes as you need until you’re happy with the results.
All you need is a white wall or background and your iPhone camera. A friend is of help to snap the photo, but even that is optional if you have a tripod and a remote trigger. We’re going to cover everything you need to know to take a passport photo with your iPhone.
Can I take a passport photo with my iPhone?
Not only is taking a passport photo with your iPhone possible, but it’s the preferred method for iPhone users who want to save both time and money on their passport photos while getting much better results.
While you can absolutely take a passport photo with your iPhone, you still need to follow guidelines set forth by the government issuing your passport. The requirements vary slightly from country to country.
Passport photo requirements in the United States
Before taking your passport photo, read through the requirements, so you have a better idea of what photos will be accepted and added to your passport. Here’s what the US government requires for passport photos.
- Image size: 2” x 2” (51cm x 51cm). Digital uploads must be at least 600 x 600 pixels.
- Head size: Between 1” and 1.4”
- Digital format: JPEG
- Look at the camera with a neutral expression
- The photo should be from the past six months
- Stand in front of a white or neutral-colored background
- Wear everyday attire
- No glasses or wireless headphones
- Religious headgear and medical devices are okay
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How to take a passport photo from iPhone
Now that you know what your passport photo should look like, here are a few tips to get the best results with your iPhone.
The easiest way to capture the right dimensions and lighting will be to ask a friend to take your passport photo. In a pinch, you can do it yourself with a tripod and remote shutter, but ensuring good results will be more difficult, and you may find yourself taking more photos than you want to.
1. Choose a background for your passport photo
A white or off-white colored wall is an ideal backdrop for your passport photo. If you are going to sit for your photo, be sure that the back of the chair isn’t tall enough to make it into your photo.
Natural daylight will be best for your passport photo, as you won’t capture the harsh shadows that may be cast by direct lighting. Photos taken during mid-day with indirect light from a window will light up your face appropriately without casting shadows or unusual colors onto your face.
2. Get yourself ready for the camera
Now is the time to take off any face jewelry, hats, glasses, etc., in preparation for your photo session. Keep your hair out of your eyes so your face is clearly visible. Makeup is okay, as long as it isn’t extreme.
3. Set up your iPhone camera
Don’t use your iPhone’s selfie camera to take your passport photo. Your rear camera takes photos with a higher resolution, which will deliver an overall better quality photo. Make sure that you aren’t using photo filters or special effects for your photo.
To help with centering your photo and keeping it straight, you can turn on the grid lines by going to Settings > Camera and then toggling on the grid.
If you are taking your passport photo on your own, you will need an iPhone tripod and a remote shutter. You can also use your iPhone’s camera timer, but it may be trickier to get into position for the perfect shot. Set up your phone to snap a shot in portrait mode.
The best way to ensure that you are in the frame is to stand against the wall and put small pieces of tape on the wall next to your ears and right above your head. Now you can frame your shot, ensuring that your head will be centered in the frame. You don’t need to get the spacing exactly right at this point, as you can easily crop your photo to the dimensions you need with the right amount of spacing around your head.
Finally, you want to make sure that your phone is at eye level, not angled up or down, to capture your face.
4. Take your passport photo with your iPhone
Now it’s just a matter of tapping the shutter and making a few adjustments until you are happy with the results. Don’t forget to look at the camera, and don’t smile.
Be sure to take a few shots, especially if you are using a tripod and a remote shutter or timer.
Before moving on to the next step, take a look at your photos to make sure you have a decent shot. If there are dark shadows on your face or your eyes or closed, keep trying.
5. Edit Your iPhone passport photos
Choose a few of your favorite shots to edit. Start by cropping and straightening shots to meet the government requirements of the country you’re applying to. Your iPhone’s native editor is fine for this step.
Start by cropping your photo into a square and adjusting the proportions so that your headshot has plenty of white space around it.
If your background is less than ideal, you can use a background remover app, or if you have iOS 16 or later, you can use the native editor to remove the background. Here’s how to do it:
- In the Photos on iPhone, open the photo that you want to remove the background from.
- Hold your finger down on your face.
- A pop-up menu will appear asking if you want to Copy or Share.
- Tap ‘Share.’
- Select ‘Save Image’ to save your photo without the background.
6. Save your photo and apply for your passport
Once you have taken and edited your photo, you can print it out to the desired size or, in many cases, simply upload your digital photo with your online application.
Taking your passport photo with your iPhone will save you both time and money, plus you’ll be a lot happier with the results!