How to shoot your own passport photos quickly and easily at home. Ever wondered what size is a passport photo or wondered about passport photo dimensions. We give you the low down on passport photo size, shooting, production and printing.

How to Make Your Own Passport Photos at Home

In the UK we have the privilege of being able to take our own passport photographs. Most of us will pop down to the local automated machine and have passport photo size prints inside ten minutes – but at the cost of at least £5 per set, photographing the whole family for a batch of passport renewals in time for that holiday can quickly add up.

It’s a cost, though, that can be quickly and simply avoided by setting up a shoot at home, working some Photoshop magic to your images, and printing on some decent quality photo paper at the correct passport photo dimensions. What Digital Camera’s money saving guide shows you how to shoot your own passport sized photos quickly and easily at home…

Make Your Own Passport Photos – Official guidelines

Shooting passport photographs demands that you stick to some stringent rules. A neutral expression with closed mouth, no red-eye, clear and sharp focus, with a neutral white/cream/grey background, posed face-on to the camera, are all a must. There should be no shadows on the face, no facial-coverings and, after printing on photo paper, the images must have no tears, creases or marks. It’s worth checking the guidelines as they can change frequently (

How to shoot passport photos at homeMake Your Own Passport Photos – Shooting

Find a light-coloured wall (should be light grey or cream, not 100% white where possible) as a background and shoot your passport photo subject using the portrait orientation. Avoid using the flash as this increases the likelihood of red-eye and background shadows (however, if you can turn the flash down then a small pop of fill-in can provide good colour balance and open up facial detail). Daylight is best, such as from a window, as this can provide as equal a balance as possible to avoid shadows on the face and background. Flat lighting is integral, as shadows over the face may cause your images to be rejected. Expose for the subject’s face, preferably using a spot or centre-weighted evaluative metering setting if your camera offers this. Take several photos as to get the best possible image, avoiding smiling and blinking. You could even do this yourself if you use the camera’s self-timer and rest on an appropriate surface or, if you have one, use a tripod. When reviewing your images, ensure that they are well exposed – you don’t want underexposure, as the detail of the face will be lost in the shadows, even with post-production work (which is best avoided for time saving). Your surroundings are important and need to be neutral – for example, should you stand by something red it will have a luminescence that will reflect red light back onto you. So snaps from down the local boozer wont do – you have to specifically shoot for the right posed shot in the correct location. As much as a photobooth will happily do all this for you, avoiding the expense is the target here.

Make Your Own Passport Photos – Post-production

How to shoot passport photos at homeAvoiding post-production as much as possible is the aim of the game. However, as the background of your passport photo image is likely a little dark and off-colour, it’s easy to use PhotoShop or Elements to make the subject stand out. Use the Magic Wand or Quick Select tool (the latter on newer versions) to select your background and simply press the delete key to remove it – ensuring the fill layer is a 5-10% grey as a totally white background is against the guidelines and will cause rejection. You may be left with some tricky areas around the hair but these can be ‘picked off’ by zooming in and gently deleting (use the Eraser tool) offending areas, or changing the tolerance of your selection tools and re-selecting specific areas. Don’t worry about being too precise, as the image you are working on now is of a much larger size than the final print will be, so there is a lot of give in how much detail will be picked up in the final print. Once you’re happy select Layer > Flatten Layer.

How to shoot passport photos at homeMake sure you have enough brightness to give the impression of being shot under bright light, like a flash. But don’t wash out details or blow highlights though. You can bring up the Levels palette by hitting Ctrl+L on the keyboard. Or go to Image > Adjustments > Levels. Now bring the left and right markers under the histogram towards the centre to increase contrast, and move the centre marker for brightness.


Make Your Own Passport Photos – Readying for print, passport photo size and passport photo dimensions

What size is a passport photo? Passport guidelines on passport photo size state that a passport photo should be 35mm wide and 45mm tall. Make a new file in PhotoShop (File > New) at this exact size, at 300dpi. Select your already edited image from the other window and, using the Move tool, click and drag into your new window. If it’s too large use the Free Transform tool (Edit > Free Transform) whilst holding down the Shift key when dragging to resize to ensure correct proportion. You may need to zoom out to find the edges if it’s really big. The passport photo dimensions should now be correct.

How to shoot passport photos at home - passport photo sizeOnce you have your passport image fitted to the window, you’ll want to add a border and multiply the image. To remove any overlap outside of your 35x45mm window, then click Select > All and then Image > Crop, then hit D on your keyboard to restore your colour palette back to default. By using Image > Canvas Size it is possible to extend the border – add 5mm per side to make a 40x50mm (4x5cm) image. To make your set of four images, use Canvas size again to double the width and height to 80x100mm, now Copy and Paste your image three times and use the Move tool to arrange them. Make sure they are copies as when applying for a passport it’s important to send a couple of identical images – there can’t be different poses in a single application. Now flatten again into one layer (Layer > Flatten Image). 


How to shoot passport photos at home - final passport imagesMake Your Own Passport Photos – Printing   

Recent updates to the official rules for passport photos require that they are ‘professionally printed‘. This is something of a caveat to the process of  home printing as is presents the possibility that your photos may be rejected by the passport office. However, in the same document, it is made clear that photos should be printed on white paper and, although not suggested in the same document, in truth a decent quality inkjet printer with good inks and paper should effectively produce a professional-quality print.

Should you print your passport photos at home, ensure you use decent white photo paper, at the exact same size as onscreen (100%) and with the best possible resolution. If your printer prompts you to resize to page or make any other changes then ignore these prompts. Once they are printed, use a ruler to measure each picture to ensure the size is still 35x45mm. Then cut them up with scissors and you’re all done – passport photos made at home on a budget.


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  • andy

    I’ve tried online home print software, but decided not worth the risk using a home inkjet printer. (I have a Canon & a Kodak.) Try comparing the resolution with a pro print using a magnifying glass – as they do at IPS. You’d need a VERY expensive hi-res printer to get away with it, IMHO.

  • Colin

    Well known – you mean the Kodak machines inside a Boots store. You can select the option for passport sizes.

  • Richard Baugh

    What a waste of time. Take a pic against a painted wall , not too dark. Print at the right size and send. I have done 10 passport pics for family and no probs. Do not need to mess about with the above

  • Matt Burns

    There a lots of websites that offer this service but they all suck so I wrote my own!
    It’s free, easy and open source. No need to sign up or have nasty watermarks on the image etc.

    Just upload your photo, choose your passport type (eg UK 45x35mm) then download a new image ready to print at 6″x4″.




  • Walter

    Its easier and more government compliant when you use

  • Stephen

    A well known high street chemist has self-service photo machines that will print 6 identiy photos from a USB or memory card on a sheet of kodak paper(ie “professionally”) for just 49p. Sometimes you need to ask them to enable this feature on the machine.

  • Geoff

    Get the photos professionally printed. They ARE rejecting home-made inkjet printed copies -even good ones! I’ve just had mine returned :-(

  • Cheryl

    I’ve had accepted lots of passport photos which I’ve taken of friends and family. However, the last lot were rejected by the Post Office pre check service because the background was white.

  • Pic4Pass

    Try out Pic4Pass, its easier and more government compliant:

  • Gargi Bhattacharyya

    We have had both applications for our children’s passports returned because the photographs were not professionally printed. I would get prints at a shop unless you have time (and energy) to spare.

  • Jake

    I have used home-printed photos in the past (and pretty poor quality, too) without any problem. I can’t see why it would be a problem as long as the face was an accurate, untampered, true image. (How would removing a colour background affect the primary purpose of the image – to recognise an individual?)

  • Jimmy

    “photographs printed at home are not acceptable”

    A few weeks ago i printed my own photos at home and they were accepted no problem.

  • Hanna

    Picture yourself on a pprsaostYou can definitely take your own pprsaost photos, and print them at home or .The benefits of DIY pprsaost photography include saving money, avoiding lines, and having the time to mug for the camera until you get a shot you actually like.The downside? The government is picky, picky, picky when it comes to what can be and cannot be in your photos. Here’s a list of just a few of their requirements:Photographs must measure exactly 2 inches square.The picture needs to show the full head, from the top of the hair to the bottom of the chin.Center the head within the frame and make sure the subject is directly facing the camera.The photo must be in color, and taken in front of a plain white or off-white background.The height of the head (top of hair to bottom of chin) should measure between 1 inch to 1-3/8 inches.Make sure the eye height is between 1-1/8 inches to 1-3/8 inches from the bottom of the photo.The person in the photo should have a neutral expression and both eyes open. (Our best guess on the neutral expression requirement is to somewhat match the look you probably will have after traveling for hours and then having to waiting in a long line at immigration.)A templatea0(based off the pprsaost agency’s graphic)a0showing the requirements is below, and lays out the specific dimensions and placement guidelines.a0, and see some examples of some ding ding ding and bzzt pprsaost photos . Doing it yourselfDespite all the warnings, it’s really not hard to skip the pprsaost photographer and take your own photo at home. You need some decent lighting (it can’t create any shadows on you or your face at all), a white or off-white wall and a camera. Then, try to look as normal and bland as possible, look straight into the camera and keep those eyes open.Your next step is to check out the photo on your computer, and retake if needed, or fix any little things (like there not being enough contrast, a little too bright, etc). Then crop the image to meet the guidelines, and resize it to a 600 pixel-wide square. Realize that when you’re viewing on the web or your computer, this will look big but print photography requires a greater number of dots per square inch. (Get the full details here: )The Department of State also toa0resize your photo, rotate it if necessary, and to crop it to size so you can save it for printing.Print the pixPrint out your pictures out on photo-quality paper not regular 8-1/2 11 paper stock. If you don’t have (or don’t want to invest in the ink and paper needed), many offer same-day service. Remember: You will need two identical copies of your picture to go with your !You can either cut your picture to the exact size yourself, or if you’re worried about making a mistake, bring it as-is to the and they can trim it to size.Bon voyage!

  • supreme

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  • Eric

    “photographs printed at home are not acceptable”
    March 2012 website


  • Bob

    The ‘Photoshop’ invalidates the photo!Note: “Photos must not be manipulated, for example, by removing spots or softening lines or shadows”

  • Lynda

    Thank you so much for this. I live in a remote rural area and it would require a two hour return journey to the nearest photo booth This has saved a huge amount of time and effort.

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  • angel


    Hi Just saying thanks for your help re sizing however the Passport Office told me today that the picture needs a grey or cream background in order to determine the difference between photograph and border. So my advice is to do all the above and then borrow a “curtain” background or choose a grey shade from the pallette.

  • Andrew

    Hi Just saying thanks for your help re sizing however the Passport Office told me today that the picture needs a grey or cream background in order to determine the difference between photograph and border. So my advice is to do all the above and then borrow a “curtain” background or choose a grey shade from the pallette.

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  • Vincent

    Danielle – I’ll assume that you’re using Windows: don’t use the Windows photo printing thing, because it won’t give you the option to print at 1:1, use the graphics software’s print wizard, as this will allow you to print it accurately. Or just take it a self-print booth at Boots and let the machine do it for you….

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  • seroquel

    Thanks for tris interesting information! I found it very useful =)

  • Mukhtar

    Legal and it works, I printed all five sets at ASDA.
    Were accepted by the passport office – saved me 25 pounds!!

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  • Danielle

    thi is super BUT I can not get my idiot pc to print them at the correct size!!!! GARGH!!!!!!!!

  • gygsfyge

    Is this legal?

  • T

    Always up for saving money :)

  • Louise

    Best look at this guide too from Home Office. As Post Office told me my face was not big enough!

  • roopa

    Good tips on especially avoiding shadows. thanks!

  • ken tallentire

    unable to get the size i require 45×35 it’s either to big or to small

  • m


  • M

    LOL, rubbish because it doesn’t mention size? It’s your eyes that are rubbish. 35mm wide and 45mm tall is clearly mentioned.

  • Mansoor

    What a RUBBISH guide which doesn’t mention about the size.

    Waste of time reading all this.

  • Tony A

    Don’t you just hate how we are all becoming slaves to the machines? All these rules are just so that they can digitise you. In the old days, if it looked like you, it would do. Now it does not really matter whether it looks like you, because no-one is going to check that. What matters is whether the computer can get a set of numbers out of it. They are not even an image, just a list of dimensions and angles etc. Progress!

  • Simon

    Paul what gram paper 130g, 230g 270g ???


  • Paul Watson

    I do all the passport photos at home. Just take the 6×4 inch image to an instant print machine, always works for me.

  • Leonard W. Smith

    You have forgotten to say that the size of the image must fall between strict guide lines the chin must not be down below a certain guide line, the top of the head must not be above a certain guide line, its best to download the photo instuctions from the Passport Office site or all your efforts will be wasted. I have also tried inkjet printing but have always had them rejected by the Pass/office.

  • varghese

    Thanks very useful

  • laura

    thank you – will try it today as my photos from the booth were rejected because the background was too white!

  • Sam

    whether Bill Oddie can do this or not, what a nice guy who selflessly put up a comprehensive guide to solve a very irritating problem!

  • HAHA

    We’re not all incompetant Bill Oddie. Some of us aren’t useless.

  • dave

    I have made my own passport photo in the past and used it for a driving licence – no problems at all

  • Pinaki Das

    Thanks for your advice

  • Bill Oddie

    DO NOT DO THIS. I wasted 4 hours trying to get my printer/multiple memory cards/photo editing software and camera’s to work with each other but it just resulted in a number of compatibility issues and no final passport image.

  • rayman

    For quality photos just copy the file to a flash drive and take it to a high street photo processor such as Jessops.

    Just follow these rules: Jessops print at 300dpi so for a 6″ x 4″ photo you need an image size of 1800 x 1200. Passport image is 35mm x 45mm (413 x 531}.

    Using a white canvas you can paste 8 passport size images per print. At 30p or less per print thats less than 8p for 2 quality passport photos.

  • Geoff Berrow

    As far as I can see the pages says “Photos produced at home are unlikely to be acceptable, as they will not meet the high standards delivered by professional equipment”. The fact that photos from booths are acceptable rather sets the standard way below that possible with home equipment in my view. I do all my families photos, to a much higher standard than can be achieved in a booth and have no problems at all.

  • PaSsu

    @greenmonkey, Your suggestion helped me to the fullest. Thanks a lot man!

  • PaSsu

    Helped a lot thanks! But I own a shop where this thing is done, however I am not a professional in thsi thing and ha problem getting right softwares… can anyone suggest a soft ware (free) which I could use to help fasten the service?

  • Sarwar

    Please give me All Photo size. 4r,3r, Passport.

  • SteveH

    The official web page now says
    MUST NOT be printed at home

  • Michael (Sparks)

    The head size of your finished sample is too small( 21mm ish ); it should measure 29mm-34mm from chin to crown of head. Please refer to Home Office website below for full specs.Best Wishes.

  • Colin

    I have Kodak software loaded and cannot find how to obtain the correct size can anyone help

  • Photoman

    love it!

  • Pete

    The only problem is that you have to measure the top border since the background is white and it has a 0.5 border, if you are away and need to cut the photos and don’t have a ruler… So that’s why I believe a light color is better as Louise Dowell said.

  • Louise Dowell

    I have printed passport photos and visa photos at home for my own family and other people on many occassions, they have always been accepted. I have a good quality printer and use good photo paper.Also
    the requirements are that the background is a light colour, not white.

  • JD

    Set your printer to high quality and use good photopaper – preferably with a proper profile but not necessary. Most home printers are now high quality devices.

  • Happy pixel

    You have a simpler way to achieve this task. You don’t need to install any software neither to subscribe to any service, just go to the website. That is totally free and help to adjust your face according to the ISO/IEC 19794-5, correct red eyes, etc … You get a photo board ready to be printed by any photo printing service.

  • Tim

    It actually says ‘Photographs printed at home are not likely to be of an acceptable quality.’

  • RyanPT

    Dear Brenda,
    I am doing all this, cropping pictures making them perfect passport style (albeit for use for a certain form of student I.D.) but not printing them at home…

    ‘lil tip everyone, if you have no super printer at home/CBA spending loads on photo paper – Get your pics and print them at Tesco/Boots etc. costs around 15p for 1 pic. I did this and it was accepted for a bus pass :D and there were 8 pictures on the sheet, and I defy anyone to tell the difference between them and my passport photo!

    Seeing as I will probably never come back here, CYA!

  • Brenda Jolley

    It specifically says on the official website that photos printed at home are NOT acceptable.

  • Wunmi Olugbuyi

    cheers! really helpful.:)

  • Hudson

    Great tutorial.. thanks! (The U.S is not the whole world? Who knew?? lol)

  • Blobcat

    Very useful and easy to follow especially the Photo elements advice. Thanks

  • Jon

    Really useful, thanks!

    …and well said @Chris Pursell.

  • Chris pursell

    RA@gis Why are you telling us about us guidlines this is a british publication, and last time I checked we had our own sovereign government and our own regulations, try to be aware that the us is the us and not the whole world.

  • Régis

    This tutorial goes against the US guidelines of not retouching the image. And it does not explain how the face should be positioned on the picture. Read the official guidelines, you’ll understand it is difficult to do it yourself without the help of a dedcated software

  • paul fothergill

    a god send Thanks

  • Adrian

    Great stuff, but just something on your maths. If you add 5mm per side to a 35x45mm photo it becomes 45x55mm, not 40x50mm. I think you probably mean add a 2.5mm border per side.

  • john

    this was shit. i cant priny my photos out in the right size

  • Ben

    Top stuff thanks. Take that absurdly priced photo booth machines!

  • passportphotos

    Good work

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  • max

    Thankyou so much for this information will surely save me a lot of money over time. Thankyou once again so much

  • Adam

    Thank you, very useful!

  • Peter Wood

    Just take your photo and then take it to a local Jessops, and the will print 6 or 8 prints for £0.99

  • CJ

    I took my own photos for my driving licence using a Samsung L83T, its nothing special and they accepted them. if your photos are rejected its because they werent within the guidlines not because they want “professional” print outs. I think these photo booths do a shabby job.

  • Ämber

    If we don’t have Photoshop than a good choice use a free online passport photo generator.

  • WBarker

    I have successfully used a canon selphy printer to produce acceptable passport; driving licence and id card photos, plus it will automatically fit so many to a page and resize for you. the method it uses is different from a conventional printer and produces very high quality photos

  • Diane

    I sent a home-printed image for a passport some time ago, but it was rejected. Mind you, the one subsequently taken at a well-known camera store looked awful and that was accepted. I could hardly make out the facial features, but it was what they wanted.

    However, having upgraded my camera since then (to a DSLR) and purchased a better photo-quality printer, I recently sent a home-printed image to update my driving licence photo-card and this was accepted. The rules look very similar to the passport requirements. I did as little manipulation as possible, and made sure the printer was printing at the highest quality.

  • Patrick

    I tried this and they were returned because they have to be professionally printed. They were fine otherwise.

  • Charlotte

    Get your Guaranteed* passport photo size prints at
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  • PhilipT

    You won’t nowadays get away with a white background. 5-10% grey is recommended.

    WDC reply: Thanks for your comments. A couple of people have pointed out that regulations have changed sligthly since the article was first written. We have now updated our advice to reflect the current regulations

  • Corrie

    Would also like to point out that there should really be no post production that will change any skin tones. They are getting really strict at the passport office and seem to be failing images for differing reasons – even when the same process has been passed before

  • Andy

    Was hoping this article might shed light on exactly what printing quality is acceptable. Just had two sets of photos rejected for printing at home. Printed on R300 with 6 colour ink and 1440dpi. Nicely pre-processed and a phone call confirmed the issue was the printing technology rather than any issue with exposure or composition. First time I’ve had my home-printed photos rejected. The rules have tightened up apparently.

  • greenmonkey

    You can use online passport photo service. or

  • Christine Barker

    passport photos

  • Belinda Munns

    Would it be possible for you to take passport photos sometimes for both Oliver and Lydia please? They run out in Feb next year. I have got the packs to fill out. Thanks.


  • Chris Power

    Thanks for a very helpful article on how to make your own passport photos at home … BUT when I submitted my photos they were rejected because of the white background. At the post-production stage, before deleting with the magic wand, you need to select a pale grey or cream background.

    WDC reply: Thanks for your comments. We have now updated our advice to reflect the current regulations

  • Colin

    Good guide, does anyone have a guide for us using