The 1, 2, 3's of Passport Photos

I've been lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel all around the world since I was young (thank you military parents). I've officially had 4 passports since I was just a few months old, which is pretty cool when you  think about people who have never even stepped foot outside of the US. But the time has come for me to renew my passport and even more importantly to update the photo that will travel with me for the next 10 years.

When you think of a passport photo, you're either thinking total drab or glamorized Kim K status. For me personally, I'd love to be more on the glam side of the table rather than the Cousin It side, so I decided to try out taking my own passport photo. Yes, you can actually snap a photo at home rather than at Walgreens or the Post Office, and it's not as hard as you think. Here's how I got my new shots:

1. Choosing an outfit: You may think this isn't that important, but you should really think about what neckline you'll have in your photos. You don't want to do something too distracting, so keep your look simple and neat. Just remember minimal jewelry is always better. 

2. Beat your face: But as natural as possible! If you weren't born with double stacked Lilly Ghalichi lashes, you don't need them. Mascara will work just fine, but remember this photo is supposed to look as much like you as possible. Dramatics aren't necessary.

3. The Camera & the photographer: Thankfully I have my Canon DSLR and of course my Katie to take great photos. Trying to get a "glamy" shot, it'll definitely take a few tries. So it will be better to have someone who's willing to click away until you get the right shot.--Love you Katie

4. Lighting and Space: White walls and bright lights are requirements to get a great passport photo. Find a clear wall with bright/clear lighting to prevent any shadows. I also turned the brightness up on my camera to make sure I got the brightest light possible without distorting my look.

5. Strike a Pose: No you're not vogueing, but make sure to portray yourself as natural as possible. You can either do a neutral pose and give a slight smile, but don't go too dramatic with your facial expressions. Once you get the face you want! You've got the shot!

6. Size it up: Once you've got the shot, it's time for sizing. Passport photos must be 2"x2". To prevent myself from making a risky mistake, I used the official sizer provided on the travel.state.gov website. You just upload your photo and size it based on the facial outline provided. The cool thing about this system is that it catches you before you make a mistake in cropping (gotta love technology right).

7. Print it: After you've got your cropped image, there are 2 separate ways you can go forward with to get your photo printed. The first, you can upload your photo directly to Targetphoto.com's passport portal. They will print, cut and size perfectly 2 passport ready photos for $9.99. Fair enough right? OR you can print 6 passport ready photos for $0.29 at Walgreens and cut them yourself. I went for the later since I couldn't decide between 2 photos. I processed my photos through a website called makepassportphoto.com. They take your cropped passport image and fit 6 evenly on a 4x6 print. From there, I uploaded them to Walgreen's photo center and picked them up the next morning at my local Duane Reade for less the $0.60. 

Overall, the most difficult part of this whole process was choosing which photo I wanted to use. I'm definitely happy with how they turned out, and can't wait to get my new passport so I can start filling it up with all of the stamps I'll be getting this year. Stay tuned to see where I go!