Taking an acceptable photograph for your U.S. passport requires special attention to camera position and lighting.
- The camera should be placed at the eye level of the person being photographed and at least 4 feet (1.25 meters) away.
- Minimize the distance between the person being photographed and the background to reduce shadows on the background
- Make sure to include the person’s upper body and have space above the head in the viewfinder or screen display of your camera.
- Ensure the background is well lit, white or off-white, and free of patterns, objects, textures, etc.
Proper Lighting Arrangement and Background Illumination
If you are setting up a proper area to take photos, then consider:
- Positioning light sources on both sides of the person to avoid shadows on the face
- Using a light source to illuminate the background behind the person to avoid shadows on the background
- Try to eliminate shadows that are caused by overhead lighting
The lighting arrangement should consist of a minimum of three (3) points of illumination; two (2) points of illumination should be placed at approximately 45 degrees on either side of the subject's face, the third point should be placed so as to illuminate the background uniformly. The background should be uniformly illuminated to remove any shadows or other lighting effects that would otherwise interfere with clearly discerning the facial outline on the background.