Many parents know that getting their baby to sit up for a passport photo can be such a hassle. They are too little to stand up, and taking them to a photo booth or studio can be distressing for everyone. The great news is that you can take your infant’s passport photograph at your home. All you need is a white background and an excellent camera to get the job done. This article highlights some useful steps and tips to shoot a passport photo for your newborn: 

Know the Baby Passport Requirements 

The first step to taking a passport photograph is to understand the requirements of the passport. The most important things to keep in mind are:

  • No one else must be in the photo 
  • Your baby must be looking toward the camera
  • Your baby’s eyes must be open. 
  • Your baby’s face should not be obscured, so make sure there is no pacifier or hand or heavy shadow covering their face. 
  • Must be taken in front of a white background or off-white background 
  • Taken within the last six months 
  • The picture must be clear and not blurry 
  • The image must be in color
  • Baby must maintain a neutral expression or natural smile

Get a White Background or Backdrop

One of the requirements for a passport photograph is taking it in front of a white background. Anything plain white can work: a white wall, a white door, a white poster pasted on the wall, white bed sheets, or a white pillowcase. Another option is to make photo background white afterwards, which is possible with modern image editing tools.

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Take the Photos During The Day

It’s best to take your baby’s passport photo during the day to get enough natural light and fewer shadows. Taking pictures in the evening or in a dark room can cast shadows that may obscure your baby’s face or make the white background look grey. If the room is too sunny, use the curtain to diffuse the sun’s rays.How to take a baby's passport photo (1)

Position Your Baby The Right Way

This is probably the most challenging part of the job because newborns can not sit on their own. Also, having someone hold them up may be impossible because no one else can be in the picture. A good idea is to lay your baby on a white bed sheet or comforter and then roll two towels to create support. You can also have them sit on a chair and use a cushion to support their neck and prevent any movement. 

Remember that your baby needs to face the camera, so no tilted head or head turned to the side. Also, a selfie doesn’t count as a passport photograph. 

Position Yourself and The Camera

Place the camera about 1.5 meters away from your baby’s face to take the photo. This distance will make it easy to crop the image until it fits the passport requirements. If your baby is lying down, take pictures from above with your baby’s face in view. 

Take the Picture 

While taking the picture, try getting their attention to get them to look into the camera. You can use a toy or rattling sounds to keep your baby’s eyes open and alert. Also, make sure they are in a good mood, probably after they’ve had a meal or a nap, to make the process comfortable for both of you. 

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Your baby has to be facing the camera, and both their ears must be visible for the photo to be valid. If your baby isn’t cooperating, take a break and try again until you get a good shot. 

Note: Babies under six months do not have to look directly into the camera or have a plain expression. 

Use a Fast Shutter Speed

Your baby won’t probably hold still for a long time, so consider using a fast shutter speed to make sure the picture isn’t blurry. Also, note that a higher shutter speed needs enough natural lighting for great results. Another excellent recommendation is to get your phone to live mode or burst for rapid-fire shooting. This will help you have many photographs just in one shot. 

Turn off The Flash

A great tip for taking baby’s passport photos is to disable the flash. This will help you get a clear image from natural light and prevent creating the red-eye effect. Also, the flash can affect the child’s eyes as they are still in the developing stage. 

Take As Many Photographs as Possible 

One of the best tips to get the perfect baby photograph is to take as many photographs as possible. It will be easier to select the perfect picture if you have many to choose from. Also, make sure the photo is clear and avoid using filters on the images. 

Make Sure Your Baby is Well Rested

Make sure your baby is well-rested and in a great mood before taking the pictures. This will make the process less stressful for everyone. Also aim for a time when your baby is alert, happy, and well fed so that you have a good chance of getting a good photo. If your baby is sleepy during the photo session, it’s best to postpone it. 

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Remove Accessories 

It’s best to have your baby wear plain clothes. Also, accessories like eyeglasses, pacifiers, hats, beanies, and bows should be removed before taking pictures. If your baby has long hair, sweep it to the back before taking the picture. Also, avoid white clothing because the clothes will disappear with a white background. 

Printing Your Baby’s Passport Photograph

Getting a good shot is one part of the job, and printing it is another. When printing your baby’s passport, make sure you are aware of the dimensions needed (US requires that passports are 2 inches by 2 inches (2” by 2”). You also need to consider other print requirements like whether you should use glossy or matte paper and if the passport needs to have a border. 

You can go to a photo store to have them print the picture according to the requirements specified. There are also some photo printing websites where you can upload the pictures and have the prints mailed to you. 

Double Check Everything 

Before printing the photos, double-check to ensure that the photo and specifications are right: the size, dimensions, your baby’s face, etc. You can consider printing multiple pictures so that if one isn’t accepted, you can submit others as backup. 


Whether it’s for passports, paperwork, or visas, taking a baby’s photo can be quite challenging. The tips explained above should help you get a great passport photograph of your little one. Remember to take note of all the passport requirements and government regulations to make sure the photo is valid. 

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