As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I knew that I wanted to show my baby the world. Step one for making that happen – apart from having the baby of course – was to get him a passport.
I’ve gotten passports for myself in the past and just took photos onsite, but how do you do that with a baby who can’t hold their head up yet, or might not be in the mood? Simple, just take them at home! Here’s how to do it:
Look at the Guidelines
If you’ve tried photographing your baby before, you know that it can be a labor of love. That goes double for getting the passport photos right. You must do the following:
- Baby must be facing the camera without their head turned.
- Their expression must be neutral – no crying babies!
- Ideally they’ll be looking at the camera, though according to travel.state.gov, “it is acceptable if the infant’s eyes (particularly a newborn’s) are not, or are not entirely, open.”
- There cannot be any objects, including a pacifier or the infant’s hands, obscuring their face.
- Most importantly, you and/or your hands cannot be in the photo.
It takes time to get them looking at the camera with their head in the correct position. Since you can’t be in your baby’s passport photos, even if it’s just your hands to hold up their head, the best method is to lay them flat.
You only need three ingredients for the passport photos:
- Camera (a decent phone one will do),
- White background,
- Ample natural light.
And a baby. I suppose that’s four ingredients.
I took the photos midday in our bedroom, which has the most windows. Ideally have the baby top-lit with the top of their head facing the window rather than lit from the bottom, which will have a ~Halloween~ vibe. We don’t own white sheets, so I used a white T-shirt as the background, which we pulled taught for minimal shadows.
Carefully stand over your baby to take the photo, making sure that you follow the guidelines above. Leave space around their head and shoulders as well. I find it best to leave more space than you will need and then to crop the image later. Don’t add any filters or fancy editing.
It probably goes without saying, but this will all be easier if your little one is fed, changed, and happy.
Prepping the Photos
Before printing out the photos, make sure they’re the right size. Printed photos must be 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm), and the head must be between 1…