You have this beautiful new baby, and now, you’re itching to GO somewhere. Or maybe you have a wedding to attend. Or a distant relative to visit. Or maybe you live overseas, and you want to take your baby back to your home country to meet the rest of your family. You’ve looked at flights, vacation schedules, travel advice, and decided to go for it. Now you just have to get that tiny, floppy, bundle of joy to open her eyes, look straight at the camera, keep her hands out of her face, to take that all-important passport photo.
All persons on international flights require a passport, which sounds all well and good, until you’re faced with actually getting your infant’s photo taken. The main requirements are:
[checklist icon=”fa-camera” iconcolor=”” circle=”” circlecolor=”” size=”small” class=”” id=””]
[li_item icon=””]In front of white or off-white background[/li_item]
[li_item icon=””]Both eyes open[/li_item]
[li_item icon=””]Neutral facial expression[/li_item]
[li_item icon=””]Fully facing the camera[/li_item]
Source: US State Department
It is harder than it appears, especially with really young kids. Did you know you can take your own passport photo pictures? I have done this several times, and it is so much easier to do at home than trying to get it done at your local drugstore. We took Isaac’s passport picture when he was 3 weeks old for a family trip to Spain. We took Patrick’s picture when he was 6 days old for his Consular Report of Birth Abroad (equivalent of a US birth certificate), and passport. Liesl was 13 months when we got her passport, so it was a bit easier. Here are some tips and tricks for taking the getting a decent passport photo of your infant at home:
1. Cover your changing table in a plain white or off white cover (no print or major texture), or use a sheet as a cover.
2. Place your baby on the changing table. (I use a changing table because the concave shape of the pad prevents the baby from rolling to one side – thus improving the chance that you’ll get a picture with him looking directly into the camera.)
3. Stand on a chair and take the picture from above. It helps to take the photo in a well-lit room, so that you don’t have to use a flash.
4. Go to a Passport photo template website, such as epassportphoto.com, and load your picture. The online service will help you size the photo to the correct dimensions. You can choose to download the file for free (to print at your local photo kiosk), or you can have them mail you the photos for a small fee. There are several of these websites available, but we have used ePassportPhoto several times, and have been really happy with the results.
Don’t worry if the picture isn’t great. Kids passports are only valid for 5 years, and by that time, they will look so much different than they do now, no matter how good or bad the picture was.
Above is Isaac’s passport photo from his now-expired passport. (Yes, all my kids had GIANT hands and feet as newborns.) We had to renew his passport at the US Embassy last year. Those 5 years went really fast!