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Tips For Taking A Great Mug Shot

Updated on September 7, 2015

A mug shot is your chance to make a statement to the world and should not be taken lightly. Whatever decisions you've made to put you in position to be photographed at the police station have paid off. Now it's time for your photo shoot.

The key here is preparation, your likeness will be preserved at that moment in time so you want to look your best. With time to prepare, most of us will grab our go to shirt and make sure there's no broccoli in our teeth. When we're facebook ready, we are more than willing to pose.

With a mug shot there are no rules. The great ones are entertaining as well as memorable. Those who are incapacitated often have the best results, and there is plenty to be learned from their example. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. But you want your mug shot to leave them speechless.

Do not comb your hair

This is not the place for the suave or dapper. Washing your hair is only going to take away from your mugshot. Try dragging some wool through your hair, or maybe slick it back with some motor oil. Maybe try matting it down with your hands, but ideally you want to look like you just rolled out of bed and broke the law.

Look all sorts of crazy

What were going for is pure maniacal zeal. Open your eyes wide, stick your tongue out, grin like a lunatic, any of these will get your point across. Even if you’re only being booked for something small, looking like a madman (or woman) will ensure that your mug shot will join the ranks of the infamous.


I'm not sure how this one works. Maybe it's up to the precinct. In any case wearing a great costume is always an added bonus. Check with your local authorities to see if they have any restraints on mug shot costumes.

Wear a memorable shirt

Hipsters don't own irony, and a great mug shot takes planning. Be sure to wear a shirt that reads I’m not an alcoholic, alcoholics go to meetings when being arrested for a DUI, or World’s Greatest Dad when being arrested for endangering a child.


Mug shots are a great way to show off those great piercings and eyelid tattoos. Seriously, if this isn't why you have an ice pick through your nostrils then you have no reason at all!

Huff spray paint

What screams great mug shot more than glittery gold spray paint all over your face? Trick question, because the answer is nothing.

Another 48 hours...
Another 48 hours...
This had to involve a Chick Fil-A...
This had to involve a Chick Fil-A...

Don’t forget your make up –Ladies; be sure to wear extreme amounts of make up for your big shoot. Mascara and tears is pure gold for a mug shot. Guys, don’t be afraid to apply some Maybelline yourselves. Ideally you want to look like Dee Snyder from Twisted Sister.

Do not cooperate -In all honesty, this is probably what got you here in the first place. Whether drunk on moonshine or high on bath salts, be sure to be unruly as possible. After your face is bruised up from a scuffle with law enforcement, you're all set for a great mug shot.

If at first you don't succeed - A Georgia resident called 911 to register a complaint about her mug shot from a previous arrest. After seeing the offending mug in Bad & Busted, a local publication of recent arrests, she took issue with her picture being on the front page. Luckily, she was given another crack at it, she was charged with unlawful ued of 911 and disorderly conduct. Now that's dedication.

You can never be fully prepared for your big day, but I hope the tips above will come in handy the next time your in the back of a squad car. Just remember, this photo is how you will want to be remembered, you may not get another chance (although many do). Whether you go with the sly grin, or the maniac eyes is up to you. Choose wisely.


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    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Very funny...took me a long time to come across this hub though.

    • weestro profile image

      Pete Fanning 4 years ago from Virginia

      It's a classic, that and the James Brown! Thanks!

    • iguidenetwork profile image

      iguidenetwork 4 years ago from Austin, TX

      Hahahaha. I was sure the moment I got to click the link towards this hub there's going to be a Nick Nolte entry. He's a winner for my money. Voted up and funny. :D

    • Faith A Mullen profile image

      Faith A Mullen 5 years ago

      Lol! Too funny :)

    • weestro profile image

      Pete Fanning 5 years ago from Virginia

      Thanks Nell! Haha

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Lol! brilliant I say, brilliant! haha! so funny!

    • weestro profile image

      Pete Fanning 5 years ago from Virginia

      Thanks Pen, that one is classic!

    • PenHitsTheFan profile image

      Amy L. Tarr 5 years ago from Home

      Voted Awesome! I'm digging the cow costume.

    • weestro profile image

      Pete Fanning 5 years ago from Virginia

      Thanks for reading, glad I could help with your day!

    • God is dead profile image

      God is dead 5 years ago

      It's something that I start my day with. Something really very unique and authentic to read. Thank you (:

      Followed and thumbs up

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      Book 'em Dano!

    • weestro profile image

      Pete Fanning 5 years ago from Virginia

      Thanks Kathy, I would love to know the circumstances involving the cow costume!

      Good to hear billybuc, you can' t bring up mugshots without that pic! Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Thank you shining! I will definitely try!

      Thanks Becky, glad I could help with your day!

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 5 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      Great way to staart my day also. Laughing is what I do when I read your hubs. Thank you.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 5 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Hysterical!!! I can't tell you how funny I found this! Your humor is right up my alley and I hope you write more of this type! You're good at it.


    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      This is the funniest hub I've read in a long time. Had me laughing out loud by myself. The shot of Nick Nolte is a classic. Great job my friend.

    • KathyH profile image

      KathyH 5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      This is hilarious! What a fun way to start a day! Now I'm ready for ANY mug shot....opportunity? I cannot get over the guy in the cow costume! Thanks for sharing! :)