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Passport Photo Makeup Tips

Updated on January 25, 2019
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Lola Thomas is a beauty loving Londoner and mother of two children who has previously worked as a beauty editor for a major UK publication.

Passport Photo Makeup Tips To Give You The Best Passport Photo

In the days of digital photography, most photos are easily tucked away somewhere on a hard drive and quickly forgotten. Not so with a passport photo!

When the average passport lasts 10 years it's important to get a photo that you won't mind looking at every time you set off on an adventure.

Whilst nothing beats a professional photographer to get a really great, well-lit image, there are tips and tricks that will make sure that you'll have a passport photo that you can be proud of for the next decade.

Read on below for my 5 top tips to make sure your passport photo is the best it can be.

How To Look Good In Your Passport Photo
How To Look Good In Your Passport Photo | Source

Tip 1: Get Your Makeup Base Right

Let's be frank, photo booths never have the best lighting. Even now, when in some countries it's possible to submit a digital photograph instead of a photo booth one, passport photos rarely have lighting on a par with a Vogue shoot.

So, in the interests of looking your best, your makeup base is everything. This is one of those times when it comes to makeup when less is definitely not more.

Start by making sure that whatever foundation or primer you use does not contain an SPF. Some SPFs in cosmetics give what is known as flashback- meaning that under a flash they make your skin look deathly white. To prevent this choose a base which is SPF free, unless you know that your regular base doesn't do this. Apply the base evenly and carefully conceal any spots or under eye circles. The last thing you want is to be reminded of your PMS spots in ten year's time!

Once your base looks flawless test it by taking a photo with your phone with the flash on- and touch up any unevenness.


For Passport Photos Keep Your Base Simple And SPF Free
For Passport Photos Keep Your Base Simple And SPF Free | Source

Tip 2: Wear Classic Makeup Colours

Ten years is a long time in the world's of fashion and beauty, so the last thing you want is a passport photo that looks dated in a few year's time.

For this reason, your makeup should be classic and pretty, rather than catwalk inspired. Blue mascara or purple lips might be what you'd wear out on a Saturday night (or not!) but aren't appropriate for a passport photo.

Instead, wear eyeshadow, mascara, blusher etc but wear them in classic colours and to a level that looks pretty and professional rather than heavily made up.

Equally, although heavy brows are currently the fashion, try and keep your brow fairly natural looking. In ten year's time brow fashions will almost certainly have changed and the dense, overly made up brows that are popular with many people today are very unlikely to be in fashion. A filled-in natural brow will still be flattering in a decade, a over-sized heavy brow is likely just to look odd and comical in years to come.

Wear Classic Makeup Colours For Your Passport Photo
Wear Classic Makeup Colours For Your Passport Photo | Source

Tip 3: Keep Your Hair Simple

As with makeup, fashion in hairstyles change over time, so it's best to wear your hair in a simple style if you can. Not only that, but many countries have stipulations about which parts of the face can and can't be covered by hair. Some even require you to pin back a fringe if your eyebrows are covered at all.

Whilst you shouldn't worry about changing your hair colour to something more classic, you might want to check that you don't have any root regrowth showing if that's something that you don't want in your pictures.

In terms of style, make sure your hair looks well groomed. Clean, freshly styled hair works best. Check just before the image is taken that you don't have any flyaways or stray bits sticking up that might cause you to dislike the picture.

Keep Your Hair Simple In Passport Photos
Keep Your Hair Simple In Passport Photos | Source

Tip 4: Pick Your Outfit Carefully

Thankfully, when it comes to passport photos only your head and shoulders show, so those 1970s flares will never be an issue. The same thing applies to clothes as makeup though- keep it classic.

When it comes to photographs, heavily patterned clothes often don't photograph very well, particularly under a flash. Instead, choose a simple t-shirt, jumper or shirt in a colour that looks flattering next to your skin. If you can, take account of the background colour and try not to blend in!

Remember that light coloured garments can look very bright under a flash and some fabrics can become see-through, so test this if you're worried that this might be the case with what you're wearing.

Pick A Simple Outfit That Contrasts With The Background
Pick A Simple Outfit That Contrasts With The Background | Source

Tip 5: Expression Is Everything!

Whilst most countries don't allow you to smile in your passport photo because it interferes with facial recognition software, you can make sure you don't look too dour and unhappy in your passport photo.

Try now looking straight ahead into space with your face relaxed- you'll find that you look quite unhappy or even angry.

Now instead, look ahead without smiling, but making your eyes alert and alive. At the same time, try to smile with your eyes only. Although you aren't technically smiling when you do this, you'll find you will look a lot more happy and alert in your passport photo than if you simply look straight ahead blankly.

Let Me Know Your Passport Tips And Whether This Worked For You.

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