Anyone done their own passport photos? Confused!

  polymath 21:40 13 Jan 2017

Hope this is an ok subject here (having trouble finding relevant search results). Renewing passports for self & spouse, looking into doing the photos myself (as the usual options are limited where I live). I understand the guidelines at, except for a couple of things;

'Your photos must...not be a cut down version of a larger picture'. Why? And how do they know whether they are, given that

'..must be....with no border'.

And if they have to be borderless, how does that square with commercially-done ones that have white around them? (Do we cut off the white bits?)

It's 10 years since we last needed passport photos - can't remember the details even if they're still the same, & trying to get it right 1st time to get renewed for my next holiday (& can't seem to find out what the actual waiting time is now, as opposed to their out-of-date estimates).

Thank you if you were thinking of pointing me to shops etc, but I'm renewing our British passports from rural Ireland (no photobooths/British chains, & expats have to do it online now; not that getting to the Dublin embassy & back in a day was ever do-able!

I do remember the chemist in our nearest town getting it wrong last time (despite assurances that they knew about the UK photo requirements), and our applications were rejected because of shadows round our heads. We then got some done further away, which were accepted; more by luck than anything I think. And my phone has a good camera (Moto G 2015), and I think I can make any necessary adjustments to the photos.

  Burn-it 01:00 14 Jan 2017

Just look at the old ones and produce something similar, but DON'T use an Inkjet or water based ink for them.

  polymath 17:08 14 Jan 2017

Thanks, Burn-it. (It's simple then - I only have an inkjet, so it's just a choice between shop ones or an online service).

  BT 18:18 14 Jan 2017

If you have Timpsons outlet anywhere accessible (they're often in Supermarkets) they'll do them. guaranteed to be accepted. 6 copies. Cut them out borderless from the sheet.

I've done my own in the past but with a decent camera (not a phone) and a high dpi inkjet and they've been accepted, but you've got to get it right.

  morddwyd 18:43 14 Jan 2017

Simply go to the photo booths in any supermarket. They produce perfectly acceptable passport (and driving licence, bus pass etc.) photos.

  Secret-Squirrel 09:37 15 Jan 2017

polymath, firstly, apologies to Burn-it for contradicting him but you can use an inkjet printer. There are no government rules that say you can not. In fact, if you have a decent quality photo to start with, a decent quality printer, use its best photo settings and print on to good quality photo paper then results will be far superior to anything you can get from a supermarket photo booth.

In case you don't know, the photo you supply is no longer stuck inside the passport. One photo (plus your signature) is scanned into the system and that image is used on the first passport page.

............(Do we cut off the white bits?)...........

Yes you do - the white bits are cut off to make the photo-booth photos the approved size.

I understand the guidelines at

You should be OK then.

  Govan1x 23:04 15 Jan 2017

No smiling. no hats. Not sure about glasses.

Look strait at the camera as some of the passport checkouts are automatic, you put the passport in the holder and you have to look at the camera for facial recognition. So they want a clear shot of your face and not looking up or down on the photo. No red eye etc.

£7 it cost me to get mine done it was worth it. Looked like it came from a wanted poster but did the trick.

If you have recently renewed your driving licence I think they can get the photo from that if you are doing it via the internet. But not 100% sure about that.

  Forum Editor 16:38 16 Jan 2017

To save worrying about different opinions, here's the official information.

You can certainly submit your own photos, as long as they comply with all the requirements.

You can opt to let DVLA use your passport photo for a driving licence renewal, but not the other way round - each time you renew your passport you must submit a new photograph, taken for that purpose.

  polymath 14:49 17 Jan 2017

Thank you all for your informative replies, which will be a useful reference, now & later). Please forgive me for not replying individually - more of a writing feat than I have time for! (And I can’t figure out using the quote facility from my phone, which is our only computer currently working). I posted here because I found the official government guidelines a little ambiguous in places, but now have enough info to try doing them myself.

I do have a decent point-and-shoot camera (Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8), but getting the photos out of it would be too fiddly for just a temporary workaround. (Didn’t foresee wanting the Bluetooth model, back when I bought it).

However, my phone’s camera seems just as good (fewer settings, but then I prefer getting the right lighting etc in the first place), and has wifi to connect with my printer (plus bluetooth, though only my internet radio to connect with so far!).

The inkjet (Canon Pixma MP640) is one of the higher dpi consumer ones (uses micro-droplets or something). Though its phone app has no print quality choice, I still can’t see the dots in the photo prints that I can in my old commercial film prints. (I chose the printer, camera & phone largely from a photo enthusiast’s viewpoint).

If the printer has a passport size setting, it isn’t doable from its phone app. But I’ve seen several apps in Play Store that fill the gap, e.g. Codenia Passport Photo sounds promising. And another app does a free online passport photo checker (with optional print purchase, though maybe not shipping to Ireland).

I’ll go ahead with the d-i-y route; but as my husband also needs a new passport (and we don’t have to let all & sundry see our Wanted poster style photos!), I’m also working on getting us to the photography shop that did them last time. It’ll be whichever happens first (if it’s the shop, my own efforts will be handy for other ID anyway).

Don’t think I’ve ever seen a photo booth over here, let alone in a supermarket (perhaps they exist in cities, but those are too far away, and booths might lack a British passport setting).

I’ ve never heard of Timpsons (but then I don’t use supermarkets much on my hols back in the UK). We do have a UK supermarket (Tesco) a 120km round trip away, but any photobooth there would probably be comfigured for the majority (Irish) customer. Our Irish driving licence photos have to be done in a dedicated booth at one of their offices, and don’t look clear enough for passport ones.

Thank you again (and it might be useful to other people too).

  BT 17:52 17 Jan 2017

I’ ve never heard of Timpsons

They do have High St outlets as well, and you get Six copies, more than enough for your Passport, Bus Pass, Driving License

  wee eddie 18:25 17 Jan 2017

Remember "polymath" lives in rural Ireland. The land of the luddites with not a Timpsons in miles.

When my Irish flatmate's father bought a tractor, the locals attempted to destroy it as they appeared to feel that they would be done out of a living. That was in County Cork

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