Right after high school I worked as a make-up artist for a few big brands like Lancome, Dior and Clarins. I’ve been to countless training schools and I’ve really learned first hand what kind of makeup looks best in photographs. I’ve also had to take my share of passport pictures in the last 5 years. Between passport renewals, international drivers licences and work visas… I understand exactly what it takes to get a good looking passport photo! Since you’re going to have your passport for 5 or even 10 years I recommend following these steps to get the best picture possible! I’ve also included a link to the actual products I use.
- Take the time to do your hair properly, but don’t look “overly done”. If you usually wear your hair straight don’t spend hours creating bombshell curls…. just blow-dry it properly and clean up your ends by using a hair straightener. Finish off a small amount of oil to tame flyaways and give your hair some shine! Try: Moroccan Oil Hair Treatment
- Make your eyes look clear and bright by using redness reducing eye drops. The drops tend to run down your cheeks when you use them, so I recommend using the drops BEFORE you start doing your makeup. Try: Visine Eye Drops
- Use a foundation to even out your skin tone and cover blemishes. If you don’t have many imperfections, use a beauty balm or tinted moisturizer instead. Using the right shade is crucial when you’re trying to create a natural look. Grab a mirror and head outside to see how your foundation looks in natural sunlight. If your foundation passes this test, you’re good to go! Try: Garnier Skin Renew BB Cream
- Avoid a shiny face by using a loose powder after your foundation. I prefer to use a loose powder over a pressed compact because it looks more natural, and less cakey! Use a big fluffy brush and lightly dust the powder across your forehead, nose and chin. Try: Guerlain Meteorites Perles
- Define your features naturally, using neutral colours. Apply matte eyeshadow in beige, followed by brown eyeliner and brown mascara. Using brown instead of black makes your appearance softer, and more natural. Avoid shadows and liners that have shimmer, as the sparkle doesn’t photograph well. Finish by lightly filling in your eyebrows to frame your face. Try: Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette & Clarins Eyebrow Kit
- For lips, use a tinted lip balm in a colour that’s only slightly different from your natural lip colour. Avoid lip glosses becasue they look too shiney in pictures, and stay away from unnaturally bright or dark lipsticks. Try: Maybelline Baby Lips in “Cherry Me”
- Avoid looking washed out by finishing your look with bronzer. The trick here is to give yourself a natural glow, not an unnatural orange tint! LIGHTLY apply bronzer to where the sun would normally hit your face – your cheeks, nose and above your eyebrows. Make sure you’re using an appropriate colour for your skin tone. It can be tempting to buy a darker colour because you want to achieve a deeper tan, but stick to one that compliments your natural skin tone. Try: Benefit Hoola Bronzer
- Lastly, just because you’re not allowed to smile in your pictures doesn’t mean you should look angry! Try to keep a relaxed face and “smile with your eyes”.
A few more tips for a successful passport picture:
- Wear a plain black shirt for a clean look. Avoid wearing a white shirt as some photos get denied because the white shirt blends into the white background.
- Tuck your hair behind your ears to get all of your hair off your face (another requirement for most passport photos).
- Ask to see your picture before it’s printed to make sure you like it. Take your time looking at it and don’t be shy to ask them to take another shot if you don’t like the first one.