Ugly Passport Photos to Bad & Worst?

May 14, 2024

3 min. read


ugly passport photos

Can you recall the time you had your passport photo taken and it actually came out reasonably good? Nah? Probably, that’s why you’re reading this article to learn the rock-solid yes’s and no’s for a perfect passport photo.

Some people complain their face looks crooked in a passport photo. The eye bags that never bothered before appear upfront. Their hair is flat, eyes look smaller.

All this might cause bad feelings. Let’s drill down on what can go wrong.

In Focus:

Ugly Passport Photos

As passport photo experts, we’ve seen tons of passport pictures. Compliant and non-rejected passport photos are our ultimate goal. Let’s be honest – it’s a number one priority. You’re not supposed to look glam in a passport image.

At the same time, we’re well aware of the fact that you want to be the REAL you in your 10-year-lasting document and in the best shape you can be. Especially, when traveling abroad, meeting new people, and showing your passport around the world. Let it be the customs officers, flight attendants, or even new mates.

How can we help? First, let’s focus on why it is what it is.

Uglier Passport Photos

First, the passport photo-take is some super-occasional act, like a one-in-a-ten-year event. Ready or not, you might feel a bit agitated. It’s usually the case when you take your photo in a private photo studio or a passport photo booth. People or machine is telling you what to do and it’s not always your element.

If it sounds right, you can try one of the awesome services on the web and take your own photo in seconds. The no-limit-attempts option is exactly what you need here. The picture is verified by the AI-backed passport photo tool and visual experts. You can choose the photo you really fall for. Check!

Why Are Passport Pictures So Ugly?

Apart from you being a little uncomfortable taking passport photos, there might be lighting concerns. With some lighting equipment, you can get an unrecognizable photo for your passport regardless of whether it is a Rite Aid passport photo or that taken in a studio or in a photo booth. The “mugshot” style photo is not what we aim at. Read on to know the right lighting ingredients.

Ugliest Passport Photos

The worst comes to the worst when you’re not relaxed and your body posture is unnatural. Your shoulders might be higher than average, your head lightly down and then the photographer professionally crops the photo. Here you go – you can hardly recognize yourself.

Ugly ID Photo

To crown it all, it can be the wrong timing. Feeling under the weather, a bad day at work or a sleepless night. Possibly, traffic makes your patience go through the roof. Things can get heated any day, and then you have your passport photo appointment.

Ah well, shall you go with the flow? Sure. Or you can try the passport photo tool, we mention already. Any time at home or work. The tool changes the background to the compliant format on the spot. You’re set for your passport application in no time.

What next?

Crazy Passport Photos

To tell the truth, we don’t come across that kind of passport photo, it is probably a mixture of all listed above.

That was a list of no’s. Let’s get a good grip on yes’s.

Tips for Non-Ugly Passport Photo

Now, save these tried and tested workable tips for later when taking a passport photo and share them with friends:

  1. First, prepare your camera or better get a friend or a family member to take your picture.
  2. Get the lighting right: stand with your face to the streaming light, say, in front of a window with daylight for the best natural look. Make sure to walk a few steps away from the source to avoid overexposure, but not too far away to avoid underexposure. You get the idea!
  3. When posing, hold your back straight.
  4. Do not stoop.
  5. Hold your shoulder down.
  6. Make sure your chin is parallel to the floor.
  7. Do not lower your face too much. You need to look straight into the camera, but there are a few degrees of leeway to find your best angle. For example, for your nose, nostrils, and nasolabial triangle.
  8. Now, smiles. It’s a bit tricky. Though it’s officially allowed to have a natural smile in a US passport picture, it’s easy to go over the top. We would advise you should give a positive vibe as if smiling with your eyes, aka smizing. It’ll make you look softer and more natural. This way, you get good passport photos and be truly yourself. And there won’t be any issues with other countries’ airport facial recognition systems for the reasons of big smiles.

Summing Up

TLDR: Though the good vs ugliest passport picture is subjective, there are tips that help you to look your best in a passport photo. They are: hold your natural body posture, give this positive vibe of yours, and keep it a natural non-over-the-top smile or just a neutral friendly facial expression.

Tap into the tips above and make your best passport picture of this decade!


Why do passport photos look so bad?

There are a few reasons possible. We’re uncomfortable with the surroundings, a bad day to visit a photographer, unsuitable light, or unnatural body position.

Good vs ugliest passport photo

There are as many points of view as there are people. When getting your new passport, compliance is your utmost priority. Then, if you’d like to have a passport pic where you look your best, take as many as you can with an online service. And choose the passport photo for your application.

My passport photo is so ugly. What can I do?

If you don’t mind retaking the picture, use a free app or an online passport photo service to take as many headshots as you like. Pick the best eligible one for your document.