If there was a list of most challenging photos to take, it would definitely include newborn passport photos. Taking a photo of someone with no control of their head positioning and eyes that barely ever open runs opposite of practically every passport photo requirement. Here are some pointers on how to get the best outcome.
1. Find your nearest passport photographer. This service is available at many USPS locations. You can find one near you by doing a location search and selecting Passports on the Location Type dropdown menu. Wait times can vary wildly at USPS depending on the day so I strongly recommend going to a AAA office to get the photos taken if there is a location near you.
2. Identifiy the time of day that your newborn is most likely to open their eyes and be alert. The photo must be of them facing the camera with eyes open. For us this was in the morning right after a short nap in the car. We had a ten minute window before she would be screaming for a feeding and managed to catch her with eyes open. Be prepared to take a break to feed and go back into the office if necessary. Another common baby trick is to cradle them and then raise them upright quickly since it causes a natural reaction where babies flick their eyes open.
3. Dress your baby in a colored outfit. The background of your photo will be white and their outfit will need to stand out from the background. If your baby puts their hands up near their face alot you may want to consider swaddling them in a colored blanket.
4. Bring the following items with you: a white t-shirt or baby blanket, a pair of white tube socks, and either a baby carrier, bouncer, or bath seat. You will need to provide a white background for your baby’s photo. If your infant is old enough to lay flat with head facing up you can spread the white t-shirt or blanket on the floor and take the picture from overhead. If your baby is a newborn they will not have enough head control for this to be possible. You can spread the white blanket or sheet in their car seat , bouncer or bath seat and set them down on top of it. No one else can be in the photo so put the white tube socks over your hands (to match the white background) and you can use a hand on either side of the babies head gently just to keep them facing forward. The socks will not show up in the photo since they’ll blend into the white background.
5. Don’t expect too much. The photo may not look exactly like your adorable baby but as long as it provides an eyes open facing front shot it will work for the sake of a passport.
To Read about Applying for an Expedited Passport for Your Newborn click here.
Nasreen Stump is a freelance writer who lives in Vermont with her husband, 8 year old, 21 month old, dog, house rabbit and a newborn on a 10 acre homestead. Find food recipes and Vermont life at her website ramblingstump.blogspot.com. Check her out on Twitter @ramblingstump