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Make your own passport photos
March 01, 2010

Dear Stay Focussed reader,

Welcome to the newsletter.

I made myself a New Year's resolution that I would endeavour to stick to a bi-monthly newsletter - and then March seemed to appear from nowhere and my resolution was in danger of falling at the first hurdle.

Anyway, I have managed to find a bit of quiet time and have met my first deadline. (phew!)

Tip: make your own passport photos

I've been required to make some passport photos of late, and this got me thinking. Many of us, when faced with getting passport photos organised, rush down to the nearest photo booth.

Strange that in this era of digital photograpy the photo booth continues its popularity. Still, there's no reason to not have a go at making your own. Here's the process:

  • Make sure you're inside - there are too many variables to try this outside.

  • Place your model against a plain white background (a wall, or hang a white sheet over something)

  • Now move your model away from the background by about six feet.

  • Get as much light into the scene as you can; room lights, window light, lamps - the lot!

  • Then, frame your shot - you only need head and shoulders but take the shot a bit wider than this to allow for cropping later.

  • Finally, switch on your camera flash (more light!) and take the shot!

Once done, load the photo into your editing software. Select the crop tool and make sure it is set for 300dpi (dots per inch) and 35mm wide by 45mm high. Then crop your photo down to head and shoulders only.

That's it! Save this image as your master passport photo.

Print it out

To print your photos first make sure you have some good quality glossy photo paper. Open your image editing software and start a new document based on your paper size.

Make sure the new document is set to be 300dpi and then copy and paste your master passport photo into it. Do this as many times as you like and arrange the photos on your document so that there is some space around each image.

Finally, print it. Set your printer to the highest quality. Make sure that, if there is an option in your printer's settings to 'expand the image to fit the paper' (or something similar), it is NOT selected. You need to print it as-is.

Print, and you're done!

Pearls from the forums

I get a lot of submissions to the site, and unfortunately I can't upload them all (so apologies if you've made a submission and you haven't seen it). Here are some of my recent favourites:

Help wanted!

My aim is to share, and this newsletter with as many people around the world as possible- helping the whole world take better photos!

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Thanks for your help,


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