Friday, February 12, 2010

Passport Photos

Everyone needs 'em! Ever thought about it? I am, they are not really any trouble to take. So why not?

I found useful guidelines laid out online by Passport Canada. So if you are looking for a little extra something for your repertoire, and a couple extra dollars on the side - read on.


So I read the instructions thoroughly before I started with the photos. White backdrop and a flash to light it from behind. Then I put my "Passport Applicant" or model in front, about 2 feet away from the backdrop. (This is pretty standard practice for making images of people or things isolated on white) Then, big soft light in front of the subject and a little higher than their head. I couldn't have the flash directly infront however, because that would mean I would be getting their passport photo with a big lightstand right down the center.

I had two silver reflectors in use, just to minimize the shadows on the finished product. One, I had the model hold themselves under their chin, about chest height. Second, held beside them on the side the flash wasn't on.

Photos - done, next - post processing. RAW photos entered the raw editor, where I converted to monochrome. Color is acceptable too but I went for B&W since it is a bit easier to lessen the shadows. Export as jpeg's, then open in an image editor, such as Adobe's Photoshop.

Then I started to create a template - canvas=4x6" @ 300dpi. I will eventually print both my passport photos on one 4x6 for the ease of it. Printed at Wal-Mart since its better than trying to get 50mmx70mm prints somewhere.

I wanted to section off certain parts of this 4x6. Biggest being the 50mmx70mm portion. I did this by starting new documents with these measurements. Always at 300dpi. Turned this new 50x70mm document into a selection. Then copying the selection into my 4x6 Template, I put a box around that area. Do that again! One Box on either bottom corner. (This way you only need to cut out two straight lines per photo, right!?) - So got the spots where the Model's photo will go.

Then I wanted to make two boxes for the maximum and minimum size of the face in each photo. Made new documents like I did in the last step, but with 50mm wide by 31mm (the minimum size) and then 50mmx36mm (the maximum size). Put these on the photos overlapping, and in different colors. (I can see easily where the minimum size is, and where the maximum stops)

Now, just use your jpg's from the RAW editor and bring them into your template. Likely they will be gigantic. So make sure you evenly scale it, until the face fits inside your two boxes. After that, move the models face into one of the 50x70mm boxes you made. Crop off everything around the inside edges.

Now copy that and paste it into the box on the other side. Presto!
I am not the greatest at writing instructions, and they seem a bit long winded, but if you got through it all, your finished 4x6 to print may look a little like mine!


I hope that helps someone out, somewhere, someday! I just wrote it all and don't even have any readers yet. Haha. Super-happy that if my pictures work, I will have dirty handlebars on my passport.

Will keep you updated on whether or not these get accepted by the passport office. I did 4 peoples, and will feel pretty bad if they dont make it through. I am a bit weary as it is my first time trying it.

Chris