We are taking Gloria on her first international trip in November, to visit our Burmese friends in northwest Thailand. This plan, of course, requires Baby G to obtain a passport, which in turn requires us to snap a passport photo. There are a number of requirements for a passport photo, including:

  • The subject must be looking directly at the camera
  • The subject’s eyes must be open
  • The subject must have a “natural expression”
  • There may be no other people (or their hands, etc.) in the shot
  • The subject’s head must not be tilted to one side or the other
  • The composition must match the template below:


(The State Department’s website does offer a useful tool to help you crop a photo based on the template.)

Any one of these requirements would be difficult to fulfill with a newborn, but the combination seemed almost impossible. Fortunately we caught Gloria in a quiet alert mood on Monday night, and we had a hilarious photo shoot. Here are the shots that most closely matched the guidelines:

Passport photo 1
Her head was cocked a bit, and she was clearly looking to her left, but the overall framing was close

Passport photo 2
Head cocked a bit to the other side, but sooo cute, no?

Passport photo 3
We thought this one was the most compliant. I’m not certain that the expression will qualify as “natural,” but hopefully it’ll pass muster

We’re hoping that the passport office will be a bit lenient on the requirements for an infant, given what a daunting task it is to obtain a conforming mug shot.

Once we had chosen a photo, there was only the question of how to get it printed. Normally I’d just upload it to Walgreens’ photo site and go pick it up in an hour, but there was no option on the site for printing a 2×2. No matter, given that you can fit six 2x2s into a 4×6, and there are even convenient utilities like PortraitBooth that will enable you to do this in just a couple clicks (apologies to our friends at Adobe, this was just much easier than Photoshop).

6 photos in a 4x6

Et voila, six passport photos for 19 cents. If you’ve been paying $10 for 2 photos, you’ve been overpaying by over 150x.

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