Top 7 Tips For an Excellent Driver’s License Photo


You will probably have a tough time finding anyone who actually likes the photo that is on their driver’s license. Most of the time, people have an expression on their face that they do not like, or their hair looks funny, or there is something else that bugs them about their photos.

DMV photo
Oregon Department of Transportation- photo station

What most people do not realize is that they can have a driver’s license photo that does look alright, as long as they prepare for the photo ahead of time.

You may not need to bother doing as much as you would if you were going to have a portrait photo taken, but for a license photo, or even a passport photo, there are things you can do so that you will actually be somewhat happy with it. After all, you are going to be stuck with it for a few years, and the last thing you want to do is see a goofy photo every time you pull your driver’s license out of your wallet.

As already noted, there are a few things that you can do so you will have a decent looking identification photo. Here are seven great tips for an amazing driver’s license photo:

How To Get An Excellent Driver’s License Photo

  1. 1

    Be careful how you dress

    There are certain colors that you should not wear when having an identification photo taken.

    • Make sure that you do not wear white. Often, the background for the photos is a light color, and not only will your clothing blend in, if you are fair skinned, you will also look like you are very pale and sickly.
    • On the other side of the coin, you should not wear black for your photo either, again because it will make lighter skin look pale.
    • Try to stick with a soft color, such as blue, green or pink. You can wear black or white if they are not solids, and there are other colors mixed in.
    • You should avoid wearing tee shirts with slogans or pictures, and women should avoid wearing tops that are too low cut.
    • It doesn’t matter if you are wearing pants, shorts or a skirt, because the photo is only taken from about the chest or neck up.
  2. 2

    Use eye drops

    rear facing seat
    Get suitable over-the counter eyedrops at a local drugstore

    • If you are getting your driver’s license photo taken while you have a cold or during allergy season, make sure that you use some eye drops so you don’t end up with red, bloodshot eyes in your photo.
    • You will also want to make sure that your eyes are wide open for the photo. Do not open them any wider than you normally would, but try to make sure that they are fully open, otherwise you will have to get another photo taken.
    • Try to make sure that you do not get your driver’s license photo taken the morning after a party. Of course, you won’t be hung over, but you may be tired from being out late, and it will show in your eyes.
  3. 3

    Keep your hair neat

    • It is probably best if your hair is done in the style that you most often wear. Of course, you may end up getting your hair cut or styled differently after you get your license, but for the most part, we tend to keep the same hairstyle for many months at a time, especially men.
    • Make sure that your hair is neat and tidy, and that there is nothing hanging in your eyes. It is important that your eyes be completely visible in your photo.
  4. 4

    Don’t wear too much makeup

    • Your driver’s license photo is not a glamour portrait, so there really is no need to go all out with the heavy makeup. If a police officer pulls you over and asks to see your license, he or she is not going to be worried about whether or not you had makeup on when the photo was taken.
  5. 5

    Don’t smile too much

    • Whether you are getting a driver’s license photo or a passport photo, you will be asked not to smile. Here is why:
    • You can have a bit of a smile on your face so you do not look grumpy, but don’t flash a big, toothy grin. It isn’t necessary, and you will be asked to pose again to have another photo taken.
    • It is best to simply wear a friendly expression, the same one you would be wearing if you were pulled over.

    Here is why they would discourage your from smiling for a license photo:

  6. 6

    Wear your glasses

    • If you are required to wear glasses when you are driving, then make sure that you are wearing them when you have your identification photo taken.
    • Make sure that you do not wear sunglasses. If you have them on, you will be required to remove them before the photo is taken.
    • If you wear contact lenses, do not wear lenses that will change the color of your eyes. Your driver’s license will state your eye color, and they need to be the same color in the photo as they are in reality.
  7. 7

    Be on time

    • If you have made an appointment to have your driver’s license photo taken, then make sure that you are on time for the DMV appointment. There are probably going to be many others waiting to have their photos taken, and if you are late, you may end up back at the end of the line.
    • Also, the person taking your photo may rush you through, and you will not be happy with the end result. You will either be stuck with this photo until you renew your driver’s license, or you will have to pay to have another license and photo made.

You don’t have to be stuck with a driver’s license photo that you hate. As long as you follow the above advice, you should be very pleased with the results, and you won’t even mind showing the photo to others.

Just show up looking neat and well dressed, have your hair combed neatly, have nice bright eyes, and put on a friendly face.

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