Canada Passport Photo Tips

Capturing a suitable passport photo can be challenging. However there are a few tips on how to make a perfect Canadian passport photo: wear bright clothing (avoid white), keep your face visible and square to the camera with a neutral expression, and avoid sparkly jewelry or shiny lip gloss. If your face tends to be glossy, use a tissue. Glasses are allowed if eyes are visible; removing them might improve the photo. No tinted eyeglasses. If you have long hair, it can be down but not covering your face. Ensure no shadows on the face, shoulders, ears, or background. The photo should genuinely reflect your appearance. If unsatisfied, ask for a retake. Keep reading to learn more about how our passport photo service can help you get your picture approved online.

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There are a few tips on how to make a perfect Canadian passport photo:1

  1. Wear brightly colored clothing to ensure a contrast with the background; avoid white.
  2. Ensure your entire face is visible and square to the camera.
  3. Maintain a neutral expression—no smiling.
  4. Avoid wearing sparkly jewelry or shiny lip gloss.
  5. If your face tends to be glossy, wipe it down with a tissue or handkerchief before taking the picture.
  6. Glasses may be worn, but ensure your eyes are visible without glare; removing glasses might improve the photo.
  7. Tinted eyeglasses do not allow for clarity of the eyes.
  8. If you have long hair, it can be down but must not cover any part of your face.
  9. Ensure no shadows are on your face, shoulders, ears, or in the background.
  10. The photo should be a true reflection of your appearance to facilitate travel.
  11. If the photo doesn’t meet all requirements, ask the photographer to take another photo.

Here’s the full rules for the Canada passport photo:1

  • Size: The photo must be 50 mm wide by 70 mm high (2 inches wide by 2¾ inches high).
  • Color: The photo must be in color.
  • Background: The background must be plain, white, or light-colored.
  • Head size and position: The head must measure between 31 mm and 36 mm (1¼ inches and 1⁷⁄₁₆ inches) from the chin to the crown (natural top of the head).
  • Glasses: Your eyes must be visible. There must be no glare on the lenses.
  •  Hair: Your hair must be off your face so that the edges of your face are visible.
  •  Hats and head coverings: 
    • Hats and head coverings worn daily for religious beliefs or medical reasons are permitted.
    • Your full face must be visible.
    • The head covering must not create shadows on your face.
  • Facial expressions: You must have a neutral expression on your face. Your mouth must be closed.
  • Wheelchair users: If you place a white blanket behind your head, your facial features and the edges of your face must be visible.
  • Image Quality:
    • Ensure clarity, sharpness, and focus.
    • Uniform lighting without shadows, glare, or flash reflections.
    • A clear distinction between your face and the background.
    • Reflect on your natural skin tone.
    • Taken in person by a commercial photographer or studio.
    • Professionally printed on plain, high-quality photographic paper.
    • Photos printed at home or on heavy paper are not accepted.
    • The photo must be original and unaltered.
  • Child Photos: 
    • Follow the same rules as above for child photos.
    • Photos should show only the child’s head and shoulders.
    • Recognize variations for newborn expressions.
    • Use a white blanket in a car seat with no shadows for newborns.
  • Medical Considerations: 
    • If in a wheelchair, use a white blanket behind the head.
    • Headwear or nasal cannula with visible eyes is allowed for medical reasons. Include a signed explanation, and a doctor’s letter may be requested.
  • Recency: The photo must have been taken within the last six months and reflect the applicant’s current appearance.
  • Quantity of Photo: Please provide two identical, unaltered photographs with each passport application.
Canada Passport Photo

Visas For Future Passport Photo Service

Visas for Future makes getting your Canadian passport photo easy. We know all the rules and guidelines for various documents, ensuring your photo is up to official standards. Just take a picture following our simple guidelines, send it to us, and we’ll handle the rest. Your edited passport photos will be mailed with free shipping to Canada, the EU, the US, and the UK. If you’re outside these regions, we’ll email your passport photos to print at home.

How it works

Take a photo.
We verify your photo.
Passport photos are delivered by post or email.

How to take your passport photo

Here’s how you can take passport photos at home to ensure that they’ll be high quality:

1.) Stand 5 meters or 2 feet from the wall. This ensures that there’s no shadow on your portrait.

2.) Place the camera 2 meters or 6 feet away from the subject. This will prevent distortion and give you a prettier picture!

3.) Have the camera on the same level as the subject’s face.

4.) Use plenty of lighting. Natural light is preferred, but plenty of light in general is the best. Make sure it is even and doesn’t leave a shadow.

Benefits Of Using An Online Passport Photo Service

There are many choices when it comes to getting a passport photo, but here are reasons why you should go with an online agent:

  1. You don’t have to leave your house.
  2.  We know the passport photo rules of the country you’re applying to.
  3.  We validate your photo and check your passport photo to ensure it is in order.
  4.  Save money with bulk orders – you can order many passport photos and save.

Why Choose Us

Visas for Future is a convenient service that can help you with your passport photo needs. Here are six reasons why you should choose Visas for Future for your passport photo services:

  • Expertise: Our experts ensure that your passport photo meets the official requirements of your destination country.
  •  Convenience: You can upload your photo or take one with your smartphone, and we will crop, resize, and enhance it to create a perfect biometric photo.
  •  Support: We’re visa and passport photo experts. You can ask us travel questions, making your trip-planning process easier.
  •  Speed: Your photos are shipped within a day!
  •  Unlimited retakes: You can also take as many photos as you want until you are satisfied with the result.

Guidelines for Acceptable Passport Photos: Dos and Don’ts

Here are some examples of dos and don’ts for acceptable passport photos.

Tips for achieving a neutral facial expression while looking natural

The International Civil Aviation Organization suggests having a neutral expression in passport photos to ensure easy identification and prevent fraud.

For a neutral expression:1

  1. Keep your eyes open and visible

Ensure your eyes are fully open and visible in the passport photo. This helps identify by allowing authorities to verify your eye shape, color, and other distinctive features.

  1. Look directly at the camera

Face the camera directly with your head centered in the frame. Looking directly at the camera helps capture a clear and straightforward image, aiding in accurate identification.

  1. Close your mouth

Keep your mouth closed in a neutral position. This is to prevent facial expressions that could alter your appearance, such as smiling or frowning. A closed mouth contributes to the photo’s overall severe and neutral tone.

  1. Avoid smiling or frowning

Smiling or frowning can introduce variations in facial features that may complicate the identification process. A neutral expression ensures consistency in the appearance of your face and helps authorities match the photo with your identity.

How to avoid common mistakes such as shadows, glare, or improper lighting?

Here are some tips to help you prevent shadows:

  • Select a well-lit area with diffused, even lighting. Natural light is often ideal, but if using artificial lighting, make sure it is soft and evenly distributed.
  • Do not use direct flash, as it can create harsh shadows. If you’re taking the photo indoors, bounce the flash off a wall or ceiling to diffuse the light.
  • Ensure that no objects or accessories (e.g., hats or scarves) cast shadows on your face.
  • If taking photos outdoors, avoid harsh sunlight, which can create shadows. Overcast days or shaded areas can provide more even lighting.
  • If shadows are still present, reduce their intensity by using additional fill light. This can be achieved by bouncing light off a nearby wall or using reflectors.
  • Overhead lighting can cast shadows under the eyes and nose. Position yourself to minimize or eliminate these shadows.
  • If using a camera flash, ensure it is diffused to prevent harsh shadows. You can use white paper or a diffuser attachment to soften the flash.
  • Stand or sit straight, and ensure your face is centered and squared to the camera. Tilting your head or having an uneven posture can create shadows.
  • Select a plain white or light-colored background, as this can also contribute to even lighting and reduce the appearance of shadows.

Here are some tips to help you prevent glare in your passport photo:

  • Avoid wearing glasses or jewelry that could reflect light and cause glare.
  • Use natural light, such as from a window, as this can provide even lighting and help to avoid glare.
  • Use a matte foundation or powder to reduce shine on your skin.
  • Tilt your head slightly forward to avoid glare from your forehead.
  • If you must use artificial light, position the light source so it is not directly in front of your face.
  • Use a diffuser to soften the light and reduce glare.
  • Choose small, low-intensity light fixtures over a large, high-intensity one.
  • Use light fixtures that diffuse or concentrate light effectively, such as indirect or direct fixtures with parabolic louvers.
  • Control light by covering bare bulbs with louvers, lenses, or other devices.
  • Increase brightness around glare sources.
  • Incorporate adjustable local lighting with brightness controls.
  • Strategically position light fixtures to minimize reflected light towards the eyes.
  • Opt for low-gloss paper, flat or semi-gloss paint, and matte finishes on glare-prone surfaces. Remove highly polished and shiny objects.
  • Maintain general lighting levels within recommended guidelines.
  • Position the workstation so that windows and fluorescent light tubes align parallel to the worker’s line of sight.
  • Avoid placing light fixtures in the front or directly overhead of the workstation.

Here are some tips to help you avoid issues like improper lighting:

  • Use natural light, such as from a window, as this can provide even lighting and help to avoid harsh shadows and contrasts.
  • Stand facing the light source to avoid creating dark shadows on your face.
  • Avoid using flash, as this can create harsh shadows and reflections.
  • Using artificial light, use multiple light sources to create even lighting.
  • Ensure the light is coming from before you, not behind you.
  • Adjust the brightness and contrast of the light so that your face is evenly lit.
  • Avoid wearing clothes that are too dark or light, as this can make it challenging to get good exposure.
  • Have someone else take your photo to ensure that you are positioned correctly and that the lighting is even.

Advice on posing and centering the head within the frame

The guidelines for appearance and posture in passport photos emphasize the importance of accurately representing your current look.1

  1. Recency

The photos you submit should be a true reflection of your current appearance. They must be taken at most six months before you submit your application. This ensures the image aligns with your current facial features and overall presentation.

  1. Centered and Squared

The face and shoulders should be the focal point of the photo. Ensure that your face is centered and squared to the camera, meaning it should not be tilted or angled in any direction. This positioning aids facial recognition processes and contributes to a standardized and easily recognizable image.

  1. Background

The background of the photo must be plain white or a light-colored backdrop. This neutral background enhances the clarity of your facial features and ensures that the focus remains on your appearance. It also contributes to the overall consistency of passport photos, as a uniform background is more accessible to process and evaluate.

Choosing flattering hairstyles and clothing

Hair Tips

  • Prefer a classic hairstyle for passport photos; it remains unchanged for a decade.
  •  For long hair, a simple ponytail is convenient and timeless.
  •  No specific hairstyle rules; feel free to style as you like, but ensure it fits within the photo frame.
  •  Short hair and bangs can be styled sideways, exposing the forehead.
  •  Prioritize visibility of face, eyes, and eyebrows.
  •  Avoid clothes hidden under the hair to prevent appearing topless in close-up shots.

Dressing Guidelines

  • Choose colored attire (avoid white) to stand out against the white background.
  •  Opt for a tight neckline due to passport photo cropping.
  •  Dress casually; follow Department of State guidelines.
  •  No head coverings unless for religious or medical reasons; provide necessary documentation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What not to wear for a passport photo in Canada?

Avoid clothing with busy patterns or designs, as they can be distracting and hinder clear visibility of your face; revealing clothing and white attire for a clear and suitable passport photo.

Can I smile in a passport photo in Canada?

No, maintain a neutral expression.

Can I wear makeup in my passport photo in Canada?

Makeup is allowed for your Canadian passport photo but should be applied naturally and subtly.

How can I look good in passport photos?

Looking good in your passport photo is about presenting a clear, confident, and natural representation of yourself.

  1. Canada.ca. (2023). Passport Photos, Canada.ca, Retrieved February 6, 2024, <https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/canadian-passports/photos.html#photo> [] [] [] []

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Charlyn Miguel
Written by

Charlyn is a science researcher and a content writer at Visas for Future. She is trained to write informatively, engaging her contents about visas for Turkey, India, Colombia, Egypt, and Aruba. She also does and manages client orders for efficient customer service. She had published academic articles and co-authored a book. She handles actual visa orders once every three months to preserve his knowledge and communication with the factual visa processing system.

Glen Vidania
Managed by Glen Vidania

Glen Vidania is the Content Manager at Visas for Future, a company that offers online visa services for eco-friendly travelers. He is a certified Content Marketer and an experienced academic writer. He writes and promotes content that is informative, engaging, and relevant to the readers. He had work experience and gained skills in writing articles, data entry, SEO email marketing, and guest posting. He is also an expert in applying for visas for Turkey and India.

Glen Vidania
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Cite this article

MLA Style

Miguel, Charlyn. "Canada Passport Photo Tips." Visas For Future, https://www.visasforfuture.com/passport-photo-tips-canada/. Accessed on 14 September 2023.

Chicago Style

Miguel, Charlyn. "Canada Passport Photo Tips." Visas For Future. September 14, 2023. https://www.visasforfuture.com/passport-photo-tips-canada/.

Published: 14 Sep 2023 14:55 UTC

Last modified: 24 Mar 2024 7:51 UTC

Reading time: 12 minutes

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