Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Passport photography

I have always created my own passport photographs. Who wants to pay anywhere from $8 to $20 for a pair of passport photos, when they can be had for as little as $0.20. I used to figure out the ratio of the size in the image finder in my camera to the printed image. And determined, using a template, where the head should be so that I get the correct sized picture for a passport photograph. This was cumbersome, and involved a fair amount of trial and error. And, to top it all, I had to wait until I shot the whole roll of film to get my passport photos. But, once I got a good negative, it was good for a year.

Recently I had the need for a passport photo and I tried using my tried and trusted formula with my digital camera. It worked fairly well, and then I found this site which details how one can create an accurate passport photograph from a digital image. This was awesome. I had not thought of resizing the image at all, duh. This works great, but I would make a minor modification to the steps in order to get awesome photos that meet the standards:
  • After the step where you do a fixed size marquee, instead of just copying the image, crop it.
  • Choose the lasso selection tool and click on the background.
  • Select as much of the background as accurately as possible using the +- selection.
  • Use a Feather value of 5 - 15 depending on how the picture is.
  • Now, adjust the Levels such that the background fades to white.
  • Continue to the step of creating a 4x6 template in the original tutorial.

This will yield a professional looking passport photo. Print the digital image on your own photo printer or at any convenient store photo printer for as little as $0.20 for a pair! It always pays to learn new tricks in Photoshop.

Of course, this assumes that you have Adobe Photoshop, and good scissors wielding skills.