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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 04 Jun 2010 (Friday) 12:24
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questions about DIY passport photos

 
coeng
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Jun 04, 2010 12:24 |  #1

I just got into studio photography last month, so I'm still just getting my feet wet with my little home studio.

I'm in the process of applying for passports for my family and want to avoid the $60 fee for photos ($15 per person).

Given the fact that I have white seamless background paper and two umbrellas (that I will use as shoot-thru at 45 degrees, one from each side), will the photos I produce likely be acceptable? I don't have background lights to blow out the background unless I can use my large reflector on one side of the face, freeing one of the lights. But even in that case the background will not be uniformly white, more like a gradient between white and grey. Any suggestions?

Next question I have is regarding the actual print. The required 2"x2" photo is not a standard print size. Using Photoshop if I overlay a 2"x2" image over a 4"x6" black background and then cut out the square area (after printing) with scissors is that acceptable?


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tomd
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Jun 04, 2010 12:27 |  #2

Yes, they will be fine as long as the exposure is correct. I took mine standing front of a white drywall wall with a G10.

Make sure the head size is correct within the 2x2 print.
more: https://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthre​ad.php?t=369099


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photopat
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Jun 04, 2010 13:58 |  #3

I have made my own at the time when I had only two flashes and umbrella. They were great. I measured in Photoshop all the distance to make sure that the picture was acceptable.

Then I went to the post office with my pictures... One was missing. I didn't want to loose an hour to go back home to pick up another one and accepted to have one taken by USPS. What error I have just made... When I received my passport after a few weeks, I discovered the art piece. I should have been warned when I've seen them taking my picture with a small point and shoot at the widest focal possible, as close as they could from my face, with the build in flash..
I don't even understand how they accepted to print this picture on my passport. Look at the wide shadow, lens distortion and wrong white balance...

In ten years, I won't make the same mistake...

Then yes, please do your picture yourself to avoid my shame every time I'll have to tell immigrations officer that yes I am a photographer...


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coeng
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Jun 04, 2010 14:04 |  #4

photopat wrote in post #10302992 (external link)
I have made my own at the time when I had only two flashes and umbrella. They were great. I measured in Photoshop all the distance to make sure that the picture was acceptable.

Then I went to the post office with my pictures... One was missing. I didn't want to loose an hour to go back home to pick up another one and accepted to have one taken by USPS. What error I have just made... When I received my passport after a few weeks, I discovered the art piece. I should have been warned when I've seen them taking my picture with a small point and shoot at the widest focal possible, as close as they could from my face, with the build in flash..
I don't even understand how they accepted to print this picture on my passport. Look at the wide shadow, lens distortion and wrong white balance...

In ten years, I won't make the same mistake...

Then yes, please do your picture yourself to avoid my shame every time I'll have to tell immigrations officer that yes I am a photographer...

My sympathies....looks like I'll be setting up my studio gear tonight.
By the way, I guess it doesn't matter if I cut the square photos out with scissors since they just scan them in anyway and print them digitally on your passport rather than laminate them.


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photopat
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Jun 04, 2010 14:11 |  #5

coeng wrote in post #10303031 (external link)
My sympathies....looks like I'll be setting up my studio gear tonight.
By the way, I guess it doesn't matter if I cut the square photos out with scissors since they just scan them in anyway and print them digitally on your passport rather than laminate them.

Cut them 2x2. I'm not sure it will make a difference when they scan it, but the person you will see to fill out your application may not know it and refuse your picture.

If you don't have a background light, keep your subject as far of the wall as you can. In last resort, you can also do some PP to extract the face and fill the background with white.


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GilesGuthrie
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Jun 04, 2010 14:33 |  #6

There should be guidance on your country's immigration service website. I studied them for the UK, and have taken all my families' photos in recent years. You don't even need umbrellas and seamless etc. A bounced flash will be fine, so long as you have a pale background (a white or cream wall is probably fine for this).

This is the guidance site for the UK: http://www.ips.gov.uk …hg/ips_live/hs.​xsl/36.htm (external link)


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EJW
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Jun 04, 2010 14:36 as a reply to  @ GilesGuthrie's post |  #7

http://www.epassportph​oto.com/ (external link)


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george ­ m ­ w
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Jun 04, 2010 22:31 |  #8

I shot myself with the camera on the tripod, using a speedlite bounced straight up to the ceiling. I got the size right in photoshop and printed them on my Epson inkjet printer. Worked fine, still looks fine after 5 years. I wasn't sure if the inkjet print would fade, but so far it's fine.


regards, george w

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dlpasco
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Jun 04, 2010 22:42 |  #9

I found a photoshop template for passport photos. It made the process of cropping and printing completely painless.


Dan

  
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111t
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Jun 04, 2010 23:32 |  #10

I put an alienbee 800 aimed at the diffuser of a photoflex 5-in-1. You could probably do the same thing with a hotshoe flash. Another on camera flash for a flat subject light. Pose is straight on IIRC. Take a few. Have the subject pick which one. Then size precisely in PS. I Composited 2 on a 4x6 jpeg with a black bg. (that makes them easier to cut out by having a clear contrast.) Then send 4x6 to you favorite lab and pay the $.20 for the print.

dlpasco wrote in post #10305432 (external link)
I found a photoshop template for passport photos. It made the process of cropping and printing completely painless.

Cool. Do you have a link?


All The best!
-Paul

WHAT TO DO IF YOU DON"T HAVE A LIGHT METER AND YOU STILL WANT TO MAKE INTELLIGENT EXPOSURE DECISIONS.

  
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swalter
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Jun 05, 2010 00:06 |  #11

Here's the official requirements for US passports.

http://travel.state.go​v …ort/guide/guide​_2081.html (external link)


http://scwalter.smugmu​g.com/ (external link)

  
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dlpasco
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Jun 05, 2010 15:07 |  #12

111t wrote in post #10305607 (external link)
Cool. Do you have a link?

http://www.nicmyers.co​m …hop-passport-template-v1/ (external link)


Dan

  
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111t
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Jun 05, 2010 17:49 |  #13

Nice! I don't do these very often. It'll be nice to have that in future!


All The best!
-Paul

WHAT TO DO IF YOU DON"T HAVE A LIGHT METER AND YOU STILL WANT TO MAKE INTELLIGENT EXPOSURE DECISIONS.

  
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Leonard ­ Wong
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Jun 06, 2010 08:01 |  #14

I was able to use this photo of my then 6 month old son for a passport photo. i did it with a two light setup. it was nearly impossible to get him to look straight, but i think the postman who processed my app understood the issue and let it pass.

its worth the seeing the immigration officers face every time we have to go through immigration. anything to make their day a little better makes our immigration process easier. one asked if the smile was photoshopped in. we laughed a bit, and he sent us on our way.


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coeng
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Jun 06, 2010 08:10 as a reply to  @ Leonard Wong's post |  #15

As it turns out, I managed to get the background rather white by having the stool about a foot away from the white background. I then used CS2 to crop a 2"x2" area and pasted three copies in a checkered pattern on a black 4"x6" background which I will have developed today. Then all I have to do is cut them neatly.

To ensure I had the right size face in the photo, I just used the marquee tool to create a fixed 1"x1" temporary border, verified that the face (from top of hair to chin) was outside the border (so that it was large enough), then changed my marquee frame to be 1.375" square to make sure the face was within this frame (to verify it wasn't larger than the specification).


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questions about DIY passport photos
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