Taking a Photo

A question we get asked a lot is how to take a photo. Hopefully this little guide should be helpful for those of you with any doubts.

Don't use a Passport Photo

So many times we see people going "oh I went to the photo booth and got a legit passport photo so it'll look perfect". We know it's an easy assumption to make, but you're wrong.

Here's why: A passport photo is ideal but it has two major issues. Firstly, it's a physical photo which means you're going to lose quality when you scan it in or take a photo of it in order to send it to the vendor. Secondly, it's absolutely tiny. That thing is minuscule. Sure if you have a really great scanner that can handle like 1200 DPI and you know exactly how to configure the settings to do that (not easy, 1200 DPI is was too high for 99% of cases so they make it hard to find) then yeah it might look alright. But let's be honest, that isn't most people.

Use a Decent Camera

You don't need to go out and buy a freaking DSLR or anything, but definitely don't go using a 1 MP selfie camera on a 3 year old smart phone. The majority of modern smartphones have pretty damn good rear cameras and this is perfect for taking your ID photo. You could use a proper digital camera but that's a fair bit of extra hassle and you don't stand to gain much over a smart phone unless you have a crappy phone or something.

Find the Right Background

If you're trying to mimic a passport photo you'll need to find a light coloured wall to stand in front of, preferably white. You probably have a white painted wall somewhere in your house or whatever, and so long as lighting is good there, it'll probably do just fine.

If you're struggling to find a wall that works for you, one tip that a few members here have recommended in the past is go to an actual photo booth and then take your own photo in there - the background and lighting conditions are perfect.

You should also try and wear dark coloured clothing in order to provide a clear contrast between you and the background and keep your hair as neat as possible.

Lighting is Important

The light in which you take your photo can make or break your entire ID. One thing to definitely avoid is unnatural yellow light, which most light bulbs give off. Sun light is great, it's a very white natural looking light, but alternatively LED lamps and such can provide pretty good white light.

Aside from the colour of the light, you should make sure it sits evenly on your face. If it's coming from directly above it might cast a big shadows on your face such as under your chin which can really ruin a photo (these sort of shadows are near impossible for vendors to edit out for you). You should try and get the light to be directly ahead of your face and not too concentrated in one place. Again, sunlight works very well.

One more thing to watch out for is shadows behind your ears. Usually a little bit doesn't matter but if there is a really solid black shadow behind your ear it can make it very difficult to work with. So, try adjusting the angle of light or whatever to minimise such shadows. A useful tip for avoiding shadows is to hold your phone horizontally, so that the flash emitter is above the camera lens.

The Bigger Picture

Finally, making sure you capture everything you need is important. Don't be afraid to capture more than you need, so long as your camera has a decent number of megapixels, cropping the photo down later won't be an issue. You should try and capture your entire head and all of your hair as well as a little bit of shoulder. This is as a minimum. If taking a photo for IDGod - it is recommended to include from the waist up in the photo. Remember, it is easier for your photo to be downsized instead of upsized whilst still retaining quality.

Don't Edit It

Vendors are skilled in image manipulation and photo editing to do what they do. For this reason, they prefer photos to be as unedited as possible. Don't go putting a filter on there or trying to touch up the shadows yourself because most of the time you'll just make the vendors job harder. Leave the photo natural and unedited and let the vendors do their job.

That being said, handling photos is one of the most difficult and inconvenient parts to being a vendor, so try to follow all these rules as best as possible to make their life easy and to ensure you get the best looking ID possible.