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Guidelines for digital photos

Use the following guidelines for digital photos.

you can:

  • use an existing digital photo if it meets the rules below
  • get a friend to take a digital photo of you

Digital photo rules

  • your photo must look like you and must have be taken in the last month
  • use a plain light-coloured background with no patterns or textures and don’t have objects behind you
  • no shadows on your face or behind you – it’s best to use natural sunlight, for example facing a window
  •  stand 0.5 metres (1.5 feet) away from your background (this helps to stop shadows appearing)
  • the person taking the photo should stand 1.5 metres (5 feet) from you
  • include your head, shoulders and upper body in the photo and look straight at the camera
  • have a plain expression so don’t smile or frown – eyes open and mouth closed
  • eyes fully visible, hair away from your face and eyes
  • take your glasses off if you can – if you need to keep your glasses on, your eyes must be visible without any glare or reflections 
  • no sunglasses or tinted glasses
  • no headwear unless it’s for religious or medical reasons
  • don’t crop your photo – it will be done for you

The pictures below help to explain which photos follow the rules and shows those that don’t.