US Passport Photo Method

(from Poplular Photography, Sept. 1996)
  1. Load your SLR with ISO 100, 200, or 400 color print film. Your lens should be 50mm or a zoom set to 50mm.
  2. Place your victim, suitably attired, at least three feet in front of a plain, evenly-lit background, such as a white or grey wall.
  3. While standing 65 inches from the subject, make a series of exposures with on-camera flash.
  4. Have the film processed and printed to 4x6-inch size. If you get a free extra set of prints, all the better since you need two identical photos.
  5. Select the best shot. carefully cut out 2x2-inch head and shoulder compositions similar to the official U.S. passport sketch below. >
    the head should be 1" to 1-3/8" high, centered, showing the tops of the shoulders
    The two pictures must be exactly the same.
See the U.S. State Department for forms and other passport information.