Tips for Taking the Best License Photo, School Photo, or Passport Photo

I had planned on doing this post back when I got married and found I had to take another passport and license photo. I completely forgot about it until my recently married friend mentioned that she too just got her new license, and sans makeup or brushed hair found herself frantically taking her photo. She laughed about making the lady take her picture multiple times, but I can definitely relate as I did that too! Hey, it’s something you’ll have to live with for awhile, so why not treat it as a photoshoot? Here are a few quick tips on how to take the best license photo, school photo, or passport photo….or at least avoid looking like this.

Worst License Photo

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Cstophecklist DONT’S for the Best License Photo, School Photo, or Passport Photo:

  1. Don’t wear crazy large patterns or stripes. They don’t tend to photograph well.
  2. Don’t wear something too trendy, meaning clothes, makeup, and hairstyle. You can have a passport for up to 10 years, and as we learned from the past, you may get sick of crimped hair and blue eyeshadow!
  3. Don’t wear anything too low cut or too high neck. Sometimes the photos are really close up and if you’re wearing something with a high neck (let’s just stay away from turtlenecks in general, k?), you’ll look like you literally have no neck. You also don’t want the “ladies” popping out….unless that’s your plan on getting out of a traffic ticket! Ha!
  4. Don’t wear statement jewelry. Sure, that ginormous chunky rhinestone necklace may be “adorbs,” but when thinking about these photos classy and understated is best. Simple stud earrings are usually my choice.
  5. Don’t wear something without sleeves. Trust me, even the tiniest of girls may not photograph as well if wearing spaghetti straps, sleeveless, and definitely not a tube top (you’ll look naked!). This mainly goes back to how the photo is cropped, so it’s more flattering if you have sleeves…even short sleeves.
Style Trials how to take a good license photo

Example of my license photo following the tips below!

checkmarkChecklist DO’S for the Best License Photo, School Photo, or Passport Photo:

  1.  Do think about what kind of top you’re wearing. Some photos you won’t see it, others you will (I’ve had license photos where you can and can’t see it, and my passport and school photos you can see it). I usually go with a solid color, either bright but not neon bright (think cherry red) or neutral. I think a color like navy or cherry red makes the picture less boring, but you can’t go wrong with neutral.
  2. Do put on makeup. And when you put it on, make sure you actually put more makeup on than you normally would in real life. From my days of professional dance teams and modeling, I learned that eyeliner, lots of mascara (or false eyelashes if you’re going to the extreme with stage makeup – not necessary for this), more blush than you normally would, and some kind of color on your lips is best. The lighting on these pics will not be great, and this will prevent you from looking washed out.
  3. Do wear your hair like you normally would. Don’t do some crazy style or go to the extra effort for beauty pageant hair, you still want to look like your everyday self. Remember, people will be looking at your i.d. to identify YOU. I usually just wear mine straight and down and pull it in front on both sides. If you pull it back or wear it up, you may end up looking like you have no hair.
  4. Do ask to retake the picture if you see it and really just can’t live with it. Of course do this at your digression as it may not make sense if you have a line behind you, but I purposely get these pictures done at times that I know it will not be as busy. It’s not a weird request, just don’t ask them to do it more than 2 or 3 times max.
  5. Do SMILE! Now is not the time to throw the camera your best pouty face. Keep your eyes open and bright, and smile big. 🙂

Do you have any other Do’s or Dont’s to add to this list, or a funny experience you had when taking one of these photos? Let me know in a comment below!

Let’s Talk Bras! Fashion Challenges and Fixes

One of my pet peeves is not wearing the proper undergarments. So in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, we’re gonna talk bras!

I’ve come across fashion challenges like “what kind of bra do I wear with this weird cutout dress thingy,” and have figured out the best up-top solutions to common girl problems. Why? Because wearing the wrong bra can put a damper on your entire outfit, but wearing the correct bra will make the outfit seamless. Now I’m not knocking the exposed bra as a trend, because if you’re trying to make a statement like Carrie Bradshaw on Sex & the City, then do just that. And I do like the sheer top with exposed bra trend, but that’s obviously on purpose so it’s not the same.

Photo rights:

If you’re not attempting to expose your straps on purpose and it doesn’t enhance the outfit, then it’s just comes off as sloppy. Here’s the most common fashion challenges and fixes to avoid a fashion faux pas.

Challenge 1: The Thin White T-Shirt

The Bra Fix

In thin shirts (even if it’s white), a white bra can stand out just as bad as a bright colored one. The trick is to get the bra in a nude color that closely matches your skin tone, and it will blend seamlessly especially when you wear white. Some places, like Victoria’s Secret, carry bras in multiple nude colors so you can get a close match.

The other part to this is having just a basic, seamless bra with no bells and whistles. You don’t want lace, patterns, or other embellishments (at least not on the cups) because that will show through and it will look like you have lumpy boobs. This VS Showstopper Demi Bra is a great example of what to wear, and I especially like the satiny fabric. Cotton bras tend to cling to your shirt, so when wearing a thin t-shirt I’ve found it’s better with a slick bra to avoid the cling.

Challenge 2: Exposed Back and Cutouts

Photo Credit:

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The Bra Fix

I fondly call this backless Ultralite Nubra my “sticky boobs.” They have an adhesive that sticks to your skin without leaving any residue, and can be reused several times. You can even wash it lightly and it will stay sticky for more uses, until it eventually wears out.

The Nubra comes in nude and black, and works for a ton of tricky fashion situations. This has helped me with backless shirts/dresses, sheer or lace backed tops, and outfits with interesting cutouts. I do want to advise not to wear it instances where you’ll be really sweaty for a long period of time. I live in Florida, and found in those situations the “sticky boobs” turn into “slippery boobs.”

Challenge 3: Taking the Plunge

The Bra Fix

Love the plunge neckline but scared “the girls” will fall out? These tools will help prevent a potentially embarrassing situation. Since you can’t wear a normal bra or even Nubra because of the front plunge, you can use Braza Silicone Gel Petals  . They just adhere to that area to help smooth things out so it doesn’t look like you’re bra-less. The other key tool is Hollywood Fashion Tape. You can use fashion tape for lots of things, and it’s basically double sided sticky tape that works with most fabric. Just tape the inside of the neckline and secure the fabric to your skin. Viola! No slippage there. With this combination of fashion tools, you will be well equipped to take the plunge.

Do you have a fashion challenge you need help with? Send me an email and make sure to subscribe to Style Trials!

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