Guidelines for taking a photo

Photo Guidelines

Use this guidance to take a digital photo that meets the Public Services Card photo rules. Photos of photos are not allowed. Failure to follow these guidelines could result in your photo being rejected.

  • It should be a recent photo.
    Your photo must have been taken within the last 6 months.
  • Get someone to take your photo.
    Photos of photos are not allowed.
  • Capture your image from just above the top of your head to the top of your shoulders, positioning your face in the centre of the photo.
    Your head should occupy 70-80% of the photograph.
    There should be at least a small margin between your head and the edge of the photo.
  • Use a digital camera or smartphone.
    Do not use any zooming, filtering or enhancement features on the device.

How do I take a good photo?

  • Make sure your expression is neutral, you are not smiling and your mouth is closed.
  • You must look straight into the camera and not tilt your head.
  • Capture your image from just above the top of your head to the top of your shoulders, positioning your face in the centre of the photo.
Person with a plain expression and mouth closed
Blue Tick Plain expression and mouth closed
Smiling Person
Red X No Smiling
Person looking away from camera
Red X No looking away from camera
  • Take your photo in front of a plain light coloured background with no texture or pattern.
  • There should not be any objects visible in the background.
Person on a plain light-coloured background
Blue Tick Plain light-coloured background
Person with objects in background
Red X No objects in background
Person with texture in background
Red X No texture in background
  • Your hair or any religious headdress should not cover any part of your face.
  • Glasses should not be worn.
  • Do not wear a hat or cap.
Person with eyes fully visible
Blue Tick Eyes should be fully visible
Person wearing glasses
Red X No glasses
Person with hair covering eyes
Red X No hair covering eyes
  • Ensure you have balanced light - no shadows on your face or behind you.
  • It's best to use natural sunlight so have the photo taken while facing a window.
Person with even lighting and no shadows
Blue Tick Even lighting and no shadows
Person with shadows on face
Red X No shadows on your face
Person with shadows behind head
Red X No shadows behind your head