Guidelines on Taking Canadian Passport Photos

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Taking official photos is supposed to be easy, just point and click. But passport photos are in another dimension of their own what with the whole hundred rules (it’s actually just about thirty) to follow, of which only two are known by many—that is don’t show your teeth and use a white background.

The first you must understand about taking Canadian Passport Photos is that it must be taken by a commercial photographer, do-it-yourself photos are unacceptable. Photos must also be professionally printed on plain, quality paper and one photo must have the name, complete address of the photo studio and the date photo is taken written at the back as well as your guarantor’s signature and name certifying the photo to be a true likeness of your face. Photo must also be current, at the most 6 months ago and must not be altered or taken from an existing photo.

There are also specific passport picture measurements. Passport pictures must have a size of 50mm wide by 70mm high with the face length measuring 31mm to 36mm from top of head to bottom of chin without enhancements.

passport photo

  1. Pictures must be clear, sharp and focused in uniform lighting, without shadows, glare or flash reflections. White or light background must be used to provide a contrast with the face and clothing. Applicants must have a neutral expression with no teeth showing, not smiling, mouth closed and eyes open. Face must be centered, not tilted and shoulders must be included in the picture.
  2. Photos must show full head, uncovered unless there is medical or religious reason for it, provided the eyes remain visible and there is no shadow cast on the face. It is recommended to include a letter of explanation along with the pictures.
  3. Picture must reflect skin tone and eye color. Photos with red-eye or red-eye alterations are not acceptable.
  4. Prescription glasses may be worn as long as eyes are visible and there is no reflection or glare on glasses. Tinted glasses and sunglasses are prohibited.
  5. Photos can be black and white or colored.
  6. For children, parent’s hands must not be seen on the picture. Neutral expression is still applied except for babies. Babies may be placed in a car seat or carrier, but it must be covered in light cloth so it is not visible. This also applies to wheelchairs.
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In actuality, passport specifications are only up to number 26, estimates are off by 15%.

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