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Can a baby be crying in a passport photo?

Quick Answer

No, a baby cannot be crying in a passport photo according to passport photo requirements. Passport photos need to show a neutral facial expression with the mouth closed. A crying baby would not meet these requirements.

Passport Photo Requirements

Passport agencies have specific requirements for passport photos to ensure they are usable for identification purposes. Some key requirements include:

  • The photo must be in color.
  • The photo should be taken against a plain white or off-white background.
  • There should be no shadows on the face or background.
  • The face must take up 70-80% of the vertical frame.
  • The head should be bare (no hats or head coverings).
  • Eyes must be open and visible.
  • Glasses cannot have tinted lenses or frames that obstruct the eyes.
  • The facial expression should be neutral with a closed mouth.

A crying baby would violate several of these requirements. The mouth would not be closed in a neutral expression. There may also be shadows on the face from tears. Therefore, photos with a crying baby would not be usable and accepted for passports.

Why Crying Babies Cannot be Used

There are a few key reasons why crying babies do not meet passport photo standards:

Obstructed Facial Features

When crying, a baby’s face often contorts and facial features may be obscured. Eyes may narrow or close, the mouth will be open, and there may be wrinkles on the forehead and cheeks. This can make it difficult to identify the baby’s facial features. Passport photos need to clearly show the eyes, nose, and mouth.

No Neutral Expression

Passports require a neutral facial expression with a closed mouth. Crying involves an open mouth and distorted expression that does not meet this requirement. The neutral expression helps ensure the photo matches the person’s usual appearance.

Shadows and Lighting Issues

Tears on a baby’s face can create shadows and hot spots that obscure facial features. Saliva or mucus from crying can also cause glare and wet areas on the face. The consistent lighting required for passport photos is difficult with a moving, crying baby.

Movement Blur

Babies often move around a lot when crying. This can lead to motion blur in the photo if the baby is not still. Passport photos must be clear and not blurred.

What to Do for a Baby’s Passport Photo

Getting a good passport photo of a baby can be challenging, but here are some tips:

Schedule the photo during your baby’s calmest time.

Try to do the photo during your baby’s most alert and happy time of day. This is usually right after a feeding or nap.

Come prepared with comfort items.

Bring along a favorite toy or blanket to help comfort your baby and keep them calm. Playing soft music can also help.

Have pacifiers or bottles on hand.

Let your baby suck on a pacifier or bottle right before the photo to discourage crying. Just make sure to remove it before taking the actual photo.

Keep the session brief.

Only have your baby in the studio for a short window of peak calmness. Don’t drag out the session.

Catch your baby’s attention.

Use noises, funny faces, or toys to gain your baby’s focus and eye contact right before snapping photos.

Take a lot of shots.

Snap as many shots as you can while your baby is calm to increase your chances of getting good photos to choose from.

Edit out tears if needed.

If your baby ends up crying, editing software can be used to touch up the photos and erase tears or shadows.

Photo Editing to Remove Crying

If you are unable to get a non-crying photo, passport photo editing services can help erase evidence of tears, as long as the mouth is closed. Here are some techniques that can be used:


Strategic cropping may be able to cut out tear streaks and shadows. The photo editor can zoom in on just the central face area.

Softening and Blurring

Tools like the blur tool can be used to subtly soften the area around the eyes and blend away tears or shadows.

Cloning Stamp

The cloning stamp tool can copy over skin texture and color to replace tears or wet spots with a natural look.

Healing Brush

This tool lets editors sample skin texture from one area and paint it over another area like tears to make it blend in seamlessly.

Photo Editing Tool How It Removes Crying
Cropping Cuts out tear streaks
Softening/Blurring Blends and fades tears
Cloning Stamp Covers up tears with natural skin
Healing Brush Paints skin texture over tears

However, photo editing has limits. Extreme crying with eyes closed and mouth wide open may be impossible to edit into an acceptable passport photo. Avoiding a crying photo to begin with is best.

Other Tips for Baby Passport Photos

Here are some other tips for getting great baby passport photos:

  • Pick simple solid color outfits to avoid busy patterns.
  • Make sure baby’s face and hands are freshly washed and clean.
  • Brush hair smoothly and simply.
  • Check for eye goop, milk, or food on the face.
  • Photograph baby alone without mom or dad in the shot.
  • Do some test photos at home to prepare baby.
  • Turn off all mobile devices during the session.
  • If taking photos at home, ensure good lighting.

Following these tips will help you get professional looking passport photos that meet all the requirements – as long as the baby is not crying!

Who Can Take a Baby’s Passport Photo?

Baby passport photos can be taken by:

  • Professional passport photo studios
  • Photographers skilled in baby portraits
  • The parents or guardians themselves

Professional studios have the best lighting equipment, props, and editing software. But a skilled family photographer with portrait experience can also take excellent passport worthy baby photos.

Parents do have the option to take their own baby passport photos at home. This can save money and might make some babies more comfortable. Make sure to follow passport photo requirements carefully. Proper lighting is also essential for clear shots.

Passport Photo Studio

  • Professional lighting
  • Familiar with requirements
  • Editing services available


  • Experienced with babies
  • Portrait expertise
  • Can provide props


  • More comfort for baby
  • Cheaper option
  • Can do quick informal shots

Any of these options can work as long as the photographer understands and follows passport photo rules. Make sure to select crisp, well-lit photos and edit if needed.

Examples of Good and Bad Baby Passport Photos

Here are some examples illustrating good and bad baby passport photos:

Good Baby Passport Photos

  • Face is central, sharp focus
  • Simple pale background
  • Neutral facial expression
  • Mouth is closed
  • Eyes are open and visible
  • No shadows, motion blur, or redness

Bad Baby Passport Photos

  • Face is too small, not central
  • Distracting background
  • Mouth open, tongue sticking out
  • Eyes closed or obstructed
  • Shadows on face
  • Red-eye effect

Examining example photos helps illustrate what makes a passport photo work or fail. The best photos showcase the baby’s face clearly without distracting elements or expressions.


A crying baby cannot be used for passport photos. Passport regulations require photos to have a neutral expression with the mouth closed. Crying causes distortion in facial features and lighting that does not meet passport standards. While photo editing can help remove some signs of crying, it has limits. The best approach is to catch the baby in a calm, happy state and take many shots to get good options. With some preparation and technique, parents can achieve passport-worthy baby photos.