3 Foolproof Tricks for Taking Your Best ID Photo

Whether it’s time to renew your passport, driver’s license or building pass, there comes a time in every woman’s life when she has to take that dreaded ID photo. And while you don’t have much control over the lighting or the patience of whomever is going to take your picture, here are three key things you can do to get the most flattering shot.

1. Keep your hair and makeup simple. Now is not the time to experiment with a new haircut or lip color. Stick to your go-to look, but skip any heavy shimmers or setting powders (both of which can wash you out—especially when combined with overhead fluorescent lighting). Do darken your eyebrows and pop on some blush to frame your face and bring out your cheekbones.

2. Tilt your head. Though you usually have to face the camera straight on for these types of photos, you can get away with a slight head tilt. The teensiest tilt to your best side (which a study at Wake Forest University confirmed is on the left for most people) will soften any shadows on your face and bring out your jawline.

3. Smile like you mean it. Save the steely gaze (or duck face) for your friend Becky’s wedding photo booth next month. For an ID picture, flash your most genuine smile—and if your state doesn’t allow a grin, start practicing the ever-flattering eye squinch.