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11 Tricks to Looking Good in Your Passport Photo

11 Tricks to Looking Good in Your Passport Photo
IMAGE Gab Gutierrez
Treat it like a photoshoot.

When news broke that Philippines passports will now be valid for 10 years, we only had one thing on our minds: our passport photos. Because if we'll be stuck with one for an entire decade, then only a flawless one will do from here on out. How will we do that exactly? Refer to the list below!

1. Practice your no-teeth smile beforehand.

Since we won't be allowed to show our pearly whites, this is a must if your grin is a toothy one. The goal is to master your most neutral happy face in one go. Because in case you didn't know, DFA employees will only give you one chance at a retake.

2. Don't apply too much sunscreen.

Yes, sunscreen is important, but wearing too much tends to give the skin an unflattering white cast in flash photography. That's why unless dead and ghostly is the look you're going for, apply a little less or skip it entirely—just this once! (Just don't forget to apply it right after the shot, got it?)


3. Skip the colored contact lenses.

Your passport photo will require you to be au naturel, which means you'll have to leave your favorite gray lenses at home. Even if your contacts are merely corrective, you'll still be asked to remove them.

4. Bring your own reflector.

It sounds a little extra, but if you have a portable one, why not? A reflector will help balance the lighting around your face and remove unflattering shadows from the photo. Just hold it under your face, adjust it quickly, and wait for the camera's click!

5. Treat blemishes before your appointment.

When you're scheduled for a new photo, makeup artist Xeng Zulueta suggests putting skin care on top of your priorities. Because according to her, no matter how much makeup you put on, it's hard to hide bad skin under those non-pro DFA lights. So if you develop a giant zit days before your appointment, sort it out ASAP with a spot treatment or a trip to your dermatologist.

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6. Brighten your eyes.

Again, that small DFA counter is no photo studio, which means no good lighting will be there to hide imperfections. Hence, you'll have to take matters into your own hands. Undereye concealer, stresses Xeng, is perhaps the one step you shouldn't skip. This will prevent you from looking tired in your photo sans Photoshop.

7. Touch-up before the flash goes off.

The line for taking photos will be long, so use your time wisely. When it's almost your turn, start touching up your makeup. Start by powdering the skin first to remove excess shine on your forehead and T-zone. Because who wants to look like a disco ball in their passport, right?

8. Keep your lips hydrated.

Going for a nude lip is a given, but it turns out that you should take note of what lip product you're using as well. "Avoid liquid lipsticks or formulas that can make the lips look dry, chapped, and wrinkly," says Xeng. Instead, opt for tinted lip balms or a creamy lipstick that you love.


9. Don't forget to groom your eyebrows.

The makeup artist couldn't stress this enough. Thread them, fill them in, do everything in your power to make them look good. Also, make sure that the shape that they're in now won't be cringe-worthy after 10 years.

10. Wear blush.

Thanks to blush, faking a healthy glow is incredibly easy. Find out the blush placement technique that suits your face shape, then add a sheer layer of a neutral color.

11. Prep your hair.

Yes, you'll indeed have to tuck your hair behind your ears for the photo, but that doesn't mean it should be limp and frizzy! Tame baby hairs with pomade or hairspray, and spray on some texturizing spray if you want more volume on the ends.

And if you have bangs, pin them up in advance. Make sure you do it in front of the mirror, too, so you're sure that it looks good enough for a photo.


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