How to take a passport or ID card photo using your iPhone or iPad

This tutorial shows you how to take a studio-like portrait photo on your iPhone or iPad and edit it for use in ID card, job application, passport, and more.

Two iPhone mockups showing passport or id card photo

Step 1: Take the photo in front of a solid background

  1. Stand in front of a wall, a green screen, or preferably a single-color background like a plain curtain.
  2. Ensure the room or area is well-lit.
  3. Open the Camera app on your iPhone or iPad and ask someone to take a close-up photo of your face up to your chest (or as required). If no one is around, place your iPhone on a tripod and use the timer feature. Alternatively, you can remotely control your iPhone camera to take a picture. As a last resort, you may take a selfie.

Tip: Make sure to follow the required guidelines. For example, if you’re taking the photo for a US passport application, remove your glasses, keep your eyes open, and your mouth closed.

Step 2: Optional: Increase the photo brightness

Go to the Photos app and open the image. If the picture is not bright enough, tap Edit and use the brightness slider to adjust it. Hold yourself back from doing any other major adjustments.

Step 3: Extract your face from the photo

  1. Open the picture inside the Photos app.
  2. Touch and hold the main subject of the image (which is your face) until you see a white line run through it.
  3. Tap Copy. This will remove your face from the image background and copy it to your clipboard.
Extract your photo from background in iPhone Photos app

Step 4: Create the final image

1) Download and open a photo editing app like Studio on your iPhone or iPad.

2) Tap the plus button and select Transparent.

3) Select a size and tap the check mark.

You will have to figure out the exact guidelines based on your use case. For instance, US passports require a square photo (2 x 2 inches). So, select Square (1:1). If you’re planning to use it for something else, like an ID card, then Portrait (3:4) may be suitable.

Create new transparent project of the right size in Studio app on iPhone

4) Tap once on the empty canvas and choose Paste. This will paste the copied subject (your face) here.

Paste your face without background in Studio app on iPhone

5) Tap the transparent area behind the image and choose Edit.

6) Select Color and pick white, blue, or any other background as per the guidelines where you will be using this photo.

Edit background to white color in Studio app on iPhone

7) Now pinch in and out or slightly zoom the image to adjust it.

8) With all done, tap the export icon and hit Save. The final image is saved to the Photos app.

Export final passport or ID card image on iPhone

Step 5: Use it digitally or print it

Use digitally

The final image is ready to be used on websites, online forms, PDFs, etc.

One thing to remember is that many sites have precise image file size and dimensions requirements. For example, it may say the photo size should not exceed 120 KB, or the image should be 640 x 640 in size. If you come across such a requirement, we have dedicated guides to help:

Take a physical print

If you have to use this photo on a physical application, use a printer to get it printed on matte or glossy photo quality paper.

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Stock image: Jurica Koletić for Unsplash