6 Tips for Taking a Passport Photo That's Glam AF (Because Your Driver’s License Won't Fly in 2018)

Federal ID rules are changing next year, so say cheese.

If your passport is about to expire, now’s a really good time to apply for a new one. First of all, processing times are shortest between September and December, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Secondly, and more importantly, the Real ID Act will go into effect on January 22, 2018. It requires driver’s licenses to meet certain security standards to be considered a valid form of federal ID a.k.a. something that can be used at airport security checkpoints. Currently, a little more than half of the U.S. is compliant with the security standards. If you live in one of these states, your license is A-OK. The rest are currently under review or have been given an extension.

But since being denied by TSA is never a good time, a valid passport is your safest bet. It takes about four to six weeks to get a passport request processed, so to help with your filing — and filing in style — we’ve rounded up tips for the most crucial part: the perfect passport photo! After all, it’s a photo you need to be cool with for 10 years and Homeland Security doesn’t accept selfie filters.

1.  Don’t go trendy.

Pro Beauty Tools celebrity stylist Johnny Lavoy recommends keeping your hairstyle simple and clean, so save the Smurf-blue locks for another time. “You have to remember that this photo will last 10 years so don’t do anything that is super trendy right now that you might regret down the road. Remember that old yearbook photo?” Glamsquad’s creative director Giovanni Vaccaro adds that, with a simple style, you need to pay closer attention to your part. If your face is more symmetrical, a center part tends to be the best.

2.  Stick to less Is more.

To conceal any uneven or shadowy areas on your face, like under the eyes, around the nose, and chin, makeup artist and creator of Prestidge Beaute Active Organics Shawnelle Prestidge suggests using just a dab of a full-coverage cream foundation. Then, add a bit of colorless powder to your forehead, nose, and chin areas to manage shine, while allowing the rest of your skin to glow. Finally, apply a soft cream or powder blush in pinky-peach shades; they’re always flattering and timeless, she says.

3.  Wow with your brows.

“When you can't play up your eyes with smoke or shadow or your lips with color or shine, focus on the brows, lashes, and skin,” says Glamsquad’s director of artistry Kelli J. Bartlett. She recommends curling your lashes, then opting for a very clean, lush lash with a mascara like Lancôme Definicils. On your eyebrows, apply several coats of a clear brow gel to beef up the texture and fill in sparse spots with your go-to brow pencil. (F.Y.I., you’re not allowed to wear glasses in your photo. So some good brows can help frame your face sans specs.) Prestidge also suggests rimming the lower waterline of your eyes with a soft taupe pencil or shadow. It “brings a pop and twinkle that is soft and natural, but very impactful.” Or take a passport photo lesson from Prince, who knew the power of some good eye makeup.

4.  Say cheese... sorta.

You’re not supposed to wear a toothy grin in your passport photo, but you can sport a “natural” smile, according to government guidelines. A neutral facial expression is best, though, since it’s easier for facial scans to recognize your mug if all your features are in the right place. Pro tip: Thrust your chin forward an inch or so to make your jawline look fierce.

Oh, and be warned: Even if you do all of this, and your photo is on point, a state department printing fail can still make you look like this... so good luck!

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