Baby Passport Photo Hell

A very busy week has just passed and the biggest highlight of my week was the decision to go overseas with my wife and Jayden for a close friend’s wedding.

We were originally not going to travel because the thought of travelling with a newborn was an experience we were not totally enthusiastic about. We’ve all been on a plane when a baby won’t stop crying and as a result you just can’t get to sleep or enjoy your novel or in-flight flick. I guess I didn’t want to be the parent of “that” baby. Then there’s the additional luggage which will be needed to be packed, like a stroller, a BabyBjorn, diapers, wraps, bottles, the list goes on… and on… and on…

I’ve come to a conclusion that these were all just excuses. Stuff we made up to help put us at ease with our decision not to go. Baby aside though for a moment, we really wanted to go to our friend’s wedding. It’s such a special time for them and I know if we didn’t have a baby that we would be there in a heartbeat. Jayden is no ordinary baby though (I know we all have unique babies), I think we have been very lucky in the fact that he has been quite well behaved (much better than we anticipated and expected). He doesn’t cry too much, he has a great routine, he doesn’t mind being held by different people, he can entertain himself if he wakes early from sleep and he is self-settling quite well. All-in-all, as new parents we don’t have too much to be complaining about. From the bottom of my heart, thank you Jayden. You are an angel!

So because of the above, we changed our minds and went about organising the trip! We’ve booked our flights (we’re actually flying out on our wedding anniversary so fingers crossed we get the business class upgrade we requested using frequent flyer points for some extra pampering), organised accommodation and last but certainly not least, we’ve completed an application for Jayden’s first Australian Passport! What an adventure this was!

I don’t know about everywhere else in the world, but in Australia it’s a long and complicated process to get a child passport let alone an adult one.

The photograph of your baby needs to fulfil a strict set of Australian Government requirements set out as follows:

Children and babies

  • show the baby or child awake, looking straight at the camera with mouth closed and no pacifier.
  • show both edges of the face clearly (no toys, blankets, chair backs or other people visible) and no hair across the eyes.
This photo below is the Australian Government trying to be helpful… I just laughed! HA!
Child Passport Photo Requirements

Easier said than done!

I must have taken over 20 shots before I finally got one which adhered to the perfect requirement of a zombie-state-like baby photo.

Now just for some added fun, I’ve actually put together some photos of Jayden which fall into the no-no categories. It’s sort of his first foray into the controversial world of baby modelling. Oh and I also noticed that the actual perfect passport worthy shot of him makes him look extra fat and bulky… weird hey? No cuteness whatsoever.

passport photo requirements Jayden

Jayden proving he can bring on the Blue Steel look if need be

There are plenty more hilarious examples here (along with the rest of the requirements):

These have to be some of my favourites though…

passport photo glasses requirements

I honestly think they could have found a better model Australian Citizen for this rather than this super creepy looking old man who looks like he wants to take my little Jayden away from me!

passport photo tilt requirements

This guy just needs an eye patch and he'll be ready for Pirates of the Caribbean Part 6 (or whatever they are up to now)

passport photo head requirements

I think the government is basically trying to say that you shouldn't try and hide your square head

In summary, when it comes time for you to organise a photo of your baby for a passport photo, just remember to have patience, do it after a feed if you can and lie him down on some white linen and shoot from above with lots of natural light and ensuring you don’t cast a shadow. Twenty-something shots later, you’ll have the perfect zero-cuteness baby photo ideal for their first passport!

Jayden Passport small

He'll have to live with this as his official photo for the next 5 years! hehe

Is Australia the only country who is this pedantic? What about in the USA or in Europe? How did you find applying for your little one’s first passport?

I’d love to hear about it!
debut dad



28 thoughts on “Baby Passport Photo Hell

  1. Lol he came out super cute! I did C’s passport when she was 5 weeks old and suffering from eczema due to the heat-wave going on in Malta at the time. My mum was trying to hold her head upright and the photographer took about 5 rounds of pictures before we had a ‘good’ one. Mind you, my mum’s hand showed holding C’s head, but at least it got through the Passport Department. She is totally unrecognizable, but at least she gets to have a new one when she’s 2 years old.

  2. We did ours this week as well – my mother thinks it’s the spitting image of what she’ll look like when she’s fourty – I’m not doing it again, it was enough of a challenge the first time!! How are they supposed to know it’s the same child in a few weeks, let alone a few years? makes more sense to have it for a couple of years, or one year even when they are this age!

    • oh what a coinky-dinky!
      I totally had the same conversation about how they won’t even recognise them at immigration when they are 3 or 4 and they are looking at a passport photo of a baby… bloody strange!

    • Hey Nate. Thanks for the comment and your well wishes. Flight should be around 10 hours. Loving your travelling posts as well btw! You’ll have so much to share with your little one about your truly amazing adventure with the pandas!

  3. Good luck with the traveling! I hope it goes really well for you. We too have these thoughts about traveling with a young baby and being “those people” on the flight. I personally get frustrated when a baby cries an entire flight so we are really hesistant to start planning travels. I will be really interested to see how this goes for you.

    • Thank you! Fingers crossed everything is peaceful on the flight. I pray he sleeps well and doesn’t get too fidgety. I’ll certainly let you know (probably via an interesting blog post) about the 10 hours on an A380 Jumbo!
      But don’t let my experience sway you… I say go ahead and travel! live life! explore!

  4. Great post! Totally reminds me of when we tried to get Miss M’s passport done, but ours consisted of her laying down in the middle of the post office on a white cloth whilst the photographer loomed over her trying to get the picture right. Took a fair few goes, but luckily she tolerated it! 🙂

    • Thanks! Sounds like how I had to do it 😛 except instead of the floor of the post office, it was on our bed. I’m glad Jayden had a little bit of patience too!

  5. Hi there ! “Long time no see”. I never see you appear when I click on Read Blogs for some reason…so I have to actively go visit your site if I want to hear from you.
    Anyways, great pictures ! He’s changed so much already.

    We did Sixtine’s passport pictures when she was two months of age and it was quite a pain in the ***. The guy who was going to take the pictures wanted her to wear a red adult-sized shirt to hide my husband’s hand. I was like: ermm…NO !
    She is not going to look ridiculous for the next three years (as opposed to 5 in Australia). So he did what he could ! The picture is really terrible (and it is not like Sissi isn’t photogenic) but it took a long time and she became tired after a little while.Luckily, she doesn’t know that. 🙂

    Where is your friends’ wedding?

    • Really? You must subscribe and “Like” my new facebook page then ( hehe – shameless cross promotion! haha.
      Thanks… he is growing up quickly isn’t he? I’m sure all babies have accelerated growth spurts… you just can’t afford to blink!
      Wear an adult-sized shirt? how weird… 3 years isn’t so bad… at least at 3 yrs of age she will be able to hold her own head up and hopefully sit still for a really nice photo 🙂
      Wedding will be in Hong Kong, so it’s about a 10 hour flight from Sydney.

  6. Ha I love all the examples! Jayden still looks cute and he’s going to look completely different the next 5 years so doesn’t make sense to use the same photo!

  7. good luck with the travelling!! I had to do this when Boy Blue was 6 months old.. it was just ridiculous, he had to be looking straight no mouth opened.. what the? so stupid.. hes six now and its still a valid passport which is even more ridiculous!

  8. Our oldest had to get a passport here in the states when he was about 1 year old. The rules were pretty easy they gave us dimentions and told us it had to be on a white back ground. This was easy enough; we actually just had it handled at Kinko’s in 10 minutes. The annoying part is now. We don’t have to renue the passport until 2013 and this is good considering we are heading to China this year. Unfortunatly, baby pictures don’t work so well when the child is not 4 so we have to renue it early.

  9. We did Antonia’s when she was 2 weeks old because we have to fly back to Pohnpei Micronesia when she was 5 weeks old. We went to the photo store but we did wrong strategy by feeding her first so she was sleeping and we had to wake her up so the lady can take her photo lol.

    Flying with a newborn is a challenge, our flight was Canberra-Brisbane, Brisbane-Cairns, Cairs-Guam (stranded for 10 days in Guam due to husband appendicitis) and Guam-Chuuk-Pohnpei. From Canberra until Guam was fine, she slept thru in the plane but from Guam to Pohnpei she was a bit unsettled. I guess long haul flight is much better than short and up and down because you have to make sure that bub is sucking on take off and landing which sometimes quite tricky when they are sleeping. Good luck!

    • Wow… I think you win… That’s a lot of legs! I’m sure you did okay in the end. There’s only 2 weeks till we fly. I’m starting to get a little nervous… Hopefully our routine helps him settle on the plane 🙂 Fingers crossed!

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