Top 5 Worst DMV Photos

When you are getting a driver’s license or identification card, you are required to take a photo at your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Going to the DMV office can be a long and tedious process. For some, having to take a photograph adds to the pressure. The photo identification is only changed every few years. As such, applicants want to ensure they look their best for the photo. There are a few key factors can influence how your photo will turn out: your hair, outfit and your pose. If one is not up to par, it can affect the entire photo because ID photos are typically close-up shots.

#1 Too Much Makeup

When preparing to take the photo ID, many applicants go overboard in trying to create highlight their best features, especially in the makeup department. While it is a good idea to apply makeup to hide blemishes, applying too much of it can have adverse effects. When you are taking a photo for a driver’s license picture, the DMV representative will have you stand in front of a backdrop and use a flash to take the image.

When you have on too much makeup, the flash from the camera might highlight some of these areas and make for a photo with light and dark areas.

With this in mind, it’s best to keep your makeup simple with the following tools:

  • Concealer
  • Light foundation
  • Lip gloss or lipstick
  • Mascara

By keeping your makeup for your driver’s license photo light, you ensure that you have a natural look while also hiding any unwanted blemishes. Makeup can also be great to hide dark circles if you did not get enough sleep the night before. The key to applying makeup for an ID card photo is keeping it simple and natural.

#2 No Smile

Depending on the state, you may be asked to refrain from smiling in your DMV photo ID. This is to make it easier for facial recognition software to register and sift through images. As such, it’s important to find out what your state’s regulations are ahead of time so that you can prepare.

However, if you are allowed to smile, you are encouraged to do so with moderation. Having a smile that is too big can appear unnatural and awkward. At the same token, when you do not smile at all, your face may appear severe. To achieve the perfect photo identification, follow these steps:

  • Practice at home in the mirror
  • Choose a smile that feels natural and comfortable, as that will produce the best results
  • Do facial exercises to relax your facial muscles
  • Think of a happy memory. This will help you relax and in turn, have a genuine smile.
  • With these simple steps, smiling in your driver’s license photo will be an easy task.

#3 Wrong Outfit Choice

The DMV office typically takes up-close shots of residents for their license or ID card photos. While it varies by office, the image will typically feature the applicant’s face and shoulders up to the top of the torso. As such, it’s important to select a top that will complement your face and complexion. As a general rule of thumb, you should avoid wearing a white top in your photo as it will reflect harshly due to the flash and the backdrop used. On the other hand, wearing black may be too harsh of contrast for an ID card photo. When it comes to a driver’s license picture, follow these tips:

  • Solid colors look best in ID photos
  • Wear soft colors and pastels as they will stand out without being too aggressive.
  • Avoid colors like white or nudes.
  • Patterns and logos can distract the viewer and should be avoided.

In addition, avoid wearing strapless or low-cut tops for the image, as it may not create the best effect for the photo identification.

#4 Messy Hair

In your ID card photo, all the features of your face should be clearly visible. When your hair is messy, it can hang over certain areas of your face and become an issue for identification purposes. In addition, having messy hair in a photo may greatly affect the quality of the image. As such, photo subjects are encouraged to keep their hair neat and done for photo taking. When it comes to style, you it’s recommended that you wear it in a style that you would normally wear it. This will make it easy to style and also make it easier for others to identify you. If you plan to change your hair color or style, consider wearing your hair up so that your face stands out the most from the photo ID.

#5 Bad Angle/Awkward Facial Expression

Another thing to avoid while taking your photo at the DMV office is awkward angles. This can happen if your face is titled too far forward or backward. This can also happen if you turn your head too much to the side and darken an area of your face. When taking your driver’s license picture, you should:

  • Keep your hair facing forward.
  • Tilt your head slightly forward but not sideways.
  • Look directly at the camera.
  • Remove hats or head covering, unless they are on for a religious or medical reason.

To achieve the perfect pose for your driver’s license, practice at home in the mirror. This will give you a good idea of to expect at the DMV office and allow you to see what works and what doesn’t. You should also wear the outfit you plan to wear the day of your photo and take practice shots to test out the look.