Set up for Success
We believe that preparation is key in getting crisp and clear ID photos. Here’s just four aspects for you to consider as you set up your ID photo photo-shoot:
Many companies prefer the non distracting look of a white background. This is done best by hanging ironed cloth like a sheet, or uncreased paper board in a solid strip behind the subject’s head and shoulders. In this example, we used an old pop-up banner advert. It was heavy enough to not crease, and completely white. It’s great to use what you have.
Note about white backgrounds: It is important to not piece together A4 sheets of paper. Remember the creases, tears, tape reflections etc will all be visible and may not result in the desired seamless effect.
If you prefer to not use a solid white background, a neutral coloured wall is also a decent alternative. Keep in mind that any light switches, textures or paint chips may be visible in the printed photo. The paint colour will also become the background of your photo and cannot be changed in the printing process.
Indirect lighting is ideal for taking clear photos. Indirect lighting (in our example, the light is pouring in from the side) will eliminate harsh shadows and prevent your subject from squinting.
For the best lighting possible, try to capture the ID photos in the morning before the sun casts sharp shadows. If this is not possible, using a semi-shaded location, like here in our example, under an overhang, can prevent shadows across your subject’s face. You can also capture photos inside your office, preferably next to a large window with the shades completely open. Ideally, you want a completely illuminated face, without any dark shadows or bright reflections.
If you choose to use your camera’s flash, take care to ensure that each face is well lit, and does not have any dark shadows or that the flash does not reflect off their forehead or nose.
Use a Chair for your subject
Make your life easier by eliminating as many variables as possible. By asking everyone to sit, you are able to get a good eye-level picture of the subject’s face, no matter if they are taller or shorter than you are. The chair will also ensure that each subject is perfectly centered in your background.
We used a simple wooden chair that would be hidden by the subject’s shoulders. If you use a large chair that is not hidden by the subject’s body, you may have bits of the chair peeking through your photo.
Set up a Tripod for your camera
The purpose of a tripod is to hold your camera steady and in the same position. This is very helpful for a couple of reasons.
In low light, like in an office, you simply cannot avoid the slight shake of your hands so using a tripod helps reduce the blur from shaky hands. A tripod also ensures the positioning of the camera in relation to the subject. As different subjects come and go, you can leave the camera as is, and just snap off images. This is very helpful when you get to cropping your photos as you will have virtually the same layout for each person.
If you don’t have a tripod, don’t worry! You can either use a piece of tape on the floor to mark where you should stand to take the photo, or even rest the camera on a table, stool, wall or other sturdy place.
With just a few minutes of forethought and pre-planning, you can save yourself tons of effort when you are ready to start snapping your ID photos. Go ahead, and pursue the other parts of this series for more help managing your ID photos.
This post is part 2 of a 4 part post about managing your identification photos. Here’s some tips to ensure your ID cards are the most professional ones yet.
Did you find this series helpful? Please let us know!