If you’ve been reading my Tweets, you might have read my moaning about having to renew my passport, which means having to take a new photo ID for the new passport.
If you have a decent enough camera you can actually take your own passport photos – this way, you can be sure you look human, decent and not like a fugitive (unlike mine, made more so by pixelation :P) but you can also run the risk of your photo being rejected by the immigration department for not fulfiling certain criteria. I had mine taken at a photo shop – it was rejected because the photo shop did not tell me my hair was covering half my forehead. Actually I pointed it out to the man but he said it would pass muster – it didn’t.
Tips for taking passport photos
To help you (and since the wounds are fresh) here are my tips for taking a passport photo for Malaysian citizens:-
- Make sure both your ears can be seen in the photo. Tuck your hair behind your ears.
- Make sure your hair does not cover your eyebrows or too much of your forehead – they want to see your whole face – easier to identify a fugitive 😛
- Do not smile widely – they prefer if you don’t smile at all or if you do, just slightly. My guess is you aren’t always smiling when you reach the immigration counter at your destination 😛
- Look straight at the camera – no cute kawaii camwhore shots please.
- Wear a shirt, blouse or T-shirt with a collar so you look dressed in the photo but don’t hide your neck with a mandarin collar.
If you are female and don’t want to look too washed out in your passport or ID photos, do put on a little makeup. However, don’t go slapping on thick layers of makeup. Its a passport photo or photo ID, not your wedding pictures. Keep it light and natural.
Light makeup in photos so you don’t look washed out
- If you have dark circles, use a concealer.
- Use foundation or powder to even out skin tone.
- Line your eyes – it helps them look more prominent. Eye makeup is optional.
- Draw in your brows – it frames your face.
- Use a light matte blush to add some warmth to your skin. ID photos can make you look pale due to the flash.
- Use a lipstick that is a shade darker than your natural lip colour. ID photos tend to wash you out, so having a lip colour that’s a little brighter will make you look better in the photo.
Some other tips can be found in a previous post.
My personal advise is to use the photo studios at the Immigration Department. There are usually a few and the people there know exactly how to take the photo for your different requirements (e.g. passport, visa etc) and they know exactly how you should look. It isn’t as pricey too. I paid RM15/4 photos at an external photo shop. When I retook my photos at a random photo studio at the Immigration department, I paid RM12/4 photos (and I looked better – my hair looked a little lopsided but I looked better overall 😛 )
The early bird catches the worm
If you are Malaysian looking to renew your passport at the Immigration Department, you can do it at the self-service machines (only up till 55 years old – above 55 years you have to get it done manually).
At the Immigration Department at Pusat Bandar Damansara, its in Block I on the ground floor and its called KiPPAS. No idea why the corny acronym which means “fan” in Malay. Incidentally, the air conditioning wasn’t working and there was no “kipas” in sight 😛
Go early. I was there at about 8+am and there was about 5 people per machine. I went back at 11am and there were more than 20 people in the queue in the hot sun. If you are reading up till here, you probably want to know how to go about renewing your Malaysian passport (or are really bored with your day) so here goes.