Ah yes, the photo ID. Be it a drivers licence, a fruit of the month membership card, or your jailhouse booking photo; they all suck.
I recently attended my college orientation. This of course involves having an ID badge made. When I walked over to the chair to get the shot. I noticed something. They were shooting not with the usual no name camera, but with a Canon rebel T2i. This shot was bound to be better! I was wrong.
This begs the question. Why exactly do ID photos look so bad? The reasons are many. I personally blame the “photographer” for a lot of it. But that is too easy.
The idea of an ID photo is to take a shot that makes it easy to identify a person. This means capturing all of the little details on a person. To do this, they remove anything on a person that can block an identification. This includes hair, glasses, and any clothing.
That hair that drapes across your face does look incredibly hot, but remember it gets to be swept to the side for your picture. Your hat must also be removed. For men, get a hair cut. For women, do something to keep the hair out of the face while looking good. This will prevent that awkward side sweep. Also important is to not wear a hat before the picture. Nobody likes hat hair.
Now they do use flash. They also use the flash wrong. The point is to light the face entirely, revealing everything. Any blemish will be revealed so prepare accordingly.
Make sure not to wear anything reflective. High gloss makeup is going to look odd. If you can plan far enough ahead, being just a little bit tan may help. Don’t overdo it though. Being white will reflect light back into the sensor over blowing the shot, while being too tan will give an orange appearance.
While you will never be able to get a truly nice shot, doing these things will help to make it just a bit nicer.