Picture Guide

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This may seem like a lot to read, but you are spending good money, and you want a high quality ID. We have spent countless hours perfecting our craft. The final quality of the ID is completely and totally determined by you, based on the type of picture you submit. Please read everything.

One of the most important aspects of an ID is the picture. Ironically, this is the main thing you have control over. The highest quality ID can be made completely worthless by a poorly produced picture. Only so much can be done in a reasonable amount of time in Photoshop.

Consider what a bouncer is doing when he looks at an ID. His number one concern is simple. “Is the person pictured on the ID the same person who just handed me the ID?” It is much more likely that someone will be using an ID that isn’t theirs than using a high quality fake.

Most bouncers are under the assumption that they will quickly identify a fake if one is handed to them, so their main focus is on the picture. They are checking the distance between your eyes, nose, and mouth. The size and shape of your ears, cheek bones, and nose, all to compare to your face. The consequence of this is that they are focused intensely on the picture. The importance of a good quality picture cannot be stressed enough.

Do not worry about the picture being “too good” as we are fully aware that ID pictures don’t end up looking as nice as a picture from your camera does when printed. We intentionally degrade the overall resolution and quality of the pictures to closely match what would be produced by the DMV.

Do not edit your picture in any way. We remove remove red eye, adjust brightness, contrast, saturation, and much more. Editing the picture yourself only complicates our process.


Let’s go over the basics:

  • No shadows on your face

Your face should be well lit, and evenly lit. You do not want half of your face being darker than the other half. This is not a situation that can happen in a DMV due to distance and lighting. Bouncers will often pocket an ID as soon as they see this scenario, as it is an obvious sign of a fake, regardless of how good the fake is.


  • No selfies

A selfie usually produces a picture of you looking down. It is obvious to anyone looking at a picture like this that the person is looking down. You cannot look down in a DMV picture due to the height of the camera. It is also a fact that smartphones use a higher quality camera on the back of the phone than on the front.


  • Use a background color that is different from your hair, skin, and shirt

Removing the background from your picture is generally very easy to do. The problems come when you have a background color that is close to the color of your hair, skin, or shirt. This makes it difficult to separate the two perfectly, leaving residual colors around your head that shouldn’t be there. Generally, using a flat white background with a dark shirt is best. This is especially important when dealing with a head full of hair.


  • Keep your hair short on top

If you have your hair up really high, we have to make your overall picture much smaller. This is because the DMV has a maximum height that they use on the ID. If you style your hair to stand more than 3″ on top of your head, do whatever you need to to do to lay it flat for this picture. Having 6″+ of hair on top of your head makes it difficult to process your picture and results in having a much smaller face on your ID.


  • Do not smile

Many states do not allow you to smile for facial recognition purposes. Even if the state you are buying does allow you to smile, it is best not to. Bouncers in states that do not allow smiling might make a mistake and assume you can’t smile anywhere, leading to them assuming the ID is fake. Also, studies have shown that smiling makes you appear younger. A newer Canada-Israel study showed the opposite, but only in regards to a 1-2 year difference and generally from middle aged people. This is due to more wrinkles appearing when you smile, making you look older. When you are 18, 19, or 20 years old, this does not come into play as much, and smiling only makes you look like life hasn’t had the chance to suck the joy out of you yet. Bland, neutral expressions are best.


  • Distance from the camera

The person taking the picture should stand 3′-5′ away from you. This is about 1 full step. Stand about a 1′-2′ from the wall. You shouldn’t take up more than a third of the picture. The picture should be taken from eye level, or just slightly above eye level.


  • Camera orientation

Have the person taking the picture hold the camera sideways/landscape mode. This allows for more room for the designers working in Photoshop to do their job. It is not necessary to be up close or to take up a large portion of the image. Using the camera in portrait mode is fine, as long as you leave some room around the head for them to work with.


  • Camera flash and lighting

You should not be using a flash on the camera. This can cause face shadows. Overhead lighting can cause face shadows. It is best to have a lamp behind the person taking the picture pointed towards your face.


  • Type of picture

You can upload the picture to the form directly from your phone. If you save the image to a computer first, make sure it is a .jpg or .jpeg picture. If you copy a picture from your iPhone drive directly to your computer, odds are it is in a format that cannot be used.


Do not use a picture or a scan of a picture. Do not go get a passport picture taken and then send a picture or scan of that. Do not take a picture of your ID picture and send that. These are all poor options and should not be considered.


  • No shadows on face
  • No shadows by head
  • No objects in picture
  • No selfies
  • No smiling
  • No overhead lighting
  • No windows nearby
  • No objects in picture
  • No textured walls
  • No editing of your picture
  • No glare on glasses

  • Use forward facing lighting
  • Have a friend take the picture for you
  • Look at the camera lens
  • Take picture at eye level
  • Take picture from at least chest up

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