You may only need to renew a passport once every ten years, but when renewal is required or indeed your first passport, you have that dreaded ‘Passport Photo’ to contend with.
It is pretty fair to say that photography and photo technology moves on at a fair pace and in ten years things change quite a bit. A recent article by Amateur Photographer Magazine even tells you have to take and make perfect your own Passport Photos. While this does make things a little easier, you still have to make sure you get the right size, make sure the background is neutral, and get a decent print. There are still stringent rules if going down this route. See Passport Photo Rules
With an upcoming trip to make and an expired passport, it was time to make my own renewal application. Once on the Gov website I started the process and noticed a link to an online service that allowed the uploading of digital photographs which you can take yourself and even use a mobile phone to take the image. There was certain criteria attached, i.e. You should be recognisable form your previous photo, and you passport had to have expired after 2012, which meant it would have had the digital signature on previously and chipped.
I got the image taken on a mobile and followed the upload procedure, the system advises no cropping or alteration of the image. They gov system run some checks on the image and came back with the image cropped correctly. (The first image failed as too dark).
On completing the rest of the form, I was instructed it would take up to three weeks and I should send back my old passport to the address given.
I was kept up to date through the process with email and sms updates, and just 7 days later received my new passport. No photo booths involved, no photoshop and printing involved. What can I say a fantastic service and a great move forward.
One thing that has not changed and that it passport photos still seem to be the most hideous ever.