Getting your driver’s license is a right of passage, but it also comes with one dreaded task: taking your driver’s license picture. These pictures are notorious for being terrible, probably due to a combination of bad lighting, an unflattering forward-facing pose and having only a split second to prepare for the picture. If you’re a supermodel or otherwise amazingly photogenic, you probably don’t have anything to worry about. However, if you’re like the rest of us, there is a good chance that if you don’t prepare properly, you’ll end up a less-than-flattering picture.
1. Look Awesome
The first and most obvious step toward taking a perfect picture is to look your best. Wear your favorite color, put on your favorite accessories and be ready to shine. If you’re a woman who wears makeup, consider putting on a slightly darker shade of lipstick and eyeliner, as the lighting will probably make you look a bit pale.
2. Feel Awesome
When you feel happy, you generally look more attractive. The DMV is known for being a place of long lines and stressed-out people, and it’s important to not allow that energy to affect your mood as you wait to take your picture. The happier you feel, the more your personality will shine through and the greater the chances your picture will turn out good.
3. Prepare Your Face
One of the biggest reasons that people take bad driver’s license pictures is the lack of time to prepare. Unless you end up with a particularly fun DMV agent, you will likely not be told to “smile” or given any real indications that the photo is about to be taken. The only way to avoid being snapped when you aren’t ready is to prepare your face before you get in front of the camera. You might look a bit strange, but it will be worth it when your picture turns out wonderful.
4. Consider a Serene Smile
Big, cheesy grins are cute, but they can end up looking odd if photographed at the wrong moment. It’s better to go with a soft, serene smile. You want to look happy and calm, not like you just won the lottery. Practice your smile in front of the bathroom mirror before you leave to take your picture. Get used to the way your face feels when you have it in a position that you like.
5. Ask for a Do Over
Many people don’t realize that this is possible, but you can ask your DMV agent to show you the picture, and if you don’t like it, you can request that another shot be taken. They will not let you sit there taking picture after picture, but most agents will be understanding enough to give you one do over.
6. Practice Acceptance
If you prepared your very best, worked on your smile, asked for a do over and your picture still didn’t turn out the way you like, it might be time to practice a bit of acceptance. Remember that most people aren’t too fond of their driver’s license picture, and it probably looks better to your friends than it does to you. If nothing else, you will get another shot when it comes time to renew your license. Until then, don’t take it too seriously. The ability to laugh at yourself is a wonderful thing.