Many companies are looking at the cost saving measures they can enjoy by printing their photo ID cards in-house, rather than contracting this service out. Whether you have dedicated personnel to create the photo ID cards, or many different staff who take the photos, here are some tips on how to take a great ID card photos.
Part of the problem you face when you are taking id card photos is that most people are uncomfortable having their photo taken. Then there’s lighting and clothing, and the list goes on – it’s enough to make you cringe at the idea of being the one to have to take the photos.
The first thing to remember is that photogenic only means the person does a great job of posing. People who are photogenic simply know what angles make them look their best. They know exactly how to smile, and they have the ability to relax so that they look natural. Even for those who hate having their photo taken and are sure they aren’t photogenic, these tips will have them thinking you’re an amazing photographer.
Lighting – Sunlight gives your photos the best possible light. Since most offices have limited sunlight, using full spectrum lights works great. Try to avoid fluorescent lighting, which has a tendency to wash out features. Bottom line; make sure you have enough lighting so that your photos don’t have shadows.
Relax the face – This is the most important tip of all. If the person you are going to photograph looks tense, it will show in the photo. It is generally easy to spot around the eyes and mouth (pursed lips), which is very unflattering. Sure we don’t expect photo ID cards to be flattering, but there’s no reason it can’t at least look good. Take a minute, exchange some small talk, and once you see the person begin to relax, then you can prepare to take the photo.
It’s all about angles – You don’t have to be a professional photographer to learn how to work with angles. Figure out which angle complements the person’s facial features the best. You might want to practice a bit. Find a couple of people who are willing to volunteer. Take several shots, and then analyze them so you can see which is the best. You should never take a person’s photo straight on, because for almost everyone this is unflattering. You should also make sure the person does not tip their head up, because this will add weight to their face. A slight tilt down is almost always flattering.
Makeup and hair – For women who wear makeup, lighting is very important. If the lighting is poor makeup should be heavier, but with good lighting natural looking makeup is best. Have hair worn in the style it is generally worn at work. Remember this is photo ID, so the ability to make the connection between the photo, and the actual person is very important.
Neutral colors – Colored clothing might look great on the family photo but it distracts from a person’s facial features. Since photo ID focuses on the face, neutral colors are best. If at all possible, have the staff wear black and white. If that’s not an option, then request soft colors. Avoid bright or harsh colors, and patterns, which will always take away from the face.
Close ups – One of the most common mistakes made by amateur photographers doing portrait work is to not zoom in close enough to the face. The same rule applies with taking pictures for photo ID. You need the facial image to be clear and defined to ensure it can do the job it was meant to do. So make sure your photos are close ups.
With the right photo printing equipment and software, a good digital camera, and a little bit of practice, you’ll be able to produce excellent photo ID cards for your staff. Today’s business has many more tools to help it run smoother and save money. The ability to print photo ID cards in-house makes good business sense.