Taking your license picture is one of those things that no one really enjoys.  The line is always too long and the other people there are usually not the most pleasant.  Finally, after your number is called you are hurried in and out while you pose under bright fluorescent lights for a picture that they usually take before you even know what hit you.  All of these factors can add up to a less than flattering picture that you’re stuck with for years.
Who wants to have a license picture where they are not looking their best?  To avoid a picture that looks more like a mug shot, follow these tips to make sure you are looking your best and ready for the camera.
  • Dress to impress!  Even though your license picture is only from the shoulders up, wearing an outfit you know you look good in will boost your confidence and give you an edge when you pose for the camera.  Try to wear either a bright or neutral shirt; pastels can give you a washed out effect, especially under fluorescent lights.
  • Don’t overdo your make up!  The fluorescent lighting is so bright and will lighten the appearance of your skin, so especially dark make up will appear even more dramatic.
  • Flash those pearly whites!  Personally, I have seen many licenses where people don’t even smile!  This is an especially important tip when it comes to avoiding the “mug shot” effect.  If you really want to be an overachiever, whiten your teeth in advance to brighten up your smile.  When it comes time for the picture, think of something happy that always makes you smile.  Ask the RMV worker to count to three, that way you will know exactly when the picture is being taken.  If you wait right until the count of three to smile, it will look more genuine and less forced.
  • When it comes to your hair, keep it natural, wear it the way you normally would so that you know it looks good.  Definitely don’t get a new haircut the day before you renew your license in case you are not totally satisfied with your new ‘do.
  • Avoid trendy looks.  You don’t want your past fashion faux pas sticking around to haunt you! Styles will come and go but this picture will be around for years! Stick with basic make up and a hair style that you could have at any age.  Don’t choose that day to test out your new lipstick or hair accessory that you just picked out.
  • Go out of your way to be nice to the RMV staff!  They are the ones taking your picture so if you get on their good side by asking how their day is it will go a long way.  They might also take the extra time to give you a second shot if you don’t like your original picture!
  • When it comes time to pose, remember to smile and lift up your chin.  A head-on picture is not the best angle of everyone so keep your face forward and try to turn your shoulders a bit to make them look less broad.

Follow these tips and your license picture will come out better than ever!  It can be a challenge capturing the perfect picture at the RMV, but these suggestions will set you on your way to a picture that you won’t be embarrassed to show every time you’re asked for your ID.

Photo By: OregonDOT