Tuesday, June 25, 2019

American Passport Photos Are the Worst

If the planet had a ranking system for which country had the best passport photos, the US Passports would rank dead last. WHY?

Because their standards are just deplorable. I don't know "why" that is, it's just a fact. If it weren't so easy to get bad passport photos to pass the US Passport officials in America, then drug stores and auto clubs likely wouldn't be doing them. Why is it those places don't do foreign passports? Because they wouldn't pass the discerning eye of passport officials in foreign consulates, that's why.

Although the US Passport office has written and published "standards," they almost NEVER reject images that don't meet those standards. Poor lighting? Who cares. Out of focus? No big deal. Color balance out of whack? So? Head size incorrect? No. One. Cares. Certainly not the US Consulate.

So, allow me (someone whose job it is to successfully meet the passport photo standards of consulate officials all over the planet) to rank the top five BEST passport photos on Earth...


  1. Australia - they have the highest print resolution on the planet and provide an opaque overlay to confirm the correct head size. Newsome's Studio is one of only a dozen photographers statewide, approved by the Australian consulate to create an Aussie passport photo.
  2. Canada - the largest passport photo on the planet (50x70mm) and their head size, lighting, and expression are closely scrutinized by the Canadian Consulate. NO SMILING!
  3. Jamaica - they're the only country that requires a matte finish and they have three background options based on skin tone and hair color. They might've been smoking something when they wrote those specs, but they'll darn sure reject the images if those specs aren't followed to the letter.
  4. China - at 33x48mm for the outer dimension size, they have the oddest sized passport photo on the planet. In addition, one is required to wear dark clothing with a conservative neckline. Quite often, I loan these clients a black high school graduation gown to meet that standard. 
  5. Greece - another unusual size (40x50mm), and their consulate will inspect it closely to see that it matches and the quality must be superb. Fortunately, I've visited with the Greek consulate in downtown Tampa and they're very happy with the images taken at Newsome's Studio.

Out of the 195 countries on the planet Earth, I'm confident that the US consulate's standard of quality for passport photos would place America at #195. So, "Yay America!"

All of this doesn't mean that your US Passport Photo HAS to be horrible, just that it CAN be. If you'd rather have a GREAT passport photo, call Newsome's Studio of Photography at 813-968-2810 and we promise to apply Aussie-like quality standards to your face and make custom agents around the world raise an eyebrow of approval at every border.

Newsome's Studio is located at 10012 N. Dale Mabry Hwy, Suite 219, Tampa, FL.




Monday, June 3, 2019

Jamaican Passport Photos

Jamaican Passport photos have a fairly new requirement.... matte finish paper. Most of the rest of the planet requests glossy, and at one time, so did Jamaica. This changed and we found out the hard way when one of our photos was rejected due to the glossy finish.

Most sources for the paper we use for passports only carry glossy, so we went on a global search for the perfect photo paper with a matte finish that could be paired successfully with our printers. WE FOUND ONE!

If you're in need of a Jamaican Passport photo with a matte finish, you've come to the right place. Newsome's Studio of Photography, located at 10012 N. Dale Mabry Hwy, Suite 219, Tampa can do that for you.

Please call 813-968-2810 for a convenient 10 minute appointment!

Chinese Visa

We recently found ourselves with an increase in Chinese Visa requests. Turns out, a nearby high school was planning a summer field trip China and all the students needed a set of Chinese Visa photos.

Being the only source in town for photos that can be measured in millimeters, Newsome's Studio was tapped to create the 33x48mm images for all their students and parent chaperones.

Newsome's Studio of Photography is located at 10012 N. Dale Mabry Hwy, Suite 219, Tampa (Cypress Point Office Park) in Carrollwood.

Call for an appointment at 813-968-2810 and get your Chinese Visa photos in less than 10 minutes.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Conceal Carry Permit Photos

Yes, we also provide the images needed to apply for a Weapons Permit, aka Conceal/Carry Permit. If you're a new or recent gun owner and are in need of a permit (IMO, every gun owner should apply for this, regardless of the type of gun they own), you're going to need to provide a passport styled photograph.

The specs are nearly identical to that of a US Passport and Newsome's Studio can provide that for you in less than 10 minutes.

Give us a call for your passport-style image and in just a few minutes, you'll walk out with your images.

Newsome's Studio of Photography... by appointment only... 813-968-2810

Monday, April 22, 2019

Digital Passport Photos

As the world turns...

More and more countries are beginning to allow and/or request that your passport, visa, permanent residency, or immigration photos be uploaded to their websites, either in addition to prints, or in lieu of them.

This is going to require an additional step far beyond what drugstores and auto clubs can and will provide. It will require the services of a professional photographer who knows their way around Photoshop and digital imaging so your image can be immediately emailed to you, already sized to that country's specifications.

Often referred to as a "soft copy," Newsome's Studio of Photography can provide your digital image immediately, while you wait.

Call Newsome's Studio at 813-968-2810 to schedule your appointment.

Located at 10012 N. Dale Mabry Hwy, Suite 219, Tampa, FL 33618.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Passport Photos of Yesteryear

Some time back, I was going through my mother's things (she died in 2016) and came across her old passports. It was great to see all the places she'd been in her lifetime. The earliest trip I found was a trip to France in 1959. I was four years old but I still remember her and my dad walking across the tarmac to board the large twin prop plane while my grandmother encouraged me to wave goodbye.

Several things struck me while looking at her passport photo from that year. It was black and white, of course, but it appeared to simply be a 3/4 length snapshot of her sitting at a dining table - a totally casual image with a big broad smile on her face. I suppose in the 50's, the US passport office had ZERO parameters on what your image looked like.

Fast forward 60 years and only a minor amount of oversight on US passport photos has occurred. They now give you specs, such as 2x2", color, head size of 1" to 1 1/8", white background, but when you see what is being sold and delivered as acceptable passport photos by drug stores, you have to scratch your head and wonder if the US passport office actually ACCEPTS that level of "quality."

Seriously, I've had clients come to my studio, having just purchased their passport photos from a drug store and they're holding blurry, underexposed, orange faces on a pink background, with a 3/4" head size. On more than one occasion, the clients have told me they were shot with the store clerk's cell phone because their camera wasn't working. WHAAAAAT????

Folks, drug stores don't sell passport photos, they GIVE them away.... well, you pay for them, but they sell them so cheaply, they purposely take a loss on them. It's known as a "loss-leader." They sell them at a loss to get you in the door on the assumption that you'll buy toothpaste, eyeliner, and hairspray while you're there.

The photo dept clerks are very nice and knowledgeable about printing, but they're not professional photographers and do not possess any professional photography equipment. They often only use a very low resolution "point and shoot" camera with no flash or proper lighting equipment. You're going to be photographed under whatever lighting conditions are available. This often results in a color cast that is either orange or green, depending on if the light was tungsten or fluorescent. The camera will be hand-held at a very low shutter speed which often results in blurry photographs. The background will not be white, but cast with a pink or orange color or muddy gray at best.

WHY the US passport office allows such a deplorable level of quality is beyond me, because every other country on the planet adheres to a very very strict level of quality, so much so, that drug stores don't even attempt to do them.

If you're happy with them, well, good for you. I'm not, and my clients aren't either. They come to me because they want it done right. If you want superior quality in your passport photos, call us at 813-968-2810 and schedule your appointment today.

Thank you,
Newsome's Studio

Thursday, April 18, 2019

US Passport Photos

The US passport photo is only a 2x2" print. The passport office DOES have head size requirements, background requirements, and eyeglass requirements (none allowed), but they just don't seem to have any QUALITY requirements.

If they did, then drug stores, auto clubs, and post offices likely wouldn't bother with them.

Every time someone walks into my studio with a pair of blurry, underexposed, off center, greenish passport photos and screams "HEEEELLLLP!" I know what has happened.

I highly encourage people to seek out Tampa's Best Passport Photographer before venturing into the path of point and shoot held by someone who can't tell you the difference between an aperture and an FStop.

I don't sell toothpaste. I sell photographs. And passport photographs are with you for TEN YEARS! Do it right. Call Newsome's Studio at 813-968-2810 and schedule a ten minute appointment today.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

That Just Doesn't CUT It!

In the past month, I've had at least three clients come in holding their passport photos taken at a drug store. In every case, they'd been printed (close) to the correct size, but the drug stores refuse to cut them. Why? Because they were foreign passport photos which are measured in millimeters, not inches. Apparently, drug stores now appear to have the "software" to create SOME foreign sized passport photos, but they don't have the capability to CUT them to the exact size, leaving it to the CLIENT to do that with a pair of household scissors!

Yeah. That just doesn't cut it.

I have no idea what a chain store's budget is for providing the correct tools for their employees to do their job, but a paper cutter at Walmart runs about $20. Of course, you have to have a bit of know-how to use it and your cut must be precise, being millimeters and all, but STILL... they don't own or know how to use a PAPER CUTTER???

Let's just skip the headache and go straight to the professional photography studio that foreign consulates around the globe recommend... Newsome's Studio of Photography.

By appointment only, 813-968-2810. Call today.

Friday, April 5, 2019

German Passport Photos

German passport photos are the same size and specs as the UK and France. All three call for two 35x45mm images taken on a light gray background with a head size of 32-36mm.

Because (like most of the planet), they're measured in millimeters, you're not likely to be able to get them from your local drug store or auto club. The measurements are very precise and must be custom cut and sized correctly in Photoshop to meet those requirements. In short, you really have to go to a professional photography studio that specializes in foreign passport photos.

Newsome's Studio of Photography, located at 10012 N. Dale Mabry Hwy, Suite 219, Tampa (Carrollwood), has been providing passport photos for foreign citizens for several years. Having successfully done passport photos for over 75 countries and counting, we've yet to find a country's specs we couldn't create.

By appointment only, please call 813-968-2810 and schedule your 10 minute appointment to update your foreign passport photos.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Canadian Passport Photos

If you're a Canadian citizen living in the US and need to update your Canadian passport, you're going to need two images to submit with your paperwork. Those images need to be 50x70mm, not 2x2 inch. Most drug stores and auto clubs can only provide 2x2" passport photos. A 50x70mm image is approximately 2x2.75". You can't cut a 2.75" image out of a 2" image, no matter what college your parents cheated you into. Therefore, you MUST go to a qualified professional photographer who can custom create your Canadian passport photos.

Newsome's Studio of Photography has been successfully creating 50x70mm images for Canadians for years, and have done so without the aid of wealthy parents or greedy college coaches.

Give us a call at 813-968-2810 to set up your appointment today. 

Australian Passport Photos

Australian citizens living in the US are required to update their passport in person at an Australian consulate. There are seven Australian consulates in the US; Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington, DC, Houston, New York, and Honolulu. Because travel to these locations present a hardship for many Aussies, they often open temporary satellite offices in smaller cities throughout the country. Here in Florida, they appear about every 6-8 weeks, are open for one week only, and are usually located in West Palm Beach, Orlando, or Miami (I've never heard of one in Tampa).

When the dates and locations are announced, you must scramble to make an appointment (which are limited), and you must appear in person, on time, and holding your new Australian Passport Photos that MUST meet their criteria. 

Newsome's Studio of Photography is proud to have been serving as the only approved Australian Passport Photographer in Tampa for many years.

Don't waste time and money going to someone who isn't on the Australian consulates "approved photographers" list. Call Newsome's at 813-968-2810 and schedule your appointment today.