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How to create a passport photo with Photoshop Elements

Updated March 23, 2017

Passport photos can be pricey if you have them taken by a professional photographer or at a passport-issuing agency. While these professionals typically use a specially designed passport photography camera, you can make your own passport photos with your own photograph and Photoshop Elements. The most important thing is to produce a photograph that meets the legal requirements of passport photos, including the size of the photograph, the size of the subject's face and the colour of the background.

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  1. Open the photograph you want to make into a passport photo in Photoshop Elements by clicking on the "File" menu and choosing "Open." Find the photograph you want to edit in the explorer menu, highlight it and click "Open."

  2. Click the "Lasso Tool" and trace a selection carefully around the subject's head. Select the entire background as it appears above and to the left and right of the subject's head.

  3. Open the "Select" menu and choose "Modify" and then "Feather." Apply a feathering of about 30 pixels to soften the selection around your subject's head and avoid the photo appearing as if you cut out the person's head.

  4. Access the "Image" menu and choose "Adjustment" and then "Brightness/Contrast." Move the Brightness slider all the way to the right until the background turns blank white.

  5. Click the "Ruler" tool and click and drag a selection from the top of the person's head to the bottom of her chin. Note the vertical distance (in pixels) Photoshop Elements reports.

  6. Divide the vertical distance by 1.1 -- because passport photos need to feature a face between 2.5 and 3.5 cm (1 and 1 3/8 inches) tall to find the DPI (dots per inch) of your image. For example, if the height of your subject's face was 660, divide 660 by 1.1 to arrive at 600 DPI.

  7. Multiply your DPI value by 2 because the final photo must be 5 cm by 5 cm (2 inches by 2 inches) to find your resolution. For example, if your DPI was 600, your resolution will be 1200 pixels by 1200 pixels.

  8. Click the "Marquee Selection Tool" from the toolbar and click on "Fixed Size" in the "Style" drop down menu. Enter the resolution value you calculated in the height and width boxes.

  9. Drag the selection box until your subject's nose is directly in the centre of the box. There will be a cross shape in the middle of the selection box to help you.

  10. Open the "Edit" menu and choose "Copy."

  11. Open a new file in Photoshop Elements by clicking on the "File" menu and choosing "New." Set the dimensions to 10 cm (4 inches) wide and 15 cm (6 inches) tall.

  12. Go to the "Edit" menu and choose "Paste." Drag the photo you pasted to the middle of the bottom half of the image. Go to the "Edit" menu and choose "Paste" and drag the additional photo to the middle of the top half of the image. This will let you print two passport photos on the same 10 cm by 15 cm (4 inch by 6 inch) photograph.

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About the Author

Brian Richards is an attorney whose work has appeared in law and philosophy journals and online in legal blogs and article repositories. He has been a writer since 2008. He holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from University of California, San Diego and a Juris Doctor from Lewis and Clark School of Law.

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