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A Guide to Taking Great Staff ID Card Photos

ID cards are never quite complete without a photograph – but how do you go about taking great ID Card Photos?

Bearing in mind that the photograph on the ID card is likely to be there a long time. It’s important to get it right. Here’s what you need to consider, to make sure every photo is as professional looking and suitable as possible.

 

If You’re Taking the Photo

Taking ID card photos can prove challenging, especially if you’re not used to taking photos and suddenly have to photograph every member of the team. There are some things you can do, however, to make sure the photos look right.

Check the Camera

Not all digital cameras are created equally! If you’re not used to the camera you’re going to be using, it’s best to take several test shots to ensure you’re familiar with its modes, features, and the quality of the images that it captures. Ultimately this will make sure you take better quality ID card photos, and that you speed up the whole process for everyone involved.

Location Matters

A neutral, professional background is the goal – think off-white or cream in terms of colour. If you’re going to be shooting in several different locations, it might be worth investing in a portable background to keep the shots as consistent as possible. Remember that you’re not taking a photograph for the cover of a magazine, the employee needs to be easily identifiable.

Choosing the Light

Bad lighting can instantly ruin an otherwise good photograph. Try and avoid harsh, white fluorescent lights if possible, as they won’t flatter your subject. It’s much better to choose a slightly warmer light wherever you can, to ensure the subject is more comfortable. It’s also closer to the lighting conditions they’ll normally be seen in, which again aids in easy identification.

Framing and Angles

Try and avoid taking a photograph directly head-on, as it looks somewhat unnatural (cue flashbacks of other-worldly driving licence or passport pictures). The best angle is one that is slightly raised, looking down on the subject to avoid catching too much under the chin. For the majority of ID card photos, it’s best to frame the photo as the head and the tops of the subject’s shoulders.

Communication is Key

As you’re taking the photographs, remember to talk to the person you’re photographing. This will help keep them at ease, which will ultimately make for a better photo. If you want them to change the way they’re holding their face, to smile a little more for example, then make sure you tell them. This will make finding the right photo that much faster for everyone.

Take Another if Needed

If you take a photo and you’re not happy with it, it’s a safe bet the subject won’t be either. Remember that this person will have to walk with this photograph on their ID for the foreseeable future – it’s worth investing another minute in deleting the photo and taking it again. It takes no appreciable extra time, and the results will speak for themselves.

If You’re Having Your Photo Taken

The whole process can be different, and more intimidating, if you’re on the other side of the camera. If you’re going to be having your photo taken, try these tips to get the best results.

Practice

It might sound foolish, but a little time spent posing in the mirror before you go to have your photo taken can work wonders. Try different levels of smiling and see what fits your face the best. If you like the pose, it will make for a better photo. Then, thanks to the power of smartphones, you can try taking some selfies or get someone to photograph you to see how those poses translate.

Relax

It sounds simple, but relaxation is the key to taking a good photograph. If you’re nervous, it’s going to show through in the photo whether you want it to or not. Take a long, deep breath and keep everything in perspective. Remember, this is just a photo ID shoot, it won’t be the end of the world if a hair is out of place. Keep calm and keep your breathing as steady as possible.

Outfit

A flattering outfit is your best friend when it comes to taking great ID card photos. You want to make sure that it’s not going to compete with you. Avoid any loud colours or vibrant patterns. Ultimately remember that this is a professional photograph, so wear something which you would be comfortable wearing to a meeting with a prospective employer. Choose something that fits comfortably.


With these tips in mind, there’s no reason why you can’t take excellent ID card photos! When you have, they’ll be perfect for use with our ID Card Printing service. They also go well with our range of card holders and lanyards!

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Edge-to-Edge vs Over-the-Edge ID Card Printing

Getting the right ID cards printed can be a more confusing undertaking than most people first realise. Everyone would love a solution that’s simple, straight-forward, and universally applicable – unfortunately, no such solution exists.

Breaking down the Process

It’s up to you then to understand the differences between popular forms of ID card printing. This allows you to determine which is right for you, your purposes, and, of course, your budget.

Presuming you’ve already handled the important matters of the layout, card type and design you’re looking for your ID cards to have, it’s now time to consider the print method. That is, are you going to opt for edge-to-edge or over-the-edge printing?

Before you can make that choice, you need to know what each is.

Edge-to-Edge Printing

To put it in its simplest possible terms, edge-to-edge printing is where a slim border is left around the surface of your final printed ID card. This isn’t a deliberated printed design, rather it’s simply an area of the card which has had no printing applied to it.

White is the most common colour for the border because the vast majority of ID cards are white. However, the colour of the card blank will determine the colour of the border. So, if you have a black blank card it’ll be a black border, a red card leaves a red border, and so on.

Whether you know it or not, you’ve seen and handled edge-to-edge printed ID cards countless times. It’s a highly popular and economic method of printing. This method of card printing uses YMCK ribbons.

Over-the-Edge printing

So, edge-to-edge printing means there is a small blank border left around the edge of the card. Over-the-edge printing, it shouldn’t be a surprise, means that there is no visible border left around the ID card’s edges. The whole surface space of the card is taken up with the print design.

This is achieved through the different printing method used. Direct-to-card printers allow the print head to come into contact with the card itself during the printing process – hence the blank border. A retransfer printer, as used in over-the-edge printing works differently.

The design is instead printed on a thin layer of transfer film, before being applied to the surface of the card. This means there are no blank gaps, the design takes up the whole face of the card.

Which one is right for you?

The printing method you choose depends on the results you’re looking to achieve, as they each have benefits and drawbacks.

The main benefit of edge-to-edge printing is that it’s more affordable, and the printing process is generally quicker. This makes it better suited to applications where you’re going to be ordering your ID cards in bulk.

Over-the-edge printing is more expensive and time-consuming, but the final result is of higher quality. This makes it better suited to low volume prints, or situations where the most professional image possible is the desired effect.

There’s no right answer. There’s only the best printing method for your purposes.

Contact ALG ID Cards today to order our ID card printing service (we offer both edge-to-edge and over-the edge) or if you have any questions about card printing.