A Guide to Taking Great Staff ID Card Photos

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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 top 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.


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.


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.


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 them, they’ll be perfect for use with our ID Card Printing service. They also go well with our range of card holders and lanyards!

1 thought on “A Guide to Taking Great Staff ID Card Photos

  1. Thanks, from fy1 Dr Lee

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