i have a camera, i have a face, and i even have a letter

from my rabbi stating that I cover my hair for religious purposes, and I even have

the Department of State’s free photo tool!

So what’s the problem?

I don’t have a blank wall.

I need a photo to renew my passport that expires in December.

As you can see in this handydandy illustration, there cannot be any pattern on the background wall.

Camera Position

I have doors that are white, but they are patterned. I have one room with white walls, but we have guests staying there for the summer and I really can’t go in there.

Well, I could, but I don’t want to.

We tried taking one in front of the door. My, how shiny and patterny my doors are!

And then they also tell you this:

Proper Lighting Arrangement and Background Illumination

If you are setting up a proper area to take photos, then consider:

  • Positioning light sources on both sides of the person to avoid shadows on the face
  • Using a light source to illuminate the background behind the person to avoid shadows on the background

The lighting arrangement should consist of a minimum of three (3) points of illumination; two (2) points of illumination should be placed at approximately 45 degrees on either side of the subject’s face, the third point should be placed so as to illuminate the background uniformly. The background should be uniformly illuminated to remove any shadows or other lighting effects that would otherwise interfere with clearly discerning the facial outline on the background.

Lighting Arrangement

I thought about going somewhere else and looking for a blank wall to allow for the proper points of light and I realized this is just too much work.

And then I got a coupon from CVS! So, I can go up the street, stand there in front of their plain background, let them take the photo, print it out (which I would have to have them do, anyway), and be done with it!

Yup, that works for me!

Last time I did it I think it was at an old camera store. I don’t even know if that store is in business anymore. I had to get a rush job to renew my passport, since it would have expired while we would have been abroad. Now you need a 6 month lead time. So since we hope to go to Australia in January, I definitely need to get hopping on this.


couldn’t avoid pun…


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