Rules about passport photos can trip up travelers

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Since it is time to start getting ready for summer travel, this is a good time to talk about how the rules have changed for passport photos. They may just look like a mugshot, but there is a lot going into a passport photos. New rules and stricter enforcement can trip you up.

If there is anyone in San Francisco who knows the rules for a proper passport photo, it is David Taylor. He is the Director of the San Francisco Passport Agency

"A passport is proof of your citizenship, but it is also proof of your identity, " He tells us, "We want to make sure we have a good clear picture of everyone's face."

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If there is anyone who knows how to implement those rules, it's Leetone Photo Center's Tony Locatelli. He has been taking passport photos since 1978.

When you ask him how many photos he has taken he says, "Half a million or more."

He tells me more passport photos are being rejected because the rules are not being followed.

"There have been some changes," Taylor says, "The main change recently is no more glasses in your passport photo."

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Other guidelines: selfies don't work, low lighting isn't acceptable. Photo shopping or air brushing are against the rules too.

That turns passport photos into a kind of mugshot.

Consumer Alisha O'Brien was getting passport photo when we talked. She said it is no big deal to her, "It is just a photo at the end of the day."

Director Taylor says there is some wiggle room on taking the pictures.

"If one can take a good quality picture with clear resolution on good clear paper at home," he says, "that is fine with us."

Click here for a look at more stories by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.
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