Passport photos of the legends – and how to be one

Everyone I know dislikes the way they look in their passport photo. The late humorist Erma Bombeck even quipped once that “when you look like your passport photo, it’s time to go home.”

In the spirit of “Stars! They’re just like us!,” I point you to a collection of passports that proves the point — in most cases.

This nifty link from Lonely Planet’s Twitter feed,, points you to a collection of the passports of the stars of page, screen, the sciences and the recording studio.

So how do they look? Marilyn Monroe and Janis Joplin defy conventional passport pic wisdom by looking gorgeous. Sammy Davis Jr. confirms it by looking like an inmate in bright orange. David Bowie’s hair is perfectly just-so New Wave. Check them out, along with Roy Orbison, Ernest Hemingway, Katharine Hepburn and more.

Let’s get practical

Your passport photo will be with you for a decade, so some prep to avoid sheer awfulness is in order:

1) Follow the rules. Go to travel.state.govCQ to find out the specifications. Or go to a pro shop.

2) Choose clothing that flatters your skin tone. Avoid prints and turtlenecks.

3) Tilt glasses slightly down to avoid glare.

4). Keep makeup natural (remember how we wore eyeshadow in 2003? That’s why.)

5) Avoid fluorescent lights and direct overheard lights.

6) Stand tall, with shoulders down and back. Smile widely then relax your face to a neutral expression. If the photographer counts to three, blink on “one” so you won’t blink during the shot.

Get travel news at www.sctimes. com/travel, on the blog at, on Twitter @lisasschwarz, and on Facebook at Send her questions at lschwarz@
Lisa Schwarz

About Lisa Schwarz

By day, I'm a St. Cloud Times editor guiding coverage of politics, government, public safety and business beats. By night, I'm leading the cubicle jailbreak as the Times Traveler. Follow me on Twitter at and on Facebook at
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