UK Driving Licence Photo – cheaply in 2024

photo shows UK Driving Licence Photo

Unlock the secrets to a perfect UK driving licence photo, ensuring your journey on the road begins with a validated photo!

Where to get your driving licence photo in the UK?

There are a number of places where you can get a driving licence photo in the UK. Some of the most common options include:

  • Smartphone iD app:A cheaper option for getting a valid and checked driving licence photo is to use the Smartphone ID app. It  allows you to take a real time photo of yourself using your smartphone for a cheap price.
  • Post Office: Most Post Offices have a photo booth that you can use to take a driving licence photo..
  • Pharmacies – Major pharmacy chains like Boots, Superdrug, and independent pharmacies often have photo booths. 
  • Supermarkets – Larger supermarkets may have self-service photo booths, e.g. Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s. 
  • Professional photographer: You can also get a driving licence photo taken by a professional photographer. This is a more expensive option, but it can be a good choice if you want to make sure that your photo is valid.
  • Independent photo shops – Local independent photo processing shops sometimes provide passport photo services.
  • Driving schools – Some driving schools offer in-house driving licence photo services for their students.

The Requirements 

1. Size and Dimensions

 Your UK driving licence photo should measure precisely 35mm in width and 45mm in height. This is a standardized size, ensuring consistency across all driving licences in the United Kingdom. The aspect ratio should be 9:11, meaning the width is slightly smaller than the height.

2. Background

The background of your driving licence photo is critically important. It must be plain, light gray, cream, or plain white. No other colors, patterns, or objects should be visible in the background. The purpose of this requirement is to create a clear and uniform background that does not distract from your face.

3. Facial Expression

When having your photo taken, maintain a neutral facial expression with your mouth closed. Smiling, frowning, or making any exaggerated expressions are not permitted. The goal is to have a clear and natural representation of your face.

4. Eyes

 Your eyes should be open and clearly visible. They should not be obscured by shadows, glare, or reflections. Red-eye is also not allowed. Your eyes should appear natural and unaltered.

5. Head Position

Your head must be between 29 and 34mm high in the photograph.The space between the top of your photograph and the top of your head must be 3-5 mm.

6. Glasses

If you wear glasses regularly, it is recommended to keep them on for your driving licence photo. However, they should not cause reflections, glare, or obscure your eyes. Tinted glasses or sunglasses are not allowed.

7. Head Coverings

 While head coverings for religious or medical reasons are allowed, they must not obscure your facial features. The area from the bottom of your chin to the top of your forehead and from ear to ear must be fully visible.

8. Background Shadows

 Ensure that there are no shadows on your face or the background. Even lighting is crucial to create a clear and consistent image.

9. Lighting

The photo should be evenly lit without harsh shadows or bright spots on your face. Proper lighting helps to capture a clear image and prevents inconsistencies.

10. Resolution

The photo must have a resolution of at least 600 DPI (dots per inch). This high resolution ensures that the photo is suitable for high-quality printing on your driving licence.

The Cost

Having your driving licence photo taken at a booth costs £5-15 depending on location. Photo studios charge from £10-20. Ordering through the Smartphone  ID app is the cheapest option for compliant emailed photo files.

The cost of having your photo printed and submitted via paper licence application is £17. 

However, submitting your photos digitally with the online licence application costs less then  £8. Overall, digital submission via smartphone app and online licence application is the most convenient and cost effective option.

How to Take a Good Driving Licence Photo

Taking a good driver’s license photo is essential to avoid any issues with your application. Here are some tips to ensure you get the best possible result:

  •  Choose a well-lit area with natural light if possible.
  • Ensure a plain, light grey, or cream background.
  • Stand 0.5 metres (1.5 feet) away from the background and 1,5 metres (5 feet) from the photographer.
  •  Position your face directly facing the camera.
  • Keep your eyes open and free from glare if you wear glasses.
  • Remove any accessories that may obstruct your face, such as hats or scarves.
  • Maintain a neutral expression with your mouth closed.
  • Relax and take a few shots to select the best one.
  • If you have specific needs, such as religious head coverings, make sure to follow the DVLA guidelines.

5 things to Avoid in a UK Driving Licence Photo

picture shows uk driving licence photo with avoid icon and application form of uk driving licence

To avoid complications with your driving licence application, it’s essential to steer clear of the following:

  1. Excessive facial expressions.
  2. Smiling or frowning.
  3. Wearing hats or other head coverings that obscure your face (unless for religious or medical reasons).
  4. Heavy makeup or accessories that significantly alter your appearance.
  5.  Poor lighting or backgrounds that do not meet DVLA requirements.

Smartphone iD App: Your Convenient UK Driving Licence Photo Solution

1. Convenience:

 The app allows you to capture and submit your photo directly from your smartphone, eliminating the need for in-person visits to a Post Office or photography studio.

2. Real-Time AI Support:

 The app provides real-time AI assistance to ensure that your photo meets the DVLA’s stringent requirements, reducing the likelihood of rejection.

3. Compatibility: 

The Smartphone iD App is available for both iOS and Android platforms, making it accessible to a wide range of users.

4. Cost-Effective:

 Using the smartphone iD app can save you money by avoiding extra charges that may be incurred through other channels.

5. Efficiency: 

The app streamlines the process, making it quicker and more efficient to obtain a valid driving licence photo.

6. Unlimited Shots: 

You can take unlimited photos with the app until you’re satisfied with the result, offering peace of mind and saving time in retakes.

7. Expert Check:

The app includes an expert check to ensure that your photo meets all the necessary requirements before submission.

8. Money-Back Guarantee: 

The app provides a money-back guarantee, assuring users of a refund if their photo is not accepted, further enhancing confidence in the process.


Your UK driving licence photo is a vital component of your identification, and it’s important to get it right.

By following the guidelines provided by the DVLA and using the smartphone iD app as a cost-effective option, you can obtain a valid and acceptable photo to get or renew your driving licence.

 Remember to take your time, follow the tips for a good photo, and avoid common mistakes. A clear and compliant photo will save you time and hassle in the long run.

Last update:26/10/2023


Can I wear glasses in my driving licence photo?

Yes, you can wear glasses in your driving licence photo, but ensure there are no reflections or glare on the lenses.

 Can I smile in my driving licence photo?

 No, it’s best to maintain a neutral expression with your mouth closed in your photo.

Can I retake my driving licence photo if I’m not happy with it?

Yes, you can retake your photo, but additional charges may apply if you choose to do so at a Post Office or photography studio. With the smartphone iD app, you can take unlimited shots while the AI system supports you in real time until you are happy with the best one. 

 Is it okay to wear head coverings or hats?

For religious reasons, head-coverings are allowed but must not obscure facial edges. No hats or sunglasses.

How should I frame and crop the photo?

 The head, shoulders and neck should fill up 70-80% of the frame. Do not cut off the top of the head.

What are common mistakes that make photos get rejected?

Tilted head, wrong expression, glare on glasses, hair across eyes, inappropriate clothing or background.

How do I ensure good lighting and focus?

Use bright diffuse natural light. Check focus and zoom in to check eyes are sharp. Avoid shadows and red eye.

Can I take the photo myself at home?

Yes, all  you need to have is a suitable background, lighting and a UK driving licence photo app like Smartphone iD  .Use a tripod for stability.

Should photos be in color or black and white?

Photos must be in color. Black and white photos are not accepted.

Is there a file size limit for digital photos?

Digital photos must be under 500 kilobytes in file size and of high resolution and quality.

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