The Ins and Outs of Getting a Driver’s License Photo

Driver's License Photo

Don’t know how to apply for a United States driver’s license? Start by getting a compliant ID photo for your application. Read this article to find out more.

How to Get a Driver’s License Photo?

Contrary to what you might think, you can’t take the photo that will appear on your driver’s license by yourself. In fact, when you apply for a driver’s license in the United States, you’ll have your photo taken for you at the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) office.

If you want to drive throughout the United States at your own leisure, you’ll need a driving license. Equally, there isn’t a national form of identification document in the United States.

So if you need to prove your identity, whether that be at the convenience store or elsewhere, a driver’s license can really come in handy.

Driver’s License Photo Requirements

So now you know that you can’t take your driving license photo yourself, why would you need to know about the requirements?

Well, to be able to apply for a United States driver’s license, you need an acceptable form of proof of identification.

This proof of identification can be:
• A Passport
• An ID Card

So, you need to know the requirements for this form of acceptable identification.


If you’re going to take your own photo when it comes to getting a photo ID, make sure the photo is clear and sharp. There should be no pixelation or printing errors.


If you take your own photo, make sure your appearance is compliant with United States guidelines:

  • Your face needs to be fully visible in the photo
  • There should be no deep shadow or glaring light that obscures all or part of your face in the photo
  • Head coverings and hats are not allowed to be worn in the photo, except for medical or religious reasons

For United States photo ID, you need to have a compliant posture when taking your photo:

  • Keep a neutral expression for the photo
  • Face the camera directly and center yourself in the frame
  • Your eyes need to be clearly visible in the photo

If you follow these guidelines correctly, the majority of the photo process is done.

Size and Dimensions

Once you have a compliant photo, you will need to format it so that it is the correct size for the United States government.

The correct size requirements for a United States ID photo:

  • 2 inches x 2 inches in size 
  • In the photo, your head must be centered and between 1 inch and 1.4 inches in size

If you don’t fancy struggling to get a photo that checks all these boxes, we’ve developed an app called ‘Smartphone iD’ that we think you’ll find very useful!

Once you download ‘Smartphone iD’, you can take a guided photo that will be dual-certified by AI and biometrics experts. We offer a government approval guaranteed photo or we’ll send you a full refund.

Where to get an ID photo for a Driver’s License?

There are lots of options when you’re thinking about getting an ID photo to apply for a driver’s license. Usually, you can narrow your search down to these places:

  • Convenience Store
  • Pharmacy
  • Photo Studio
  • Professional Online Photo Service (Smartphone iD etc.)

So let’s take a look at these options in detail.

Driver’s license Photo Near Me

If you need to find a local place to take your ID photo, try using the following steps to help you.

  • Try an online search for “ID photos near me” 
  • Look out for pharmacies or large convenience stores near you as they will usually have an online store locator so you can find a photo service near you.
  • Phone up pharmacies or large convenience stores to find out the locations of their photography services.
  • Contact local photography studios for prices and availability

Here’s a helpful list of convenience stores and pharmacies that offer photo services:

  • Walmart Photo Center: upload your compliant photo and pick up two copies in-store 
  • UPS: book an appointment online and get your photo taken in-store, includes two photos 
  • Bartell’s: find a store online and book an appointment for your photo to be taken in-store 
  • Staples: only in participating stores, your picture will be taken in-store and you’ll receive two copies 
  • Walgreens Photo: get your photo taken in-store with a one-hour appointment, includes two photos 
  • CVS Photo: in select locations, you can get your photo taken in-store, which includes two photos

Stay at home and use ‘Smartphone iD’, it’s so easy to get pre-approved ID photos. Scroll to the bottom to find out more.

Driver’s license Photo Center

After you’ve applied for your United States driver’s license and have completed your tests, you’ll be required to attend a DMV photo center to get your photo taken.

Depending on which state you reside in, the locations of your DMV office that serves your area will vary. 

  • Try an online search “DMV photo center near me”

Remember, you’ll have to bring your temporary license with you when attending the DMV photo center for a photo.

Driver’s license Photo Online

There are a few options to choose from when looking for an ID photo for a driver’s license online.

If you want a reasonable price tool:

  • Smartphone iD: Get certified photos, verified by our biometrics experts, with digital (email) or printed delivery. We offer a great competitive price and a money-back guarantee. 
  • No background removal, but you can create most identification document photos with this website.

If you want a free tool to crop your photo:

  • This is the official Department of State’s photo tool. You can use this to see examples of compliant photos. You can also upload your photo for automatic cropping. There is no photo compliance check, however.

Driver’s License Photo Price

Driver's License Photo price

Generally, depending on what state you live in, the driver’s license photo price will change. You can find out how much your driver’s license photo will cost by going to your state’s DMV fees website page.

Take Your ID Photo for Your Driver’s License With Your Phone

ID Photo for Your Driver's License With Your Phone using smartphone iD app

If you need to apply for a driver’s license, you’ll need a compliant ID photo. 

Follow these steps to get certified ID photo’s:

  1. Download ‘Smartphone iD’ on your phone, it’s available on iOS and Android 
  2. Take a photo using the app, ‘Smartphone iD’ will guide you through the process 
  3. Select which country you want to produce an ID photo for 
  4. Select which document type you want the photo for (Passport, driving license, visa etc.) 
  5. Receive photos digitally via email, once our experts have approved them 
  6. You can use these digital copies to print them yourself 
  7. Alternatively, you can use our printing service, to make it even easier


Whilst learning to drive can be difficult for some, don’t make the process any more difficult. Struggling through getting a compliant ID photo for your driver’s license application, isn’t necessary.

Choose ‘Smartphone iD‘ for pre-approved document photos for any country.


Do you need a new photo to renew driving licence?

Generally, if you need to renew your driving licence, these points are what can happen.

  • The DMV may send you a letter requiring you to attend in person to renew 
    • In this case, they will usually take your photo again for the renewal 
  • If the DMV doesn’t require you to attend in person for the renewal, you’ll receive a renewed licence in the mail

How long do you have to renew your photo driving licence?

Most states require you to renew your licence every four years.

What is the best color to wear for DMV photo?

Neutral colors and tones are best advised when getting a DMV photo.

What is the best color to wear for an ID picture?

Usually, you should wear neutral colors and tones for your ID picture.

What should you not wear for ID picture?

The main guidelines that address what you should wear for your ID picture are:

  • Head coverings and hats are not allowed to be worn in the photo, except for medical or religious reasons
  • You’re not allowed to wear uniforms
  • You should wear normal day clothes

If you adhere to these guidelines, you should have an acceptable ID picture.

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