7 Tips for Taking the Best Driver's License Photo

You did it—you passed your driving test, and now it's time for you to take your driver's license photo.

While you're waiting in line at the DMV to do just that (we're not psychic, there's always a line), we figured it was best to give you some tips on how to take the perfect pic for a piece of plastic you'll have for years and years and years and years to come. If you take a bad snap, you're out of luck, because you're stuck with it forever. You could take another one, but making another appointment is entirely unnecessary and a huge waste of time.

So to save you, we have some advice on taking a pic you won't regret. Study up by scrolling below!

1. Go Easy on the Makeup

You might have the urge to spend hours applying your makeup in a way that hides every flaw and accentuates every perfection. Don't. We know you want to look good, but it's just a driver's license photo. There's no need to pull out all the stops for it. Keep your makeup fairly simple, especially because that lighting will expose even the smallest makeup mistakes. Unless you can contour like a beauty guru, don't try it. Also, don't add too much highlighter. We know you want to sparkle and shine, but the reflection from the flash will wash you out. That's a look that no one can pull off, even ghosts.


2. Keep Your Hair Simple

In the same vein of not overdoing it with your makeup, the same rule applies to your hair. Don't get a haircut the night before and especially don't dye it a different color. You run the risk of not liking it, which will only cause you to take an unflattering photo. Again, we're trying to avoid that here. We're all for keeping your hair natural or tossing it up in a casual bun or ponytail. Whatever makes you feel the most confident, go with that. It'll only help that radiance shine on when they snap your photo.

Laura Marano holding a strand of hair in Bad Hair Day

(Bad Hair Day via Disney Channel)


3. Pick a Top That'll Help You Shine

You don't need to dress like you're going to a red carpet affair. Mainly only your shoulders and above will be shown, so don't stress too much about finding the perfect outfit. All you really need to focus on is finding a top that won't wash you out or blend into the harsh backdrop. Even if it's just a T-shirt, you likely have a few tops that'll work for the photo. Opt for whichever one makes you the most comfortable.


4. Work on Your Smile

We know you're excited and ready to flash your pearly whites for the camera, but you could end up looking crazy if you do that. Still, you do want to make sure you're smiling for the camera. You'll look uncomfortable if you don't. For your smile, it's all about finding a balance. You don't want to cheese too hard, yet you also don't want to look like you'd rather be anywhere else. Snap a few selfies beforehand to see how they look. Once you find a smile you think looks best, practice recreating it until it feels entirely natural.

Cher apologizing for hitting a mailbox in Clueless

(Clueless via Paramount Pictures)


5. Know Your Angles

You don't really have a lot of room to work with here, so you're fairly limited in how you can angle your face. Still, you can find a way to make it work. All you have to do is—wait for it—practice. Take plenty of straight-on selfies with you angling your chin up or down, a little to the left, a little to the right. You'll very quickly find a pose that works best for you in that small amount of space. When you do, don't let it go.


6. Don't Look at the Camera Until You're Ready

Once it's time to take the photo, don't look at the camera until you're absolutely ready for them to snap the photo. The DMV employee won't take it until your eyes are staring straight at the lens. So if you need a moment to prepare yourself, do it with your head turned left, right, up or down. When you have your smile ready and know how to angle your face, then you can look up and they'll capture you in all your glory.

McLovin's ID in Superbad

(Superbad via Columbia Pictures)


7. Be Nice to the DMV Employees

The best tip we can give you is to be nice to the DMV employees. We know you don't want to be there any longer than you already have, but they also don't want to be there. There's no need to give them a hard time for anything, so treat them with the utmost respect—especially because if you do, they'll likely let you retake the photo if you don't like it. This isn't guaranteed, though treating people with kindness tends to get you a lot farther in life.


Once you get your license, use one of THESE captions when you post it on Instagram.