How to Pose for an ID Photo

I have this theory that you should never smile in your ID photo.

Think about when your ID photo gets used. It’s usually when you’ve been pulled over by the police, or when you’re working your way through the line at the TSA checkpoint*. Neither of those are situations in which you’re in a great mood. If the idea is for the picture to help someone identify you by sight, when you pose for the picture you should try to look like you would in those situations: irritated, inconvenienced, and slightly worried.

If you look at it that way, the civil servants responsible for the miserable experience you have when you go to the DMV are doing you a favor.

Note from Missy: ERIK ESTRADA! (We met him once. Whitest teeth I’ve ever seen.)


*Yes, I know that ID photos also get used when you prove you’re old enough to buy alcohol. Often, young people are excited to be old enough to buy a beer, and smile. Also, older people are sometimes flattered to think that they look young enough to get carded. These are edge cases. I’ve been a few places and seen a few things, and I’m here to tell you that most people are not smiling when they’re buying booze. After consuming it, maybe, but not while buying it.


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