Britain’s biggest passport photo fails

It’s easy to wonder whether manufacturers deliberately make their passport photo booths shoot and print absolutely awful photos. Whether it’s the horrendous lighting that makes you look like you live in the arctic, the brilliantly white background that makes every out-of-place hair strikingly obvious, or the rules dictating stony and sombre passport photos themselves, just about everyone hates their passport pic.


But what about the worst? The most awful, unflattering pictures ever to grace the biometric, burgundy passport pages? Over Christmas, we ran a competition to find out, with the unfortunate winner netting a £75 Amazon voucher for their hard luck!

The runners up

We got loads of entries to our competition, but some really stood out as shocking!


Jessica, Blackpool


Jessica’s baby boy’s first passport photo didn’t go all according to plan, although now we think about it, who hasn’t wanted to blow a raspberry at the immigration control officer after all that queuing!


Derek, Wembley


Hair that could do with a re-bleach, a centre parting and cherub-like looks – Derek’s old passport pic ticks all the boxes when it comes to a horrific passport photo. “Why didn’t anyone stop me from bleaching my hair?” says Derek – and we’re thinking the same thing!


Clare, UK


Tired eyes and messy hair – Clare broke two of the cardinal rules when it comes to prepping for a passport picture, and payed the consequences!


Dawn, Worcestershire


Dawn told us that her pic – didn’t come out well because she’d just dropped something on the floor as the photo was taken, scuppering a perfectly fine attempt at the last minute!


Wendy, Northern Ireland


A recurring theme in our passport photo fail judging was just how important hairstyles are to the overall picture. Wendy’s was a case in point – without her glasses on, getting the hair just right was a rather… tall… order.


Anila, West Yorkshire


Fair enough, styles change, but while it’s easy to get rid of old clothes, passport photos lock in the regrettable hairstyles of yesteryear forever. On the bright side though, if Anila ever wants to revisit her 80s style, she can just refer to this fantastic passport fail.


Sophie, Essex


With a dribble of puke about to run down their chin, Sophie’s baby proves that even babies get sick at the thought of getting their passport picture taken.


Hanna, Hertfordshire

Baby passport pictures are godsends for parents – just imagine Hanna cracking this gem out whenever her grown-up child brings their girl or boyfriend for tea for the first time!


And the winner is…

After much deliberation, our judges thought that the best worst passport picture was Nicola’s from Manchester! Combining everything that we go through inside passport booths, including the dodgy lighting, poor picture quality, unclear instructions and seemingly random snapping, Nicola’s picture has it all!



Nicola’s expression sums up what we all feel when we pull back the curtain and step into the dazzling purgatory that is the photo booth – confusion, annoyance, and fear of just how badly the picture will turn out, however hard we try to make it look good.



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