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946 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 138742 15-Jan-2014 12:39 Send private message

Anyone done this recently?

I have done this before successfully.  I just cannot get it done.  dSLR new or old.  50mm or 85mm.  F2 or F5.6.  Flash or no flash.  It always says shadow behind head but I don't see any shadow.  Wallpaper or painted walls.  A few metres in front. 

May have to get it printed and get the referee to sign at the back of it ... and snail mail it .....

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 967510 15-Jan-2014 12:55 Send private message

I tried this and failed because of insufficient contrast between face and background.

In the end, I went to the photo-shop in my local Westfield. They took a photo and emailed it to me so that it was ready by the time I got home. Quicker than messing about to get it right by myself.

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  Reply # 967534 15-Jan-2014 13:36 Send private message

I just took one last week that was accepted by the passport office - the passport is apparently on the way now.

I used all natural light from a window, no direct sunlight, and I made sure all the light was coming from directly in front of me. I stood in front of a white door and had my partner take a photo. A neutral colored wall would work fine too, just nothing patterned. I used my little Sony RX100, brightened a little in Photoshop. Stand a meter or two out from the wall, and use the camera at moderate to high zoom, that gives you a bit more background blur so the background has less details.

If you don't have a room where you can have just one window with light from in front of you, use a room where the light comes from every direction - front and both sides. Choose your time of day so there's no direct sunlight around, shade works much better.

If you can't do that, use a DSLR, point the external flash either directly up or directly behind you. The internal flash will cause side shadow.

If you can't do that pay the $20 for someone to take a photo for you.




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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 967539 15-Jan-2014 13:48 Send private message

We did it before and it worked. We have a lounge with a 3m tall window, white frost wallpapers and white ceiling but that photo came back saying shadow behind the head, but I cannot see any shadow.

Our doors are brown color. The kitchen has a v light yellow mostly white painted wall but that came back with the same shadow behind head. Cannot see it though.

The person was like 3m away from the wall and there is enough natural light without the shadow on the person or uneven lighting on the wall. It was only when we try to use the bedroom wall that it said "insufficient contrast with f/ground b/ground".

We're just gonna go to this guy who runs a gallery and does passports with a monolight for $25 service, it does provide e-pictures so can renew it and not ask our referee to sign the back of the printed photograph.

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  Reply # 967540 15-Jan-2014 13:50 Send private message

I have heard that even some professional ones have been rejected, so paying isn't necessarily going to solve it. Wouldn't they be better to use the 'RealMe' system, which they take a photo of you for free when you signup, which I believe conforms to a passport requirements. It is a government organsiation afterall, and it is supposed to streamline things, so I can't seew why they can't then use that on a passport



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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 967541 15-Jan-2014 13:57 Send private message

The guy does free repeats if it doesn't work but I am out of options. I could print the photograph and get the referee to sign the back .....

The RealMe system doesn't even auth. your email address.  There is no need to open the email and click a link to check this is your email addy. 

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  Reply # 967542 15-Jan-2014 13:57 Send private message

A monolight (which just means one light) may not be any better. You tend to have them set up to one side, which would create a shadow. A ring light can be better. Though if he does it professionally I'm sure he'll be fine.

RealMe uses a little Canon Rebel with the built in flash. They don't show you the photo online though so no idea how it came out. I tried to get it from there to use for my passport, but it's just not available anywhere I could find.




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  Reply # 967545 15-Jan-2014 14:00 Send private message

I used them for my own passport, one studio light head in front up at about 45 deg with a brolly. I am out of options so let someone else do it and it is free to do repeats.

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  Reply # 967547 15-Jan-2014 14:02 Send private message

For a RealMe verified account you have to verify your email address, verify your physical address, and present photo ID at a post shop when you have your photo taken. Seems pretty secure.

If you take your own photo put the umbrella as close to the camera position as possible. Light from the side causes side shadow.

I edited my post above to give more details. Natural light from directly in front of the subject works fine.




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  Reply # 967548 15-Jan-2014 14:02 Send private message

timmmay:I used all natural light from a window, no direct sunlight, and I made sure all the light was coming from directly in front of me. I stood in front of a white door and had my partner take a photo. A neutral colored wall would work fine too, just nothing patterned. I used my little Old canon point and shoot, brightened a little in Photoshop. Stand a meter or two out from the wall, and use the camera at moderate to high zoom, that gives you a bit more background blur so the background has less details.


+1

Worked for me no problems.

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  Reply # 967550 15-Jan-2014 14:10 Send private message

Hi - having taken passport photos for family & friends going back to film days I've gotta say that the online system seems to be very good.
For the photos they require (and in fact for most photographic images) it doesn't really matter what camera & lens you use - it's all about the lighting.
If you can find a room with white or pale coloured walls with soft window light or the brightest area of the room behind the camera it should light the subject evenly without shadows being cast on the wall behind (it's usually best to have the person at least 80cm away from the wall itself).
If you were to use a flash you would probably want to have it pointing straight up or even slightly backwards from the camera position (if you are able to swivel the flash or get it off the camera) - this then uses the (hopefully) white ceiling as a nice big soft light source.
Good luck.

edit - I see Timmay has already provided all the helpful info... (took a long phonecall after starting this post!).




Cheers,
Mike

iPhone photo/general blog - here


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  Reply # 967553 15-Jan-2014 14:11 Send private message

timmmay: For a RealMe verified account you have to verify your email address, verify your physical address, and present photo ID at a post shop when you have your photo taken. Seems pretty secure.

If you take your own photo put the umbrella as close to the camera position as possible. Light from the side causes side shadow.

I edited my post above to give more details. Natural light from directly in front of the subject works fine.


I think it is potentially far more secure than the passport process. I don't really know why we need two different organsiations now, it could save tax payers a lot of money by having a single system, plus save on passport costs too, especially as NZs one is one of the more expensive passports to get as it only lasts 5 years, as most other countries it lasts for 10 years.

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  Reply # 967565 15-Jan-2014 14:21 Send private message

clicknz: edit - I see Timmay has already provided all the helpful info... (took a long phonecall after starting this post!).


I learn lighting from some good people, including by assisting a great commercial photographer take some publicity photos in a boxing ring in Miramar! Catch you at NZIPP some time :)




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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 967566 15-Jan-2014 14:21 Send private message

Try it again today later, already done like 10x tries, again tomorrow morning then to the pro.

Re: RealMe. Just signed up a family member, even when I didn't open the email I could sign in with the chosen username / password.

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  Reply # 967569 15-Jan-2014 14:27 Send private message

If you want an opinion on the photos PM me for my email. I'm online most of the day and evening so can check an image before you upload if you like.




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  Reply # 967572 15-Jan-2014 14:29 Send private message


RealMe uses a little Canon Rebel with the built in flash. They don't show you the photo online though so no idea how it came out. I tried to get it from there to use for my passport, but it's just not available anywhere I could find.


50mm 1.8, but no, NO built in flash (if they are the store is doing it wrong). There are 2x Rotating flourecents top and bottom that the button behind the counter turns on and flipts the protector guard. Then taken in P (to handle the change of natural light in store also) *shudder* against an about 6% grey background :)

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