Passport Photo: Glossy vs Matte

Passport Photo: Glossy vs Matte
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When thinking of a new passport photo, most of us don’t consider the photo paper finish. The most common factors taken into account are the correct size, high resolution, plain background, and the right type of attire.

However, I think that the majority of us can agree on one thing – we all want to look good in our passport photo. And believe it or not, the type of paper finish you go with can make a difference.

So, if you’ve been wondering what type of finish to choose for your passport photo – glossy vs. matte, follow our short post to get to know these paper finishes closer, and what will look best in your passport photo.

Passport photo in 3s!

Take a photo with your smartphone, upload it to the website, we will convert it to an official passport photo and send you a digital or printed version. Simple? You can’t get more convenient than that!

passport photo editor

Glossy or matte for your passport photos?

Let’s start by answering the question of what type of paper finish is accepted for a US passport photo. Thankfully, the US State Department is pretty lenient here there is no set preference when it comes to matte paper or glossy paper for your passport photos. In this case, the most important aspect of photo paper is the actual quality of it. 

All passport photos must be printed on photo quality paper, meaning, a type of paper that is coated in order to ensure thickness, color intensity, and a smooth finish. The amount of coating may differ depending on whether the paper is matte or glossy, however, the paper must retain high quality in order to be acceptable for a passport photo.

Check out our other articles for more passport photo guidance:

Benefits and drawbacks of glossy photo paper

To many, photos printed on glossy paper signal a more luxurious effect thanks to their luminance and sleek finish. In glossy photos, the colors appear more saturated, and if the image is not sharp and clear enough, the gloss can help enhance your photo. If intense, vibrant colors are important to you, then glossy photos may be just right for your US passport. 

However, one major downside of this type of photo is that it may (and most likely will) produce a glare, and obviously, glares aren’t too flattering. Another aspect of glossy passport photos that may be considered a huge disadvantage is their susceptibility to fingerprint marks, however this shouldn’t be a problem in passport photos due to their small size.

Benefits and drawbacks of matte photo paper

Matte photos may not seem as glamorous, because, well, they are matte. However, a matte finish won’t give off a glare or show smudges and marks, as matte paper is more resilient to being handled often. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about glare or fingerprint marks.

Considering their disadvantages though, matte passport photos have a tendency to be more grainy when scaled to a large size, but again, this shouldn’t be a concern when it comes to 2×2″ passport photos. Matte pictures will also have more dull and muted colors, as opposed to their glossy counterparts. Many also deem matte paper more professional and classy looking.

Get your matte or glossy photo with Passport Photo Online

If you have managed to resolve the debacle of glossy vs matte passport photo, you can now go ahead and get your passport photographs hassle-free, using an online passport photo tool. Passport Photo Online can get you your passport pictures the easiest way possible – via a free iOS or Android app, or website, so you won’t even have to leave your home.

If you’re submitting your passport application in paper form, you can opt for the $9.95 package which includes a digital and hard copy of your pictures (2 (two) photos delivered straight to your address).

However, in case of sending your application online, your best bet is to order your high-resolution passport pics in digital format for just $6.95.

The Passport Photo Online app has an almost 100% acceptance rate, however, if for whatever reason your new passport photos don’t get accepted by the authorities, we will give you a double refund.

Passport photo: glossy paper vs matte paper – wrap up

Ultimately, the choice of photo paper finish for your passport pic is entirely yours, since both glossy and matte photos are accepted by the US State Department. Both finishes have their upsides and downsides, and you have to think about what effect you want to achieve in your printed photos – is color vibrancy an important aspect? Or perhaps you want to avoid glare and fingerprint smudges?

It might even be a smart idea to have your photo in both versions, so you can compare them and decide which one you want to stick with for the next 10 years.

Passport photo glossy or matte: FAQ

Is glossy photo quality paper a good option for passport photos?

Glossy paper may be a good option for your passport if you don’t mind extra glares in your photos and want your photo to retain intense colors and have a silky, satin finish.

Can passport photos be printed on matte paper?

Yes, passport photos can have a matte finish.

Do I have to include a matte or glossy photo in my passport application?

Whether you include a matte/glossy photo in your passport application is entirely up to you, as long as it’s a high resolution photo printed on photo quality paper.


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