Some Differences Between a Styled Portrait and a Singaporean ID Card Portrait and Why You Might Want Both

There is a pretty long list of requirements and limitations for IC & passport photos in Singapore that photographers have to bear in mind. For example:

Lighting and Sharpness

It is important for passport photos to have even lighting and for your face to be sharply in focus, However, in portraits or headshots, photographers can reduce the depth of field to focus more on your eyes or other important features.


In ID photos, your face, hair and shoulders must be fully visible. You also need to be posed with both your body and face facing the camera. In recent years, the ICA page guidelines have changed to request neutral expressions with closed mouths. In a portrait session, there is more flexibilty in posing. Posing allows your photographer to better bring out your personality and showcase your best features while selecting angles most flattering to you.


Removing and altering permanent facial features is not allowed for ID photos, but I can reduce temporary blemishes like pimples and redness from recent scratching. For styled portraits, I can lighten permanent features, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, age spots and even out your skin tone, in addition to the above.


So while one isn't allowed to edit permanent features using digital editing tools, as far as I can tell, one is allowed to use makeup to even out skin tone and complexion. You can go the DIY route on youtube or attend a personal make up course to learn the basics. For example. my make-up partner, Valerie at TangYong Makeup, conducts 1-to-1 sessions to help you on your makeup journey and you can find her on instagram (@tangyongmakeup). Happily, she conducts sessions for both men and women! So you can sign up with your BF/BFF (who may be one and the same ;)

Taking your Passport Photo


A household member can shoot your IC photo with useful free apps like "IC Photo Singapore" for iOS.

Professional Portraits

If you'd like me to take a photo for you, budget portrait options are available. You can also request that I take an ID photo for you during your portrait session.

Styled portraits allow for a more casual and relaxed look and more variation and flexibility in aesthetic choices.

Identification Photos have a strict set of rules and guidelines to adhere to, to minimize the likelihood of rejection. As of 2021, neutral expressions are now recommended for Singaporean passports.

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