Have You Ever Taken a Bad ID Picture?

Published in: Just For Fun


I’ve taken some gnarly ones in my day, but the WORST was my very first driver’s license picture.


The year was 1994… I was rocking an awful triangle haircut at the time, and because I’d been driving with the window down before the picture, the left side of my head was a frizzy eruption of hair!

The obnoxious houndstooth print shirt I was wearing probably didn’t help either…coupled with my expression — a mix of wide-eyed shock and confusion at actually passing the test. πŸ™‚

Have you ever taken a bad ID picture?

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Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


P.S. Speaking of ID pictures, here are tips to help you take your cutest one ever.


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So far, 41 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Rica says:

    Every year’s student card back when I was in high school. So bad that I threw them away lol.

    And don’t get me star on my passport photos. Those are the worst out of the worst!

    My driver’s license wasn’t so bad even though I looked a bit angry, I still looked ok. It’s almost impossible for anyone to not have a and ID pic.


  2. HanaBerlin says:

    My work ID picture is hideous. I look all fat and greasy.

  3. Stephanie! says:

    Unfortunately here in the Netherlands there are strict regulations about pictures for ID’s and drivers licences. We have to face the camera straight (face and body). We are allowed to smile a little, but without showing teeth. etc etc…. Its a hasstle, but on the other hand, crazy pictures are a thing of the past. πŸ™‚

    Doesn’t make them very pretty though..

  4. Linda says:

    Oh yes – all my Driver License photos are horrid! My hair always looks big and poofy.
    Linda recently posted … Makeup Schools and Classes in Southern California Los Angeles- Orange County- Inland Empire

  5. Jenna says:

    I look pissed off in my driver’s license because the DMV worker I had to deal with was the biggest jerk and I wanted to reach over to the other side and smack him.

  6. gio says:

    Oh yeah, my ID card and driver’s licence photos look awful!

  7. Katherine Luu says:

    One of my friends decided to trick me and say I could not smile in my California Driver License so I did not and it turned out to look like I was Lindsey Lohan fresh out of jail… And then when I saw everyone else’s, they were all smiling.. Don’t know when I should get a retake.

  8. Tiffany says:

    UGH, the one I just got is terrible. They told me to look down at the blue dot, so I did. I am looking so far down in the pic that I have drunken looking eyes and a double chin. HATE. I’m glad I got the 5 yr one instead of 8. Can’t wait to get a new one!

  9. Ru says:

    My current DL picture is gross. I mean, I had a perm – so curly hair I didn’t know how to control- and I wore an uber dark lipstick which is obviously up on your list there for a no-no. I guess I learned though because on my work id I’m wearing a black shirt, neutral makeup, and hair down (straight)- came out 100% better!

  10. Emily says:

    By some miracle, my newest DMV picture is honestly the best picture I’ve ever taken. It was after I got back from my honeymoon, so maybe I was still rocking a glow πŸ™‚

  11. Nina says:

    yessss!!! all my id pictures have that deer in the headlights look. i think i always get startled by flash!

  12. Katja says:

    Haha, I think you should change the wording to “Have You Ever Taken a Good ID Picture”.

  13. Shannon says:

    stupid montana license pictures are fairly fuzzy because of whatever it is they put on top of the license to make it “distinctive.” I had just died my hair black (mistake!) and it was short and not attractive at ALL. I had pinned my bangs back, so it looks like I’m wearing a black blobbish helmet. NOT COOL.

    It’s especially sad because the last license picture I had was AWESOME. I was a little tan, My hair was simple and pulled back, and I was smiling in a really awesome way because the guy taking my picture had just made fun of me for wearing a hollister hoody. πŸ™‚ soooo cute. It makes the pain of this license picture sting even worse. AND the stupid thing is good for 10 years in this state. BOO!

  14. mkdallas says:

    OK, this ID photo and the “Costco” caption is exactly why I love your blog, Karen! You are a very funny girl!

  15. McN says:

    My first passport photo was just plain ugly. I was 10 years old and looked like one of the Hanson brothers during their MMMBop days.

  16. Amber says:

    I’ve had a few good ones (I had a pretty good one at my last job, and when my sister saw it she said, “That doesn’t look like you,” haha), but mostly bad. Current DL is not cute, and doesn’t expire until 2014…but a day at the Houston DMV is worse than six years of a bad DL photo.
    Amber recently posted … Austin-bound

  17. Melissa W. says:

    I had to take my college ID after the new transfer student tour took us up three flights of stairs on a hot day. I looked awesome. Yeah.
    Melissa W. recently posted … New Makeup Sets at Sephora

  18. Liz! says:

    My license picture NOW is so bad!!! When I moved back to Massachusetts, the day I converted my out of state license was sooooooo hot, so I was sweaty and my hair was a crazy, frizzy mess! So sad, so sad.

  19. Karen, at least it’s kinda cute! You look like you are having fun.

    My driver’s license photo looks like I was run over by a motorcycle on my way out of the crack den. Yes I know that’s really bad. No one will ever see it………unless I get arrested πŸ™‚

    Michelle @ Fresh Radiant Skin recently posted … 9 Ways To Use Witch Hazel for Skin Care

  20. Suji says:

    I adore your coscto picture Karen! everytime I see it, it makes me giggle! I had to renew my license a few months ago, and I hate the picture.. I think my head was angled down and my face looks fat πŸ™ I LOVED the picture on my old license.. wish I could keep that one forever haha

  21. Rinnie says:

    At my current job I’ve taken several ID pictures and all of them are hideous! I don’t think I’ve taken worse photos before. In my hospital ID I look like a dork with a goofy smirk and an oversized top and no make-up, so my skin look yellow and shiny. My other work ID I look flustered with unruly hair because I couldn’t find the new building they were doing the ID cards in and walked around in the sun for 15 minutes before I found it.

  22. Kaoyee says:

    I am having such a kick out of reading everyone’s hilarious stories in their comments! Oh man, this just made my day so much better. πŸ˜€ My worst ID picture was from my freshman year at college. I had just gotten a “grown up” haircut – shaggy and short and cut up to my chin. It looked prettier IRL, but in my ID pic, oh hail no.I looked like a poodle. And because the picture came out super fuzzy, my smile looked like I had gaps in btwn all of my teeth! I looked so goofy. I still have this ID card. I don’t know why I still keep it.

  23. Lauren says:

    Hah, I just had my wallet stolen yesterday so I had to take my college ID picture again and MAN. It’s really bad πŸ™ Oh well though, it’ll be funny in a few years hahaha
    Lauren recently posted … Rimmel Berry Queen Moisture Renew

  24. Lowelli says:

    People who said “no” are lying.

  25. Kim says:

    OK, at the risk of sounding like a lush, I will say that this was during college (where we’re all expected to be a little lushy). Anyway, after being out quite late and drinking way too much, I headed out to ski the next morning. I had to get my season pass photo taken and we already had to stop the car twice on the way there so my tummy could get rid of some poison. I sit down, looking like holy hell to begin with (no make up, limp hair), and the guy says “how are you feeling today?”. As I make a “like walking death” face, he snaps the picture. Since that day, whenever I take an unflattering pic, all my friends say “Bass Badge”. Worst. Ever. I kept it for quite a while because whenever one of them was feeling down, they’d ask to see the ID so they could laugh. πŸ™‚

  26. My work id picture is scary. for some reason my nose looks about 5 times bigger than what it really is. I was smiling half smile, so i look toothless. Just weird. lol
    beautylogicblog recently posted … New Products To Watch-

  27. Jasmine says:

    My DL picture is bad. Real bad. So much so that one a club bouncer told me I’m lucky I don’t ‘actually look like the picture’. I really wanted to kick him in the shins, but needed to get in. When I buy drinks they look at my id, me, my id again and then me. It happens so frequently I’m used to it.

    I will always put on a nice shirt for a picture now, and do my hair!

  28. Andreea says:

    One? All of’em! In my ID I look like a nightmare. On my drivers licence even worse. But hey, I think people feel pity with me when they ceck my IDs and see the picture (vs. reality) πŸ˜‰

    • Karen says:

      My driver’s license, for once, is not scary. I’m not looking forward to retaking the picture though. πŸ™ You never know what you’ll end up with!

  29. Courtney says:

    Last year I got my passport picture and driver’s license pic in the same afternoon. The passport turned out great (they are usually terrible–they say if you look anything like your passport photo you’re not well enough to travel!) and the driver’s license is really bad. It’s the same makeup, hair, and outfit taken about 10 minutes apart. My driver’s license photo actually reminds me of Javier Bardem from “No Country for Old Men” if you can picture that. Yikes!

  30. Elysha says:

    When I show someone my driver’s license, I always get this reaction:
    “you look like a beaten up crackwhore”

    which sucks, because it’s just me, tired with no makeup HAHA

  31. Deb says:

    When I got my university ID, I still had braces, and the low-res digital image on the ID makes me look like a robot! My entire mouth looks silver! And somehow, even though the picture is so blurry that you can’t distinguish my teeth from my braces, you can still make out the giant zit on my chin!

  32. Emma says:

    My Green Card picture is hideous. My face looks totally unsymmetrical because the lady didn’t tell me to tilt my head and it’s tilted the wrong way! Terrible!

  33. marisol says:

    Your Costco picture rocks. I think the worst photo ID I had was when I got my picture taken for my college ID. I went to school in the OC and I took Greyhound from SF to LA for a summer orientation. I didn’t sleep a wink because of the shady passengers on the bus and was up all day. At the end of the orientation, they told us we would get our picture taken. I look I was high in that picture and my hair was a frizzy mess. No bueno!
    marisol recently posted … Russia Yep- I was there

  34. Gloria says:

    My Costco picture sucks too!!! It doesn’t even look like me!

    My current license picture makes me look 10 years older than how I actually look. I did the heavy makeup and glossy lips for some stupid reason.

    My college ID picture was kind of awesome – we had to submit one ourselves so I took it myself. I had bright red wavy hair in the picture, and absolutely no makeup on because at 18 I looked decent without makeup. 2 years and 10 pounds heavier later while rocking my hair blac and straight, I was accused of using someone else’s ID.
    Gloria recently posted … Best Eye Makeup Remover

  35. Alli says:

    I recently got my state ID, and after waiting in the DMV for hours and the long drive there, my hair looked awful. And i decided in was a good idea to wear my glasses which made the flash form the camera reflect in my glasses so you can hardly see my eyes.
    So my advice to all… don’t wear your glasses in you photo.

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