Posted by: Kate | March 15, 2011

My Identification Photo Should Not be a Mug Shot

I had to go renew my Driver’s License today. First I was none to thrilled to hand over my$75 fee (was $50 last time). Then, it came time for the photo. I’m standing in front of the camera, and the first thing I get is:

“Remove your glasses.”

“But, I always wear my glasses. I like, never take them off.”

“New rules, no glasses.”

“Now, no teeth showing. And don’t smile.”

OK, I have an overbite and I always smile. With teeth. It is how people remember me from 30 years ago, they see me smile and go, “hey, I remember you!” Seriously. How will this photo id in any way identify me?!

I thought I’d take a couple of pics just to see if I’m right in thinking it’s very different. What do you think?

That’s me on a fairly good day. Hair done, slight smile, glasses on so I can see you.

This is what my picture today will likely look like.

Who is that person?!

Sigh. I know it’s for security purposes ,etc but really. You will never see me like that unless you are there when I get up in the morning, in the five seconds before I reach for my glasses.

Don’t smile. Where else would you ever hear that?!



  1. Aww, Kate, you are beautiful. I know . . . the high cost of renewing your driver’s licence is outrageous! Please don’t ever stop smiling! :) I’m glad to see you’re feeling better, or that you LOOK like you’re feeling better! Um, did you knit your green sweater? lovely. lovely.

  2. That is the face you will have when an officer pulls you over.

    • Not without my glasses on …. although that might explain why I was getting pulled over :)

  3. They are very different, but I find the non-smiling image lovely as well, just in a different way. Your eyes are very pretty. It seems one should always smile, if in the mood. It’s too pleasant a thing to hold back, but it is nice to know that you do still look good while serious.

  4. I always say that passport photos and drivers’ license photos make us look as if we are not well enough to travel or drive! My DH renewed his license this week – $17 for 5 years. Probably it is because he is almost 71. There are benefits to growing older.
    Your story brought to mind a gal I knew from my breast cancer support group and her driver’s license photo. She was, at the time, undergoing chemo and wearing a wig. The “photographer’ insisted she take off the wig. After tears and her DH telling her to just do it and he would take care of things later, the photo minus wig was taken. She did receive an apology from the “photographer’s” boss.

  5. i agree with kim, you are beautiful – glasses or no.

    but i totally get what you mean, i always wear my glasses too, it would seem very strange for me to have to take them off for a photo.

  6. My theory is they don’t want to discriminate so they attempt to make us ALL look like potential terrorists.

  7. Personally I think you look great in both photos…but you are right in that for an ID, I think it should represent what you actually look like on a daily basis. Funny–when I last renewed my driver’s license, these rules didn’t apply and I still looked like I was on a most wanted poster. Not only did I not smile, it would appear I actually pursed my lips into an angry face!

  8. I totally agree with you, but I think you are beautiful.

Welcome! I always like to hear what people think of a post, it often leads to a great discussion! I am now responding to comments and questions right in the comments themselves, so other people can follow the conversation.

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