How to Resize a Photo to Passport Size

By Lawrence Nyveen

Updated September 28, 2017

Items you will need

  • Adobe Photoshop CS4 or other photo-manipulation software

  • Digital photograph

The United States accepts passport photos of smiling people; Canada does not.
i portrait 3 image by Gaelle Levrey from

You can manipulate a photograph in many software packages, and all of them will let you resize an image. Adobe Photoshop is the industry leader, and is priced like it. Adobe offers a cut-down version called Adobe Photoshop Elements at a cut-rate price. GIMP is a free, fully functional image software that rivals Adobe Photoshop in capability. You can download it for Windows, Mac OS X and Unix operating systems. Google's Picasa is also free and cross-platform. Regardless of your choice of software, the resizing process follows more or less the same steps. The instructions that follow refer specifically to Adobe Photoshop CS4.

Decide what passport size means to you. American passport photos measure 2 inches by 2 inches. Canadian passport photos measure 50 mm (2 inches) wide by 70 mm (2 3/4 inches) high. For the purpose of this demonstration, let's choose 2 inches by 2 inches.

Open your image in your image software. In this example, we're using Photoshop.

Choose "Image Size" in the Image drop-down menu.

Set the "Resolution" of your photograph in the box that pops up. Use 300 pixels/inch for printing--but never exceed the resolution your photo already has. For example, if the image has a resolution of 150 pixels/inch to start with, keep it at 150 pixels/inch. For use on the Web, 72 pixels/inch is sufficient.

Set the units for "Width" and "Height" to inches. Make sure the "Constrain Proportions" box is not checked. Enter "2" for the document width and height. Click "OK." Save the image and you're done!


Your resized image may not appear to measure 2 inches by 2 inches on your monitor. The size the photo appears on the screen depends on the resolution of the image and the resolution of your screen. The image will, however, print with dimensions of 2 inches by 2 inches.