How To Look Hot In Your Driver's License Photo

You only get one shot to take a photo you (and every bouncer, cop, cashier, etc.) have to look at for YEARS.
Publish date:
September 10, 2013
blushes, eyeliners, eyeshadows, lipsticks, mac, How-To, Urban Decay, sephora, Benefit, DMV, driver's license

A year and three months after I moved to NYC, I figured I should go get a new ID. One of my friends from Florida was also living up here and got called for jury duty there. She couldn't get out of it because she had no way to prove she lived up here now and had to fly all the way home. There's no way I'm shelling out the cash to go back to Florida to be on a jury if I get called. So, I dealt with the hassle of going to the DMV instead.

I didn't stress about the fact that I would have to wake up at 5 A.M. to head over there to stand in line, but I did have a mini-freakout about how to do my makeup. I'm going to have this new ID for years, and my old one was so cute! I was 16 and fresh-faced, and now I'm 23 and haggard. I also wanted to take a pic that I wouldn't be ashamed of in a few years or be embarrassed to show a cop or a landlord.

I thought I came up with a pretty hot look, and it was proven to me when the guy setting up my ID said, "Well, Ms. Jessica, you sure do take a purdy pitcher." And then also proven to me again when I got my ID in the mail and was SO happy with the photo.

Here's how I looked so fab. (This also works in other situations where you get one shot to take a cute pic in front of a drab background, like passports or mugshots).


I started with Benefit Boi-ing concealer to cover up dark circles and imperfections. Then I put on Urban Decay Naked Skin Liquid Makeup foundation on my entire face. I usually just wear a BB cream, but for this photo, I wanted fuller coverage.

I set my entire face with MAC Studio Fix Powder. To keep this from looking cakey, I used a powder brush and lightly swiped it all over my skin. I usually don't wear this much makeup on my face, but I wanted the powder to set the makeup since I would be waiting in line for a while, and I wanted to conceal any shininess since shine can look very weird in photos sometimes.

For blush, I swiped on Benefit Dandelion blush because it's so pretty. I have been using this blush for years, and it's my go-to for early mornings when I just want to look fresh. It's the perfect pink.


I didn't want to get too crazy with my eyes, I just wanted to add a little bit of color so my face didn't look washed out in the photo. I started with Benefit Longwear Powder Shadow in Pinky Swear. I swiped this on my lids from lash line to crease. I made sure to stick to matte shadow on my eyes, because glitter and shimmer can sometimes photograph weird, and you only get one shot here. It's not like an Instagram you can take a hundred times and filter just right.

Then I blended a tiny bit of fuchsia shadow into my crease and outer corner. Go easy with this--you just want to add a little bit of depth.

When it came to liner, I wanted to define my eyes, but I didn't want it to look to harsh. So for the top lid, I used a small angle brush to line my top lash line with MAC Eye Shadow in Black Tied. Yes, this shadow has some glitter in it, but the line we are making is super-small, so it doesn't matter here.

I lined the top lid with shadow over the liner because it looks so much softer.

I lined the bottom with your regular ol' black pencil; any type you have will do as long as it's longwear. (You may be standing in line for a while.)

I finished my eyes with two coats of black mascara.


On my lips, I kept it pretty simple. I lined and filled them with Sephora Nano Lip Liner in Pinup Pink and then swiped on a coat of Sephora Rouge Cream Lipstick in Seduce. Stay away from gloss--I know it's tempting, but it can look really weird in pictures.

The look really doesn't take that much time. I didn't want to spend on hour on my makeup at the crack of dawn.

Here's the final look:

AND just so you don't think I am a liar, here's my driver's license with all identifying info blurred out. Sorry, stalkers.

What do you think? Got any other tricks for a great ID photo? Anything to avoid?