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Passport Size Photo vs. Postcard Size Photo: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
A passport size photo typically measures 2x2 inches and is used for official documentation, while a postcard size photo is larger, about 4x6 inches, used for mailing as a postcard.
Passport Size Photo vs. Postcard Size Photo

Key Differences

A passport size photo is specifically formatted to comply with passport and visa application requirements, typically measuring 2x2 inches. It focuses on the face, with specific guidelines on dimensions, background, and facial expression.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 11, 2023
A postcard size photo, measuring approximately 4x6 inches, is much larger than a passport size photo. It is the standard size for photographic prints that can be mailed as postcards or used in albums. The subject and composition of postcard size photos are more flexible.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 11, 2023
The passport size photo is generally used for identification purposes and thus has strict rules about head size, position, and expression. Lighting and background are regulated to ensure high visibility and uniformity.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 11, 2023
In contrast, postcard size photos are used for personal, promotional, or souvenir purposes, offering a larger space for creative compositions, including landscapes, portraits, and more. There is more room for artistic expression and no strict guidelines on lighting or background.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 11, 2023
While passport size photos are almost exclusively used in an official capacity and require a neutral expression with a plain background, postcard size photos are more versatile, often used for greetings, invitations, and as keepsakes, featuring a variety of expressions and backgrounds.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 11, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Dimensions

2x2 inches (5x5 cm) typically
4x6 inches (10x15 cm) typically
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 11, 2023

Usage

Official documentation
Mailing, souvenirs, collections
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 11, 2023

Guidelines

Strict rules on appearance
Flexible, no strict rules
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 11, 2023

Background

Plain, usually white
Any background, often scenic
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 11, 2023

Facial Expression

Neutral, looking straight ahead
Any expression, more casual
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 11, 2023
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Passport Size Photo and Postcard Size Photo Definitions

Passport Size Photo

Photo with specific requirements.
Make sure your passport size photo has a white background as per the guidelines.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 08, 2023

Postcard Size Photo

A large photo that can be sent as a postcard.
We turned our beach photo into a postcard size photo to send to friends.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 08, 2023

Passport Size Photo

Photo suitable for facial recognition.
Your passport size photo must be biometric to be accepted.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 08, 2023

Postcard Size Photo

Sized for placement in photo albums.
Our wedding album is filled with postcard size photos.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 08, 2023

Passport Size Photo

A photo specifically for formal identifications.
Submit two passport size photos with your visa application.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 08, 2023
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Postcard Size Photo

Standard size for personal photos.
Print these holiday pictures as postcard size photos, please.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 08, 2023

Passport Size Photo

Photo with a face looking straight and no smile.
Keep a neutral expression in your passport size photo.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 08, 2023

Postcard Size Photo

Larger area for artistic compositions.
The artist displayed postcard size photos at the exhibition.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 08, 2023

Passport Size Photo

A small photograph for official documents.
I need to get a passport size photo taken for my driver's license renewal.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 08, 2023

Postcard Size Photo

A keepsake from travels or events.
I bought a postcard size photo of the Grand Canyon.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 08, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

How large is a postcard size photo?

Typically 4x6 inches.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 11, 2023

Do passport size photos have a standard background color?

Yes, usually white or off-white.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 11, 2023

Can I smile in my passport size photo?

No, a neutral expression is required.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 11, 2023

Are postcard size photos suitable for professional prints?

Yes, they are commonly used for professional photo prints.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 11, 2023

What is a passport size photo used for?

It's used for official documentation like passports, visas, and IDs.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 11, 2023

Are there composition rules for postcard size photos?

No strict rules, they allow for creative compositions.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 11, 2023

What is the usual purpose of a passport size photo?

For official documentation like passports, visas, and IDs.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 11, 2023

What background is required for passport size photos?

A plain white or off-white background is standard.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 11, 2023

What are the standard dimensions of a passport size photo?

Typically, 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm) in the U.S., varying by country.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 11, 2023

Can I use a passport size photo as a postcard?

No, it's too small and not intended for that purpose.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 11, 2023

Can postcard size photos be used for invitations?

Yes, they're perfect for invitations and greeting cards.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 11, 2023

What are the standard dimensions of a postcard size photo?

Commonly 4 x 6 inches (101.6 x 152.4 mm).
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 11, 2023

Can postcard size photos have any background?

Yes, there are no specific background requirements.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 11, 2023

Do postcard size photos have a finish preference?

They can be either glossy or matte, depending on the purpose.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 11, 2023

What should I wear for a passport size photo?

Clothes that contrast with the background, avoiding uniforms or camouflaging attire.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 11, 2023

How recent must a passport size photo be?

Taken within the last six months to reflect your current appearance.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 11, 2023

Is there a typical use for postcard size photos?

Often used for personal prints, invitations, and photo albums.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 11, 2023

Are digital versions of passport or postcard size photos acceptable?

Digital passport photos are acceptable for online applications; postcard photos can be digital for printing.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 11, 2023

Are there any attire requirements for a passport size photo?

Clothes should be everyday wear, without uniforms or costumes.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 11, 2023

Can passport size photos be in color or black and white?

They are generally required to be in color.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 11, 2023

Can I print a passport size photo as a postcard size photo?

Not for official use, as the dimensions and specifications differ.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 11, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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