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Tips for Photos

All photos are subject to approval by the MSU ID Office.

Directions for Taking a Photo to Submit Online

  1. Take a new photo.
  2. Stand in front of a smooth, light background, such as a white wall.
  3. Use good lighting. Photos that are dark, overexposed, or show glare on glasses will not be accepted.
  4. Face forward and look at the camera.
  5. The photo should be a centered and front-facing headshot that doesn't need to go below the shoulders.


  • Use a recent color photo in JPG format.
  • Keep eyes open and visible.
  • Use a white or light color with a smooth background.
  • Center the photo and include a front view of the full face.
  • Crop the image in a square just above the top of the head to the collarbone.
  • Use good lighting.

examples of good photo submissions


  • Wear hats, graduation caps, sunglasses or other items that obscure your face.
  • Include other objects or people in the photo submitted.
  • Don't use patterns, texture or scenic backgrounds for your photo.
  • Use images that have glare from glasses or heavy shadows.
  • Use images that are overexposed or underexposed.

examples of bad photo submissions

The Most Common Reasons Photos are Rejected:

  • The photo is too far away.  Be sure to crop the photo so that it goes from the top of your head to the top of your shoulders.
  • Exposure - The photo is too light or too dark.
  • The background is not white or a light color.  Bright blue or red backgrounds are not acceptable.
  • Graduation photos.  These are typically not done using a white, smooth background and are a very high resolution which will not upload.

submit photo button


International Center
427 N. Shaw Lane, Room 170
East Lansing, MI 48824

Hours of Operation

Monday through Friday
8:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.


(517) 355-4500


(517) 353-2006