Difference Wiki

Passport Size Photo vs. Postcard Size Photo: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on November 19, 2023
Passport size photo is a small, standardized photo used in passports, while postcard size photo is larger, used for postcards and other displays.

Key Differences

Passport size photos and postcard size photos differ primarily in their dimensions and uses. A passport size photo is typically a small photograph, measuring about 2 inches by 2 inches (5 cm by 5 cm), used mainly for official documents like passports, visas, and identification cards. In contrast, a postcard size photo is larger, usually around 4 inches by 6 inches (10 cm by 15 cm), and is used for printing images on postcards or for personal photo displays.
The specific requirements for passport size photos are usually very strict, with guidelines on the size, background color, and the subject's pose and expression. These photos must accurately represent the individual's current appearance. Postcard size photos are more flexible in terms of content and style, often used for casual photography, holiday greetings, or as souvenirs.
In terms of printing and quality, passport size photos require high resolution to ensure clear facial recognition. Postcard size photos, being larger, can accommodate more detailed images and are often used for artistic or scenic photographs, with less emphasis on the resolution compared to the purpose of display or sending messages.
The purpose of a passport size photo is primarily identification, making it essential for security and official use. On the other hand, postcard size photos are more for personal use, sharing memories, and communication, often featuring landscapes, tourist attractions, or personal photographs.
While both passport size and postcard size photos are forms of personal photography, they serve different purposes and adhere to different standards of size, content, and usage.

Comparison Chart


About 2x2 inches (5x5 cm)
About 4x6 inches (10x15 cm)

Primary Use

Official documents like passports, IDs
Postcards, personal photo displays

Photo Requirements

Strict guidelines on size, pose, expression
More flexible in content and style


Identification and security
Personal use, sharing memories, communication

Resolution and Quality

High resolution for clear facial recognition
Accommodates detailed images, less strict on resolution

Passport Size Photo and Postcard Size Photo Definitions

Passport Size Photo

A small photograph used in official identification documents.
I need to get a passport size photo for my visa application.

Postcard Size Photo

Popular for creating personalized postcards or photo albums.
We made custom postcards using postcard size photos from our trip.

Passport Size Photo

Used for governmental and administrative purposes.
Submit two passport size photos with your application form.

Postcard Size Photo

Offers more space for detailed imagery.
The postcard size photo displayed the intricate details of the artwork.

Passport Size Photo

Must adhere to specific size and appearance guidelines.
Ensure your passport size photo has a white background and a neutral expression.

Postcard Size Photo

A larger photo typically used for personal or decorative purposes.
We printed our vacation pictures as postcard size photos.

Passport Size Photo

Essential for international travel documents.
Your passport size photo must be recent for accurate identification.

Postcard Size Photo

Commonly used in casual photography and greetings.
I sent a postcard size photo of our family as a Christmas greeting.

Passport Size Photo

Often requires a professional photography service.
I went to the studio to get my passport size photo taken.

Postcard Size Photo

Ideal for printing scenic or artistic images.
The postcard size photo captured the stunning landscape perfectly.


What is a passport size photo?

A small standardized photo used primarily for official identification documents.

What are the dimensions of a passport size photo?

Approximately 2 inches by 2 inches (5 cm by 5 cm).

What is a postcard size photo?

A larger photo typically used for personal, decorative, or communication purposes.

Can I use any photo as a passport size photo?

No, passport size photos must meet specific guidelines regarding size, background, and the subject's appearance.

Are postcard size photos used for official documents?

No, they are typically used for personal or decorative purposes.

Is a white background necessary for passport size photos?

Yes, most passport size photo requirements include a plain white or off-white background.

Can postcard size photos be used for greetings?

Yes, they are commonly used for personalized greetings and postcards.

Are passport size photos used for visa applications?

Yes, they are commonly required for visa and other official applications.

How recent should a passport size photo be?

It should be a recent photo, typically taken within the last six months.

How large is a postcard size photo?

Usually about 4 inches by 6 inches (10 cm by 15 cm).

Do passport size photos require high resolution?

Yes, to ensure clear facial recognition and identification.

Can postcard size photos be used in photo albums?

Yes, they are a popular choice for creating photo albums.

Can I create a custom postcard with a postcard size photo?

Yes, custom postcards can be made using postcard size photos.

What are the common uses of postcard size photos besides postcards?

They are used for photo displays, scrapbooking, and as souvenirs.

Can I print scenic images as postcard size photos?

Yes, postcard size photos are ideal for scenic or artistic images.

Can passport size photos be used for non-governmental IDs?

Yes, they are often used for various types of identification cards, including school and work IDs.

Should a passport size photo have a neutral expression?

Yes, a neutral expression is typically required for passport size photos.

Are postcard size photos good for landscape photography?

Yes, their larger size makes them suitable for capturing and displaying landscapes.

Do I need a professional photographer for a passport size photo?

While not always required, professional services ensure that the photo meets the necessary standards.

Is it possible to print a postcard size photo at home?

Yes, if you have a printer capable of handling the size and quality required for postcard size photos.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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