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Axemusica's avatar

Why do the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV, or MVD) have bad photography?

Asked by Axemusica (9397 points ) January 12th, 2011

Is it just me or does it seem as though every DMV (MVD what ever it may be in your state/place) has just horrible lighting and backdrops for taking the photo for your ID, license, ect…?

~BONUS~ Is there a reason behind this?

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13 Answers

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

All their pictures look awful, almost like mug shots! I’m so embarassed by my DL picture.

You know, I do actually know the reason behind it and I’ll tell you. It’s because [REDACTED]

ducky_dnl's avatar

So we can be forever tormented by our friends. I look horrible in mine.

coffeenut's avatar

Gives the cops something to laugh about when your pulled over….lol mine is just horrid….looks like half of my face has a sunburn…

bkcunningham's avatar

Nope. You really look like that.

Sunny2's avatar

I agree they can be pretty awful and not even look like you at all….What worked for me was telling the photographer that I’d like to keep the previous picture because I liked it. (It wasn’t bad.) The photographer argued that he could do a better one and paid more attention to what he did and I got another not bad one. I think the problem is the lighting, basically. That and the hurry-up situation the photographer is in. Whatever. There we are, looking our worst.

Austinlad's avatar

No money for decent photo equipment or training for employees.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

They have to graduate from DMV before doing mug shots at the PO-PO station. @Austinlad Hit it on the head – - equipment and lack of training.

Axemusica's avatar

I don’t think @Austinlad hit it on the head. Granted the training is probably the likely case, but not equipment. Well, at least the DMV up here has what looks like a pretty sophisticated system.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@Axemusica The reason I said equipment is that it is sophisticated but not maintained. Ferrari’s need more tune-ups than a Saturn.

Axemusica's avatar

@Tropical_Willie also true, but I doubt these really need to be “maintained” that much if at all. Unless something goes wrong then of course they’ll need it repaired, but I digress… I know the person running the machine might not know it’s full capabilities. My point being is, I’m no photographer, but I do know that a good backdrop and lighting can make or break a picture. For any type of camera.

For instance my license, I was under florescent with a blue back drop. In my picture I look physically ill. Now imagine how much of a difference it would’ve been to have one of those umbrella thingers with a neutral backdrop… like brown or cream… I dunno.

YARNLADY's avatar

Ours has really changed. There is a mirror on the divider just before you step up for the photo, and you can arrange your hair. The hard part is remembering to arrange your face.

Dutchess_III's avatar

If you pay them $99.99 they’ll do professional photography on you…Hey! What a concept! Any photographers out there? You could make a small fortune setting up shop at the DMV!!

Coloma's avatar

I just had my CA. license renewed and I HATE the new format. Same pic from about 8 years ago, but REALLY dark. Ugh!
Oh well…no biggy, considering I have NEVER been asked for my DL or had a violation aside from a parking ticket, once.

By the time I am required to take a new pic I’ll be about 100. lol

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