Whether you’re job hunting for part-time, full-time, or contract work, the thing that leaves a first and everlasting impression on a potential Japanese employer is the ID/face photo attached to your resume/CV. It is absolutely crucial to have in Japan, so you really have to make sure that it is perfect. If you want to know how to take the perfect face photo in Japan, simply follow our guide!
The Minimum Requirements for Face or ID Photos in Japan
Just like a passport photo, photos for resumes or CVs must meet certain requirements when it comes to size, lighting, background, and so on. In general:
- The photo must be 4 cm tall and 3 cm wide.
- The photo should have good lighting (no shadows at the edges, etc.).
- The background must not detract from the candidate’s face (ideally a solid muted color or white).
- The photo must have been taken within the last 3 months, or 6 months if you want to push it.
- If submitting a physical copy, the photo should have the candidate’s name written at the back.
- The candidate should be looking directly at the camera.
- The candidate’s facial features should not be obstructed (by their hair, a hat, or sunglasses, for example).
Candidates are expected to show a good appearance in the photo. That means dressing up in a suit or business casual, brushing their hair, and putting on very light makeup. However, Japanese companies are also looking for realism in the photos and typically do not look favorably upon touched-up photos. For this reason, most photo studios or booths don’t even offer those options.
As for price, the entire thing should cost you between 2,000 and 3,000 yen, with digital copies costing extra. If you manage to find a studio that does photo touch-ups, that will also carry with it even more additional costs and you may not be too happy with the final product, so it’s best to stick to presenting a realistic photo of yourself.
Where to Take Face/ID Photos in Japan?
Broadly speaking, there are three kinds of places you can turn to:
If you’ve spent some time in Japan, you must have seen all the photo booths set up in front of train stations, at supermarkets, and other places where people tend to congregate. Most Japanese people use those booths for their ID/face photos. A visit to a photo studio can set you back 3,000 yen or more, so if you’re in a hurry and just need a photo for a piece of ID like a driver’s license, a passport, or your MyNumber card, then you can save some money by using a photo booth, which costs between 700 and 1,000 yen. For that price, you can choose the color of the background and the size of the photos, with some newer machines even offering digital touch-ups. They’re a great option for those looking for speed and a low price. However, the picture quality of these booths isn’t that great, so we do not strongly recommend them for resume photos.
Nowadays, all smartphones have built-in cameras, and more and more people are using them to take ID photos. After using an app to take a photo and maybe touch it up a bit, you simply print the photo. You can do it at self-print stations which are often found in convenience stores or electronic retailers like Bic Camera or Kitamura. This should set you back around 500 yen – much more affordable than going to a photo studio!
However, the difference in quality between a printed selfie and a picture taken by a professional will be obvious from your posture, expression, and line of sight. Also, if you touch up the photo later, it’s going to lower its resolution a little, and unless you’re a pro with Photoshop and the like, it’s best to avoid manipulating your photos altogether because there’s a pretty big chance that you’ll mess something up. Taking an ID or face photo yourself may save you some money, but if you’re not careful, it’s going to cost you a lot of time.
Professional Photo Studios
Since resume photos can leave everlasting impressions on a potential employer, it’s probably best to leave the job to a professional photographer. Photo studios offer a wide range of services for all occasions, from basic ID photos to passport pictures and job-hunting photo packages. But, as we mentioned before, few places offer touch-up services, and those that do charge extra for them. Additionally, digital copies are usually not included in the base price, which is why professional photos can cost so much.
However, when you consider how much job hunting or job hopping can affect your life, it becomes easier to justify spending a little more money on a proper ID/face photo. Below, we’ve introduced a few Japanese photo studios where you can get some really high-quality pictures for your resume or CV.
Recommended Photo Studios
Akebonobashi Tops Shashinkan
With over 20 years of experience, Tops lives up to its name with top-quality services, including photo touch-ups, which only take about 15 minutes. Tops can be found at the Akebonobashi Shopping Arcade. The actual studio is located underground, but the entrance to it is clearly marked and easy to find.
|Name:||Akebonobashi Tops Shashinkan|
|Operating Hours:||11:00 am – 8:00 pm|
|Address:||8-24, B1F, Pratique Shinjuku Akebonobashi, Sumiyoshi-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo|
|Access:||3-minute walk from Exit A2 at Akebonobashi Station|
|Other||Prices differ depending on the plan|
For more information, contact the studio directly (03-6273-2416, 080-5682-2244)
MJ PHOTO STUDIO
Established on February 8, 2021 in Shin-Okubo, MJ Photo Studio has already made a name for itself in a very short amount of time. All of their photo sessions are by appointment only, which can be booked up to two months in advance. You should make your reservation quickly since the studio is usually booked solid for weeks at a time. It’s a testament to how much the studio is popular with young Japanese people and expats!
MJ Photo Studio offers a lot of services like profile pictures or quick ID photos, and their prices tend to be lower than at comparable businesses. Profile pictures must be booked about a week in advance, but quick and simple ID photos can be done almost immediately. On May 1st, MJ Photo Studio also opened a branch in Osaka.
MJ Photo Studio is located within walking distance from Shin-Okubo Station and Okubo Station. However, with nothing but a simple signboard advertising its location, the studio can be a little hard to find. What you need to do is exit Okubo Station through the South Exit, take the road on your right and go straight ahead. When you get to the Thai restaurant on your left, look for the real estate company across the street. The studio is located on the third floor of that building.
|Name:||MJ PHOTO STUDIO|
Weekdays: 11:30 am – 6:30 pm
Weekends, National Holidays: 11:00 am – 8:00 pm
12:30 pm – 5:30 pm
|Closed on:||Tuesdays (open on national holidays)|
December 30 – January 3 (Shin-Okubo)
December 30 – January 2 (Osaka)
1-23-1, 3F, Takikawa Hyakunincho Bldg., Hyakunin-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
1-9-11, Kitahorie, Nishi-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
|Access:||5-minute walk from Okubo Station (Shin-Okubo)|
1 minute walk from Yotsubashi Station (Osaka)
|Other||Online reservations available through the official website|
Price: From 1,980 yen. For more information, visit the official website.
This photo studio specializes in film and portraits and is very popular with both expats and Japanese people because of the skills of their photographers. Although their official website does not mention it, they do also offer passport and other ID photo services, though only by reservation. Those looking for high-quality, natural-looking ID photos should head on down to Studio 24K, which is located a 5-minute walk from Yoyogi Station’s North Exit in a quiet residential neighborhood. The studio is situated on the ground floor, so it should be easy to find.
|Operating Hours:||10:00 am – 6:00 pm|
|Address:||2-26-5, 1F, Balor Yoyogi Bldg., Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo|
東京都渋谷区代々木2-26-5 バロール代々木1F STUDIO24K
|Access:||4-minute walk from Yoyogi Station|
|Other:||Please contact the studio for reservations|
Prices differ depending on the plan
For more information, contact the studio directly (03-6884-5654)
Make Your Resume/CV Perfect
In order to assure that your resume leaves the best possible impression on a potential employer, the photo attached to your documents should be of the highest quality possible. While we strongly recommend photo studios, we hope the tips in this article help even those who choose alternative methods of getting their ID/face photo taken. Good luck in your job hunt!
Thumbnail image: PIXTA
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.