Ten things to know when getting an official photo

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --

You’re about to apply for that dream special duty that will rocket your career forward. All that’s left in your package is an official photo. You know you look good. Now all you have to do is call the Kirtland Air Force Base photo lab and show up, right?

Well, it’s not that simple.

Here are the 10 things you need to know before you take your official photo:

1.  Always provide the correct information to the photo lab.

This is an easy step that’s often overlooked. When you call the photo lab at 505-846-4878, make sure you give them the following:  

-- Name, rank, phone number.

-- Type of photo: ISOPREP, DA, passport, full length, official portrait, etc. (usually found in the instructions of your package).

-- Size of photo: 8x10, 5x7, passport, etc.

-- For full length photographs, the desired background color (white, blue or gray), which position you will be facing (front, 3/4 turn or profile) and the uniform requirements. 

2.  The photo lab accommodates all branches, and civilians.

No matter what it is you do, the photo lab knows how to take your photo according to your branch or affiliation.

3. Call to schedule at least one week in advance, and then prepare yourself for your appointment.

Set your own appointment reminder on your calendar or phone (or both). Make sure your uniform is squared away. Press your uniform to get rid of wrinkles, as the studio lights will highlight them more. If you need to cancel or reschedule, call the photo lab before your appointment.

4. Arrive early.

The photo lab, located in Building 20140, has two dressing rooms available. If you arrive and plan to use one of them, give yourself ample time to do so, so your appointment can start on time.

5. You’ll even get a copy of your photo the same day.

Digital copies of your photos are emailed to you the same day of your appointment. If you require a print copy, it will take a day typically for production and you will be notified when it’s completed. Prints can be picked up during normal operating hours, Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

6. No, the photo lab can’t get rid of pimples, wrinkles or gray hair.

The alteration of official Department of Defense imagery is prohibited according to DoD instructions. There are some exceptions; photographic techniques common to traditional darkrooms and digital imaging stations are allowed, such as dodging, burning, color balancing, spotting, and contrast adjustment.

7. You can bring a friend with you to assist.

It’s always encouraged to bring another set of eyes with you. They might see something that you missed and help you fix it.

8. For group photos, the limit inside the studio is 7.

If your group is larger, you can schedule a photographer to come to you for a group photo. Many facilities on base do group photos in their conference rooms, in front of their buildings, or alternate locations such as Hardin Field.

9. If you can’t make it during normal hours…

If no matter what you do you still can’t make it during normal appointment hours, call the photo lab and one of the photographers will see if they can accommodate you for a special appointment. Studio hours are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 8 to 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. There are 11 30-minute slots per day.

10.   The photo lab cannot print you a personal copy.

The digital copy the photo lab sends you has a resolution of 300 dpi (dots per inch) and you are welcome to make your own prints of the image.

If you have any questions or for more information, call the photo lab at 505-846-4878.