New Irish Law May Kill Photography Jobs


A group representing Irish photofinishers and related businesses says the country’s new driver’s license policies could kill as many as 500 photography jobs.

The new policy, which goes into effect at the end of September, require that all driver’s license photos be taken at a government National Driving License Service office at the time the license application is presented. Currently, Irish drivers can have their photo taken and printed at any commercial establishment that complies with official standards.

The new policy is meant to ensure that photos are electronically linked with the driver’s signature via the SAFE2 identification standard.


Photo ID Professionals Ireland, an industry group that represents the country’s photography shops and photofinishers, says the change will eliminate as many as 500 jobs in the industry. It will also mean that driver’s license photos will look like, well, driver’s license photos, since drivers can no longer choose the image that goes on their license.

And the change is unnecessary, says the group, as members are fully capable of working with the SAFE2 system.


“This is a red herring,” Tadhg Foley tells Dublin People. Foley is the head of the group and general manager of photo booth operator Photo-Me. “Photo booths, photo shops and pharmacies’ photo IDs meet all the standards required for SAFE2.”

(via Dublin People)

Image credits: Irish Driver’s License by User:O’Dea and Photo Booth by basheertome

  • Paul Frederiksen

    How exactly does this kill any photography jobs except for the guy with a disposable at the corner market? Nice sensationalist headline.

  • Michael Palmer

    So there are 500 people employed full time taking passport type photos in Ireland? Really?

  • Violeta

    How is that killing photography? In many European countries the ID photos are done only in police establishments, because of very strict requirements. There are still photo studios where you can get a photo done for school or travel documents, but that’s not the main business of the studios.

  • Pod

    In the US, you have to go to a government office to get your drivers license photo.

    Oddly enough, for a US passport photo, it can be done anywhere, by anyone, as long as it fits the specifications laid down by the federal government. You could do a “selfe” with your iPhone as long as the final image is up to the standard. But we don’t have full-time professional photographers deriving huge amounts of income from passport photos.

    The photo ID process here is basically automated at this point. Machines do most of it.

  • A.J.

    I had my passport photo shot at Walgreens.

  • Caca Milis

    Hmm I need a photo for my license, I shall just call my professional photographer! When I was young we used to just get our photo for the (Irish) passport done in a pharmacist or photo booth hardly so it hardly even affects the pro photographers,

  • Rob Elliott

    There are also 14 people employed carving celebrity faces into Potatoes with kale hair… I’m guessing.

  • Rob Elliott

    Well welcome to the 21st century. Though good on them for taking so long. :)

  • derekdj

    In the US the workers at the DMV are one level above TSA screeners and two levels below the fry cook at McDonalds, having your photo taken at the DMV has nothing to do with security and everything to do with government jobs. Same reason why you have to wait on three lines to process one license application.

  • Pod

    True! You could probably make an web app to process drivers license applications. You’d take your practical driving test, get some sort of confirmation number that you passed, and then you could do the “paperwork” at home, including uploading a photo. They’d check to make sure it was up to spec, and then print you off a license and send it over.

  • Kevin Purcell

    FWIW, the ICE in the USA now does all photography itself (digitally) along with digital fingerprint capture when you do the “in person” visit for a “Green Card”. I presume they want digital data for face recognition.

    That’s also a reason for DMVs going the same route. Digital is easier and it allows the iamges to be distributed for “other uses”.

  • Ralph Hightower

    Geez, in South Carolina, the Highway Department is the one that takes photos for drivers licenses. They even laminate the photo on the license while you wait.
    I don’t hear any photographers wanting to crack into the drivers license market in South Carolina.

  • Eugene Chok

    standard in lots of countries already… completely agree with the headline

  • eqwerwq

    they can work for the license office than.

  • Rob S

    I shot all the passport photos for my family including my own. Printed them at Costco. When I was in Afghanistan I shot a ton and printed them on a Pogo printer.

  • 9inchnail

    Yeah, but their jobs are safe for now. There is no government issue celebrity potato that I know of.

  • 9inchnail

    No, but let’s say a studio has 3 assistant photographers that do the menial jobs. Passport photos take about 30% of their time. Now that that is over, they can fire one of them because the other two can deal with the rest of the work.

  • 9inchnail

    In Germany it’s perfectly normal to go to a professional photographer, why not? Only takes you back 15 euros or something and you get a digital copy with it so that you can actually use it again if you happen to lose your passport or you want to use it for a driver’s licence as well. 15 bucks is reasonable and the photographer is not going to starve to death. After all it took 5 minutes out of his time.

  • Ashraf Saharudin

    So Ireland has these Professional Passport Photo Photographers, seriously? and that is the only photography genre available?

  • Graf Almassy

    Big deal. Many other countries has already use this type of IDs (driver licence, handgun licence, passport, personal ID, etc). Taking passport format photos isn’t a full time job nowadays.

  • oh noes

    i guess they will now have to take photos of value instead of cookie cutter portraits that have no value to anyone besides the person on the license