DMV photographer Michal Ziemet believes he has perfected the process of taking driver’s license photos after shooting half a million of them.
In fact, Ziemet’s affable nature makes going to the DMV a far more enjoyable affair than the usual frustrating process that many Americans face.
Ziemet has worked at the DMV in Madison, Wisconsin since 1987 and has sculpted the process to as perfect as can be, including taking the photos.
Starting in the mail rooms, Ziemet moved on to working the phones before he became “chief photographer” 16 and a half years ago.
“I generally ask people to look down a little bit and then look up at the camera and that seems to work out best,” Ziemet tells CBS.
“It is something I have learned over time that we get better pictures that way.”
Ziemet also believes a little kindness goes a long way and likes to take a personable approach.
“I like to make it as personal as I can just because I feel like I want to make it as nice an experience people can possibly have when they come in here, it’s important to me,” he says.
Ziemet is believed to have taken over half a million driver’s license photos over the past 16 years, any new license holders in Madison, Wisconsin during that time likely had their photo taken by him.
“I meet so many people that I could not possibly meet without having a job like this,” he adds.
Ziemet even tries to make the experience more bearable for people by attempting to shorten the wait times.
“We generally get finished with people within 20 minutes,” he explains. “In 20 minutes they’ll have their picture taken and be done.”
Aside from having a posing technique, Ziemet also believes that a smile goes a long way.
“Smiling here is not mandatory but we strongly encourage it. A lot of people come in and think they’re not allowed to smile,” he says.
“Generally, people have better pictures when they smile although some people do good with serious looks as well.”
Ziemet’s operation is far better than a DMV in Tennessee who printed a photo of an empty chair on a woman’s licence, but maybe not as thorough as Khloe Kardashian who brought her own lighting to the DMV.