I shot a biometric photo at a studio and that photo doesn't meet government photo requirements. They tried but failed.

  • The photograph must be a color photograph and unedited
  • The size of a document photo must be between 1 MB and 5 MB.
  • Pixel dimensions must be 1300 x 1600 pixels.
  • Must be in JPEG format.

So how I can increase the file size without resizing the image? Thanks.

  • requirement about 1 Mb and 5 Mb is a very strange one. You sure it realy says so? If yes, just open it it any graphic editor and re-save with max quality settings.
    – Zenit
    Nov 9, 2022 at 12:53
  • Assuming you have followed the guidelines on framing, and how much the subject fills the frame, what are your compression choices? A photograph meeting the guidelines is easily fulfilling these requirements. At those pixel dimensions, and you're asking for 'increasing file size', that must mean the photograph is too small in file size, so the compression might be too high. Lower compression, for greater quality, and see the file size change, thereby increasing. Nov 9, 2022 at 12:55
  • 1
    Reducing compression won't improve the resolution of the image if it's in .jpg -- that "lossy" compression format has discarded the additional information that would have gone into higher resolution. The size requirement is very minimal, I don't know how a studio could fail with a too-small file unless they're using a fifteen year old cell phone as a camera...
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Nov 9, 2022 at 13:04
  • 1
    I took it at their literal words - they do not ask to 'improve resolution', only to 'increase file size'. Compression choices have a direct impact on file size. The tag indicates a Canon 60D which is fine. It's quite hard to see how it fails, unless the failure is somewhere else, and not (only) the file size (which is why I ask if it fulfils all other guidelines). I do wonder if they have access to the original file (as the photographer) or if the 1300x1600 file is all they have been given (as the client). Nov 9, 2022 at 13:12
  • 4
    That requirement about minimum file size is proof that government bureaucrats do not have any idea what they talk about.
    – Rafael
    Nov 9, 2022 at 20:28

4 Answers 4


Just load the file into a graphics editor and save with considerably higher quality settings. While theoretically the current state of the image would be perfectly represented by just writing the same file, the JPEG compression algorithms aren't able to exploit this chance of never increasing file size.

You'll not actually gain any image quality (in fact, it will rather deteriorate though very slightly so), but you may well gain file size.

Another expedient would be to add a large EXIF comment in a graphics editor or even in a pure EXIF editor, like some photo managers may be able to do without changing the image data as such. While it will not contribute anything to the actual image data, it will add to the file size.

  • 3
    Loving the idea of adding a very large comment.
    – Philip Kendall
    Nov 9, 2022 at 13:06
  • @PhilipKendall, on site saw image 2.5MB with 1.7MB meta :D Nov 9, 2022 at 13:15

In theory:

  • Load the image into your favourite non-trivial image editing program (GIMP will do the trick and is free)
  • Save the image at high enough quality that it is the right size; in GIMP this is:
    • File/Export
    • Select a filename ending in .jpeg (or .jpg)
    • In the "Export Image as JPEG" dialog, tick "Show preview in image window"
    • Move the quality slider at the top of the dialog box until the image is at least 1 Mb in size.

I would urge you to double-check if these are actually the requirements though; even 1 Mb is actually pretty large for a 1300×1600 portrait, 5 Mb seems pretty ridiculous for what is actually a 2 megapixel photo.

  • 1
    An uncompressed 2 megapixel image would be 6 MB at 8 bits per channel. Sounds like the spec was written for .tif or .bmp formats.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Nov 9, 2022 at 13:06
  • Yeah, precisely that. Seeing the OP's comment on the question, the other possibility is that something has got lost in the translation from Estonian to English.
    – Philip Kendall
    Nov 9, 2022 at 13:08
  • all the requirements are ok, only the file size does not meet the requirement. @PhilipKendall Nov 9, 2022 at 13:14

Nowhere in those instructions it says to upload a JPEG. Save it as uncompressed TIFF and it will be good enough for government work (literally).

  • PNG would get them over the 1mb threshold too. I do see other sites specifying JPEG only, but this site did not, similarly I have seen some also allow PNG. Nov 9, 2022 at 18:36

Just for the sake of completeness, I propose another way of increasing file size of an image without resizing it - Embed your favourite novel in the image!

From my (basic) understanding it, you can "hide" any information within the pixel data of an image. I used to send encoded love notes to my girlfriend a few years ago and while everyone saw only an image, my girlfriend could decode it with our password and read the note.

You could totally put in the complete works of Sherlock Holmes if you wanted.

  • 1
    The question asks specifically for JPEG images while the linked steganography solution only works for PNG files. Without having looked into the specifics, I would assume that steganography with least-significant-bit encoding does not change the resulting file size (or only slightly if lossless compression is used in the PNG).
    – Emil
    Nov 11, 2022 at 12:47

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