Make Your Own Mug Shot

Smile for the Camera in a Fake Police Mug Shot or for a Newsletter Headshot

Mug shot of disheveled woman
rubberball/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Pictures of people that focus on just the head or from mid-chest and up are called headshots or mug shots. Mugshots can be serious photos or seriously fun. One kind of mug shot is the photo taken of people who have been arrested. These are police booking photos. People like to make fake mug shots of themselves or friends too. Then, there are also the mug shots (headshots) that are used in newsletters and business brochures, book jackets, and school yearbooks.

These generally have nothing to do with crime. Which kind of mug shot do you want to make?

In this Document:

  • Create Fake Police Booking Photos
  • Browse Collections of Real Mug Shots
  • Tips on Using Headshots / Mug Shots


Create Fake Police Mug Shots

Less traumatic than getting yourself arrested, create a fake police booking photo of yourself or a friend as a gag gift. Use the fake photos in postcards or greeting cards or as your Facebook profile pic. Turn your mug shot into a fun WANTED Poster using posed or candid shots, free fonts, and paper backgrounds. You can easily make your own fake mug shot with a digital camera or camera phone and basic graphics software (even Windows Paint will work for this):

  1. Look the part by messing up your hair, not shaving, smearing your makeup.
  2. Use a plain white or gray or light but solid background.
  3. Use harsh or unflattering lighting.
  4. Look bored, half-asleep, embarrassed, a little angry, drunk, confused, or make a weird face.
  1. Hold up a sign with your name, date, and location (or you can add this later in your graphics software).
  2. Take a headshot (basically mid-chest and up) and don't worry too much about being perfectly in focus.
  3. Optionally, do both a face forward and a profile pic and arrange side-by-side in your graphics software.
  1. Crop the photo as necessary in your graphics software. Add a sign if you didn't use one in a photo. Don't retouch the photo to make it look better. Poor quality looks more realistic.

Or, use one of these online resources to modify your headshot into a mug shot.

  • Mugshot Maker is a Java applet that lets you upload a photo and turn it into a mug shot.
  • Fantasy Felon requires registration but it's free and lets you turn your photo into a booking photo. Includes tips on the best photos to use to create a more realistic booking photo.

Look at Real Police Mug Shots

Go out and get yourself arrested and you can get yourself a real, bona fide police booking photo. If you'd rather just look at pictures of real criminals here's a collection for your entertainment:

  • Weird Crime Mug Shot Hall of Shame: Celebrity Edition. These aren't concert photos or glamor shots of Willie Nelson, David Cassidy, Lindsay Lohan, and others
  • Mug Shots of Musicians. Did these folks get a bad rap?
  • Mafia Mug Shots has John Gotti, Al Capone, and other classic gangsters and good fellas.

Use People Picture Mug Shots / Headshots

Don't put a lot of ugly mugs in your newsletter. For this kind of use, you want headshots that look good — not like a rogue's gallery of weird criminals.

  • Read 5 Ways to Use Mug Shots More Creatively for ideas on how to resize 'em and embellish those people pics to make your newsletter (or yearbook) more interesting.
  • Learn How to Use Pictures of People with a purpose and make them look better too.
  • Use Daily Mugshot, a service that lets you take daily (or however often you want) photos of yourself and create an animation sequence you can use on your Website.
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Your Citation
Bear, Jacci Howard. "Make Your Own Mug Shot." ThoughtCo, Jul. 23, 2017, Bear, Jacci Howard. (2017, July 23). Make Your Own Mug Shot. Retrieved from Bear, Jacci Howard. "Make Your Own Mug Shot." ThoughtCo. (accessed January 19, 2018).