Does Iowa Allow You to Smile in Your State ID Photo? Sort of
When you have to hang onto your driver's license or state ID for 8 years (more or less depending on where you live) I would guess most people would rather have a half-decent photo instead of something unflattering.
We might all lie about our height and weight on our IDs but it's pretty tough to lie about what we look like without taking drastic measures. I've personally always wanted to look like a nice and friendly person in my license pictures. I know it won't help but I've always hoped if I get pulled over the officer might think I'm a nice guy and let me off with a warning. It's a long shot... but it's better than nothing!
Are you allowed to smile when you take your license picture in the state of Iowa? Sort of. It would depend on your definition of what a smile is. If you aren't showing your teeth, are you still smiling? I'm on team "you can definitely smile without your teeth."
So yes, you can smile when you get a new license or ID picture. You just can't smile showing your teeth. Maybe it'd be better to say you can smirk when taking your picture. It might seem like a strange rule but there is a reason why this is a thing in many states in the U.S.
When you smile showing your teeth in your license photo it can distort and blur the image. Even if slightly, this can be an issue when it comes to the state of Iowa solving crimes. Even the smallest bit of distortion can affect facial recognition technology. According to KCCI, clear pictures work best with facial recognition software. This has helped identify hundreds of false identity investigations.
I'm not going to upload my ID to this article but I can show you exactly what my face looks like in the picture, minus the baseball hat. Would this be considered smiling? As I'm looking at my ID right next to this picture... it's pretty much the exact same.