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Photo ID Guide Identification FAQs

Photo ID is just as important now (if not more important) than it was 10-plus years ago. ID Cards and photo IDs are used in many businesses and organizations. In a post-9/11 world, it is important to know who is in your building.

The photo ID world today consists of a wide range of both old and new technologies. This includes printers, cameras, cutters, laminators and more.

This guide will attempt to answer some common questions and provide some useful tips in your research. If you are unable to find answers to your questions, please feel free to call us at 1-888-225-9880 and speak with one of our knowledgeable representatives.

ID Card Printers

ID card printers are typically used to print full-color IDs on a credit card sized PVC card. These cards are typically used in businesses and organizations and can be placed in a wallet or hung on a lanyard. ID card printers are very easy to use and the end results look great. These printers use a process called dye sublimation to fuse color to the PVC card by use of a thermal print head. Double and single-sided versions of printers are available. You can find our ID card printers here.

ID Card Printer Supplies

We carry a wide variety of ID card printer supplies. This most commonly includes printer ribbons and blank PVC cards. Many of our customers also order cleaning kits to keep their ID printers running at top efficiency. You can find our selection of ID card printer supplies here.

ID Card Software

ID Card printers require the use of ID card software in order to create a printable design. Most ID software packages include easy-to-use templates. Packages vary depending on the amount of cards that will be printed. You can see a complete list of our ID card software here.

Signature Capture Pads

Signature capture pads, often referred to as pen tablets, are used to capture a signature digitally. These signatures can then be saved as an image or be placed on ID cards, spreadsheets, PDF files and much more. You can find our signature capture pads here.

Mag Stripe Encoders

Many modern ID card printers include built-in magnetic stripe encoders. If your printer does not have one, you can buy a separate stand-alone encoder. Magnetic strips can be used to encode data for gift cards, ID badges and much more. You can find our stand-alone mag stripe encoders here.


Modern ID systems typically include a digital camera for capturing images. We do, however, offer older composite-style (Polaroid style) cameras that develop images on instant film. These images can then be cut out and placed on an ID card for lamination. Although this system of ID card creation is older, it is still popular to use. You can find our ID cameras here. Our two-lens models are often used for passport pictures.

Slot Punches

Slot punches are used to punch holes for use with lanyards, badge reels and more. Most slot punches can be used to punch through laminated and PVC cards. You can find our slot punches here.

Die Cutters

Die cutters are used to punch out pictures, typically created with composite ID cameras. These pictures can then be used for ID cards. Some of our higher-end die cutters can also be used to cut out plastic, paper and other shapes / patterns. You can find our die cutters here.


Laminators are an integral part of photo ID, especially if you are using a composite Polaroid-style camera. Once a picture has been taken and cut to size, it can then be placed on a pre-printed card and be laminated. Lamination provides essential protection for ID badges and helps dramatically extend their lifespan. You can find our entire selection of laminators here.

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