Print Your Passport Photo for less than 10 Cents!!
I’m going to the Dominican Republic, ya’ll!! I can’t tell you how excited I was to book my trip. I used a travel agency to manage my trip so everything was finalized and in order except one little thing: my passport. I guess it’s pretty important to have if I want to leave the country! Unfortunately, my passport expired which meant I needed to apply for a new one ASAP. So I checked with the US Department of State’s for the necessary guidelines. The application looked simple to fill out but then I got to the passport photo requirements and the list is extensive.
Guidelines for a passport photo include:
- Use a plain white or off-white background
- 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm)
- Head must be between 1 -1 3/8 inches (25 – 35 mm) from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head
- Printed on matte or glossy photo quality paper
- You cannot wear glasses
And this isn’t even the full list!
With all these rules, it sounded like I would need a professional to take my picture which wasn’t my first choice. So I did some research and found a passport photo app by Walgreens that would allow me to take the photo at home. Sounds perfect, right? Not exactly.
At $13 for 2 photos, I was reconsidering the idea entirely.
But then I came across another app called Passport Photo Booth. Using this app plus some discounts from Walgreens, I was able to print 4 passport photos for a total of 35¢!!! This was such a big savings so I figured I’d share how I did.
If you’re looking for a quick, simple method this is not it. But if you’re looking to save a few bucks on an already expense application please read on.
CREATE THE PERFECT PASSPORT PHOTO
What you’ll need:
- A passport photo app
- A white wall or sheet of foam core – 5′ x 5′ at least
- Good lighting – natural is best
- Photo editing software (optional)*
*Note: Extremely digitally altered passport photos are not accepted. So don’t change your hair color or reshape your face or something.
First, download the app.
Next, set up your photo studio.
Oddly, my place does not have any white walls so I had to use a very large sheet of white foam core. You can get foam core at a craft store like Michael’s or Walmart. I propped the foam core on the seat of my chair.
Check your lighting. Thankfully, I have a lot of natural light coming through my windows but I had to adjust the blinds to get rid of the bright spots on my face. If you have access to light equipment and know how to use it please do. Otherwise, I would NOT suggest using artificial lighting.
Time to take your passport photo.
The app opens with the camera activated and an outline of where to place your body in the frame. Along the bottom, you’ll find a button to read instructions, take a picture and turn off the self-timer. At the top you can switch to the front-facing camera.
This app works best if you have someone take the photo for you. So have them stand or sit in front of you to capture the best angle. The provided outline is completely disproportionate to an actual human body. So just focus on getting your head in the frame.
It is pretty difficult to take a passport photo of yourself, however, using a mirror, an extra chair, and some pillows, I managed to take a few of my own. They came out ok but it’s still much, much easier if someone does it for you.
After you snap a photo, you’ll be prompted to save or email your image. Either will work. I emailed mine so that I could open it on my computer and edit it with Lightroom. And also because I have like zerooo space on my iPhone (le sigh). When you save your image it will actually be printed twice on a 4 x 6 image (see below). The app doesn’t keep a catalog of all the images you take so I would suggest saving every image and deleting the bad ones later.
If necessary, now is the time to download your photos and adjust the lighting. I downloaded a free trial of Adobe Lightroom to adjust my passport photos. I am NOT an expert but Adobe has some great Lightroom tutorials to help you get started.
Here is the before and after:
Finally, print your passport photos.
I used Walgreens Photo Center because it’s close by and I already had an account. If you don’t have an account you’ll need one. I simply uploaded 2 of my 4 x 6 images – or four 2 x 2 passport photos.
Each 4 x 6 image costs 29¢ to print. By chance, Walgreens was having a 40% off sale on all prints so I paid 35¢ for 4 photos or about 9¢ per photo!
Much cheaper than the $13 I was thinking about paying!
Overall, this method worked out really well but it was a bit time-consuming. However, if you’re looking to save a few bucks definitely give it a try and let me know what you think.
P.S. My passport application was accepted and I just received my passport in the mail!
Have you printed your own passport photos? Will you try printing them yourself now? Let me know in the comments below!