Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

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lightheir
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Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by lightheir » Mon Apr 18, 2016 11:04 am

It's time for me to renew my passport.

I was hoping to DIY the passport photo using my cellphone camera and ordering the color print from Shutterfly or some drugstore service (I don't have a color printer) - there seems to be some phone apps and even websites that 'optimize' the size/picture for you, but it's still unclear to me how well these work.

I could also just spent the $12 and go to the local photo guy who does it, but aside from the price, it seems like a waste of 40 minutes of my life to go drive out there and do it.

Anyone done it recently and have a good, easy working solution to DIY passport photos. (USA)

ronako
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by ronako » Mon Apr 18, 2016 11:16 am

Yes, I've done it recently. I use a free passport photo app that when taking a picture helps show where your head and shoulders should be. Then it automatically saves your photo in a 4 x 6 format. Then you can just have the photo printed anywhere for about 13-15 cents a photo. I took 3 different photos just to have more than one to select. So my total cost was like 55 cents.

I think most of time time spent is trying to have a nice white background behind you and getting the perfect lighting.

But rather than going to a place and getting ripped off for $12, I can actually take my photo multiple times myself to get the perfect one that I want.
Last edited by ronako on Mon Apr 18, 2016 11:19 am, edited 2 times in total.

fourwaystreet
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by fourwaystreet » Mon Apr 18, 2016 11:16 am

My wife and I had our photos done right as the post office. I don't remember what the charge was but it was an easy process.

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cheese_breath
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by cheese_breath » Mon Apr 18, 2016 11:19 am

So a passport lasts 10 years. That's $1.20 per year for the picture and 4 minutes driving time per year if you use the photo guy. Or you could spend hours reviewing our advice on what you should do and maybe pay a buck at the drugstore. I know what I'd do. Hello photo guy. :D
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user5027
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by user5027 » Mon Apr 18, 2016 11:19 am

The wife and I did ours at the local photo shop for around $10 each. Our son did his himself and his application was rejected due to the photo. Make sure you comply with the dimensions between your head and the photo edges.

edited for spelling
Last edited by user5027 on Mon Apr 18, 2016 11:21 am, edited 2 times in total.

jpelder
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by jpelder » Mon Apr 18, 2016 11:20 am

The State Department has an online tool to size your self-taken photo

See https://travel.state.gov/content/passpo ... hotos.html

adamthesmythe
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by adamthesmythe » Mon Apr 18, 2016 11:27 am

Tried it recently. It was a non-US passport and they didn't like it. Had to be redone by a passport photo company.

Even with a US passport- considering the delay and nuisance if they reject it- go for the photo guy.

lightheir
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by lightheir » Mon Apr 18, 2016 11:28 am

cheese_breath wrote:So a passport lasts 10 years. That's $1.20 per year for the picture and 4 minutes driving time per year if you use the photo guy. Or you could spend hours reviewing our advice on what you should do and maybe pay a buck at the drugstore. I know what I'd do. Hello photo guy. :D
True, but given that if you learn how to do it once, and it probably only takes <5 mins to learn if the app above works, I can reuse the same skill again and again for the spouse and kid when their renewals inevitably come up. Kind of like investing the time to learn a repeating DIY home repair rather than calling the repair guy every time, even if it's not that pricey.

This is def a worthwhile investment in time to learn for me if I can do it easily from my home and just have the photo mailed to me if that app makes it as painless as it seems.

mickens16
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by mickens16 » Mon Apr 18, 2016 11:30 am

We did ours at Costco. Took all of 5 minutes.

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blueblock
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by blueblock » Mon Apr 18, 2016 11:35 am

I did it myself with my phone last year, of course paying attention to the instructions, which is always advisable.

Easy breezy.

harrychan
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by harrychan » Mon Apr 18, 2016 11:41 am

You can DIY. The more difficult part is to find a plain white background with lighting so it doesn't create a shadow. There wasn't any at my house so I had to go to a church lol.
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.

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climber2020
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by climber2020 » Mon Apr 18, 2016 11:44 am

I did this using the template of the official US government passport website and my point and shoot camera zoomed in to about an 85mm equivalent focal length. No problem getting it accepted the first time. I do the same for visa photos as well.

You can use a program like GIMP or Photoscape to copy multiple photos on a 4x6 inch template so that each 4x6 print yields several passport sized photos.

If you use your cell phone, your face is going to look distorted and weird, if that sort of thing bothers you. Any wide angle lens (like what is on every single cell phone) will do this. Make sure you have a plain background and lighting set up so there are no shadows.

retire14
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by retire14 » Mon Apr 18, 2016 11:50 am

I used a iPhone free app and instructions to make sure that the head size is correct as per the passport website. Download the file to USB flashcard. Went to CVS and printed. I have done this several times for members of my family. Worked every time.

dubsem
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by dubsem » Mon Apr 18, 2016 11:55 am

I took a photo against a white backdrop and scaled it using windows paint. Ended up with 4 passport photos on a 4x6 print.
G.O.O.D.

JW-Retired
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by JW-Retired » Mon Apr 18, 2016 11:58 am

mickens16 wrote:We did ours at Costco. Took all of 5 minutes.
Yep, so did we. Costco is quick.
JW
Retired at Last

Quark
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by Quark » Mon Apr 18, 2016 12:12 pm

I took a photo of my wife against a white background, resized it with an app, uploaded to CVS and had them print it. Very easy and the picture came out much better than any commercial service we've used.

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TNL
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by TNL » Mon Apr 18, 2016 12:39 pm

JW-Retired wrote:
mickens16 wrote:We did ours at Costco. Took all of 5 minutes.
Yep, so did we. Costco is quick.
JW
Another vote for Costco. We have had ours and our kids done at Costco for the last 2-3 renewals. We just do it when we are there to do our shopping (we are at Costco at least once a week anyway for groceries). I can't recall how much it is. Maybe about $5 per person and they will have the photos done for you in an hour or less. So easy. I would rather do that than risk the chance that my photos wouldn't conform, be rejected, and then start the process all over again. Getting renewals for children anyway is a real pain with all the documents that are required nowadays. I try to streamline the process and reduce the risks of having to do things over and over again as much as possible.

ArmchairArchitect
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by ArmchairArchitect » Mon Apr 18, 2016 12:44 pm

Got mine done at a CVS pharmacy, it's a service of theirs:
http://www.cvs.com/photo/passport-photos

caseynshan
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by caseynshan » Mon Apr 18, 2016 1:13 pm

Recently tried passport photo apps, But the pictures kept getting slightly colored backgrounds.. I gave up and went to walgreens.. was about $7

4th and Inches
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by 4th and Inches » Mon Apr 18, 2016 1:20 pm

Don't overthink it. Just go to a drugstore and get a picture taken for a few dollars.

EagertoLearnMore
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by EagertoLearnMore » Mon Apr 18, 2016 1:27 pm

Try using epassportphoto.com. http://www.epassportphoto.com/

Follow directions and print yourself or save on flash drive and take to a quick print store for less than 10 cents.

We have used this method several times and never had a problem with getting the passport.

centrifuge41
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by centrifuge41 » Mon Apr 18, 2016 1:33 pm

Agree, lighting is the hard part. If you have the right lighting/background, using epassportphoto is easy and free to create a jpg 4"x6". You can even manipulate that file to get 6 2x2 photos, if you prefer, before printing it at your favorite drugstore/club for dimes.

investor421
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by investor421 » Mon Apr 18, 2016 1:39 pm

Just go to walgreens, they have a roll down white background and do everything for you within 5 minutes.

DTSC
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by DTSC » Mon Apr 18, 2016 2:09 pm

Just pay $5 at Costco. I used to DIY, but it just isn't worth the time and bother.

RudyS
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by RudyS » Mon Apr 18, 2016 2:17 pm

If you are a AAA member, you get one for yourself free. In Michigan, associate members get theirs free too.

tenkuky
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by tenkuky » Mon Apr 18, 2016 2:22 pm

RudyS wrote:If you are a AAA member, you get one for yourself free. In Michigan, associate members get theirs free too.
AAA charges $8 for members and $16 for non-members where I live.
I have to do my DD soon, will try the iphone app.

quantAndHold
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by quantAndHold » Mon Apr 18, 2016 2:39 pm

In a past life I was a professional photographer, so when my last passport renewal came up, I dug out the professional lights, background, and camera. Took the pictures, edited them in Photoshop according to the specs on the State Department website. Printed everything at Costco. The prints looked fabulous, were accepted, and only cost $0.35, if you discount the couple thousand dollars worth of gear and software that was involved, and the time it took to set everything up, take the pictures, do the editing, then drive to Costco to pick up the prints.

Your cell phone camera will make your nose and chin look huge. Is that really how you want to look for the next 10 years of your life? Just go to Costco, get it done, and go on with life.

an_asker
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by an_asker » Mon Apr 18, 2016 2:55 pm

EagertoLearnMore wrote:Try using epassportphoto.com. http://www.epassportphoto.com/

Follow directions and print yourself or save on flash drive and take to a quick print store for less than 10 cents.

We have used this method several times and never had a problem with getting the passport.
+1!

southbay
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by southbay » Mon Apr 18, 2016 3:05 pm

DTSC wrote:Just pay $5 at Costco. I used to DIY, but it just isn't worth the time and bother.
low priced services like this are an excellent way to get you to come shop. smart move by costco. win-win for the business and customer. they sell that cheap food to lure you there too.

jeff1949
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by jeff1949 » Mon Apr 18, 2016 4:05 pm

JW-Retired wrote:
mickens16 wrote:We did ours at Costco. Took all of 5 minutes.
Yep, so did we. Costco is quick.
JW
Ditto from us. :sharebeer

BogleBoogie
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by BogleBoogie » Mon Apr 18, 2016 4:54 pm

southbay wrote:
DTSC wrote:Just pay $5 at Costco. I used to DIY, but it just isn't worth the time and bother.
low priced services like this are an excellent way to get you to come shop. smart move by costco. win-win for the business and customer. they sell that cheap food to lure you there too.
I don't need to be lured there by cheap food. I am lured by the bargains and pick up the cheap food on the way to the car. It is kind of the opposite, at least for me.

sk.dolcevita
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by sk.dolcevita » Mon Apr 18, 2016 5:59 pm

I am a compulsive DIY'er so I had to do this at home. I used a Canon point-and-shoot camera. The big issue was lighting and background (white wall in my case). Despite my best efforts, I had to correct for these using GIMP. Spent several hours of my free time, but then I enjoy learning new things (in this case GIMP). Used another online site to build a 4" X 6" print with 6 pictures and had it printed for pennies at Costco (I was going there anyway). Now I have enough passport pictures to last me for ever. Unfortunately, I will be aging in the meantime so not of much use.

I did use the State Department tool to size the picture, and it was accepted without any problem.

Cindyjrn
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by Cindyjrn » Mon Apr 18, 2016 7:48 pm

I can't believe more people don't have a printer capable of printing photos. That's how we did ours. Digital camera in a well lit room against a light colored wall. Used a template we found online to center the photos and print them. Maybe took 20 minutes to do four. No problems at the Post Office when submitting our passport paperwork, they're apparently not real picky on them being "professional" quality.

jasc15
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by jasc15 » Mon Apr 18, 2016 7:52 pm

I took my own photo and cropped it to the correct size (using the link jpelder posted above), and created a 4x6 image with 6 copies, which i then printed at CVS for something like $0.29, then cut the 6 images from the one sheet and mailed one in with the forms.

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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by Doom&Gloom » Mon Apr 18, 2016 8:04 pm

No Costco here--yet. But we did ours at a WalMart a few years ago. 15 minutes or so.

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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by Epsilon Delta » Mon Apr 18, 2016 8:12 pm

lightheir wrote:
This is def a worthwhile investment in time to learn for me if I can do it easily ...
Except they change the rules from time to time. I definitely remember having to submit two identical photos, and I think that at one point the photos had to be signed by the photographer.

I think the state department already accepts digital images for visas, I expect that will be an option on my next renewal, and compulsory for the one after that.

Theseus
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by Theseus » Mon Apr 18, 2016 8:19 pm

jasc15 wrote:I took my own photo and cropped it to the correct size (using the link jpelder posted above), and created a 4x6 image with 6 copies, which i then printed at CVS for something like $0.29, then cut the 6 images from the one sheet and mailed one in with the forms.
+1. I have done this for myself and all of my family. This is a no brainer.

Ervin
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by Ervin » Mon Apr 18, 2016 8:27 pm

DTSC wrote:Just pay $5 at Costco. I used to DIY, but it just isn't worth the time and bother.
+1. And the photos look professional.

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zaboomafoozarg
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by zaboomafoozarg » Mon Apr 18, 2016 8:29 pm

I took a photo of my mom standing up against a white wall, then printed it out on glossy photo paper. They had no trouble using that as a passport photo.

centrifuge41
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by centrifuge41 » Mon Apr 18, 2016 9:38 pm

The CVS/Walgreens etc white screen photos are quite amateur. Whichever customer service agent on hand takes your picture for you using the screen, and the camera, which has a box to meet proportions.

Actually, I took one of those once for a visa for another country, and it was rejected due to too much shadow, poor quality, etc. Had to go to Sears optical, and get a proper shot done. That's when I realized that for more demanding visas, you may want to go to an actual photo studio. And for less demanding visas/passports (including for the US), self-taken home photo under good lighting is just fine.

hmw
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by hmw » Mon Apr 18, 2016 9:45 pm

an_asker wrote:
EagertoLearnMore wrote:Try using epassportphoto.com. http://www.epassportphoto.com/

Follow directions and print yourself or save on flash drive and take to a quick print store for less than 10 cents.

We have used this method several times and never had a problem with getting the passport.
+1!
+1

We saved it on a flash drive and printed at local CVS for 25 cents.

wolingfeng
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by wolingfeng » Mon Apr 18, 2016 9:57 pm

We did ourselves. We had white color wall, stood in front of it, took the photo. We had printer that could printer photos at home. Then we just use scissors cut to the required size. Just make sure read the photo requirement online, I think passport requires something like no teeth shown or both ears have to shown? Don't remember the details.

cheesepep
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by cheesepep » Mon Apr 18, 2016 10:12 pm

My brother had his done at Costco. Less than $5 for 5 photos.

Of course, you do have to keep aware that for visas of certain countries that they have different requirements for the pictures. Some cannot have blue background, must be of certain size, etc...

d0gerz
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by d0gerz » Mon Apr 18, 2016 10:39 pm

EagertoLearnMore wrote:Try using epassportphoto.com. http://www.epassportphoto.com/

Follow directions and print yourself or save on flash drive and take to a quick print store for less than 10 cents.

We have used this method several times and never had a problem with getting the passport.
Another vote for epassportphoto. Very easy to use, just snap a photo, they'll do the sizing for you. In my case my background wasn't white, so I simply edited it using free online software. Saved image on to flash drive, printed it at CVS.

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StevieG72
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by StevieG72 » Tue Apr 19, 2016 12:36 am

EagertoLearnMore wrote:Try using epassportphoto.com. http://www.epassportphoto.com/

Follow directions and print yourself or save on flash drive and take to a quick print store for less than 10 cents.

We have used this method several times and never had a problem with getting the passport.
Another vote for epassportphoto.com. I used it for myself and my kid, very user friendly ( much better than US govt passport site) and I got to tinker until I got a picture I like!

Passports are expensive enough without getting robbed for a simple photo!

If you are pressed for time bite the bullet and pay for the service, otherwise do it yourself.
Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.

DoubleClick
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by DoubleClick » Tue Apr 19, 2016 12:50 am

Definitely DIY in this day and age, where it's simple and easy. As a poster above pointed out, it's a quick easy skill to learn with recurring benefits.

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F150HD
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by F150HD » Tue Apr 19, 2016 5:54 am

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Quark
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by Quark » Tue Apr 19, 2016 6:27 am

wolingfeng wrote:We did ourselves. We had white color wall, stood in front of it, took the photo. We had printer that could printer photos at home. Then we just use scissors cut to the required size. Just make sure read the photo requirement online, I think passport requires something like no teeth shown or both ears have to shown? Don't remember the details.
You're allowed to show teeth, so long as it's a natural (unexaggerated) smile. One of the reasons so many commercial photos look so bad is that they often claim you can't smile. The state department posts requirements on its web site.

an_asker
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by an_asker » Tue Apr 19, 2016 10:15 am

Quark wrote:
wolingfeng wrote:We did ourselves. We had white color wall, stood in front of it, took the photo. We had printer that could printer photos at home. Then we just use scissors cut to the required size. Just make sure read the photo requirement online, I think passport requires something like no teeth shown or both ears have to shown? Don't remember the details.
You're allowed to show teeth, so long as it's a natural (unexaggerated) smile. One of the reasons so many commercial photos look so bad is that they often claim you can't smile. The state department posts requirements on its web site.
+1!

Though, to be honest, my entreaties did not work for my teenager for his most recent passport photo :oops:

Nowizard
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Re: Passport photo DIY - anyone done it easily?

Post by Nowizard » Tue Apr 19, 2016 11:39 am

Some software programs that edit photos have the specific ability to produce the required 2 X 2", approximately, photo. We did it without complication a month or so ago. The only consideration was whether the background would pass inspection, but we took photos against a beige (rather than white) wall and there was no issue.

Tim

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