If you are planning on leaving the country at any time, you will need a passport. For a valid passport, you will need a photo that reflects your current appearance. There are two ways to obtain a passport photo: (1) with a professional photo service and (2) at home.
1. Professional Photo Services
For most people, the recommended way to get a passport photo is to have it taken with a professional photo service. There are many convenient locations that offer to take professional passport photos.
FedEx and UPS – Both of these shipping giants offer a passport photo service; however, the service is only available at select locations, so check your location online or call ahead of time.
Costco – If you have a Costco membership, they would be a great option since they offer one of the lowest prices for passport photos at their 1-Hour Photo Lab.
AAA – If you have a AAA membership, you can go to any of their locations to have your passport photo taken. For plus and premium members, the photos are free. A classic member will receive a discounted rate.
Pharmacy and Retail Stores – The three major chains of pharmacies (Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid) all offer passport services. Walmart is another place to get your photos done, and they have the cheapest prices out of all locations that don’t require a membership.
Professional Studio – This path isn’t recommended because a lot of studios won’t do passport photos because of low demand. It is also the most expensive option. However, if you can get a deal from someone you know, it could be a viable alternative.
U.S. Passport Offices – This can be very convenient for those who want to get everything done in one place. You can have your photos taken and submit your application right in the same office. Not all U.S. Passport Offices offer this service, so please call ahead of time.
2. Passport Photos at Home
Taking Your Own Photo
It’s generally recommended that you take your passport photos with a professional service to avoid any processing delays. However, if you feel confident in your ability to take your own, you may use a digital camera at home.
Use this guide for meeting the requirements.
Scanning an Existing Photo
If you already have a photo that meets the requirements laid out in the link above, you may scan it and use it as your passport photo.
The photo must be:
- 2×2 inches
- Scanned at 300ppi resolution
When having your passport photos done at home, use this tool (from the guide above) to meet the correct specifications.