That’s right people! You heard it here first! No more paying $13.99 for a hideous passport picture! You can finally take one for yourself, and actually like it! And $14??? Try 29 cents! ( I love big savings! ) Take that extra $13 and put it towards a passport card instead- perfect for cruisers and frequent trips to Canada and Mexico. There are only a few strict, but very easy rules to follow, so let’s get started!
Upon renewing my passport, I discovered a section about passport photos and the standard qualifications to have it accepted. As long as you follow these guidelines, you shouldn’t have any problems getting your passport renewed, or created- yay first time international travelers!
- No Glasses- this is a new rule as of Nov 1, 2016
- No hats- obviously.
- Keep your hair out of your face
- Look forward with a natural face or smile
- Take photo on a white to off-white, solid background (If you don’t have a white wall, use a poster board backdrop)
- The background must have no shadows (avoid using a flash to prevent this)
- No selfies- use a tripod, table, or have a friend take it for you instead
The best place to take this photo is across from a sunny window. Natural light is the best light, although, try to avoid direct sunlight as it can create dark shadows behind the subject. Check out U.S. Passport & International Travel’s video on do’s and don’ts. ( A little disclaimer- these tips were taken directly from government’s official passport webpage, review the guidelines there before proceeding to make sure you are A-OKAY!)
When taking the photo, be sure to include a space above your head and to the side of your shoulders. Use the USPIT’s photo cropper to ensure you have the correct dimensions. They are pretty particular about the size and shape. The finished photo must be 2” by 2”, which isn’t easy to print. So what you need to do is create a 4×6 photo. The easiest way for the novice photo editor is in paint.
Download the photo from the USPIT’s photo cropping page and open it in Paint. You’ll to copy the photo for the next step. To do so, press CTRL + A, to select all and CTRL+ C, to copy. Next, create a large white background by dragging the bottom right corner of the picture towards the bottom of your screen.
Then, paste your photo (CTRL + V). The photo will paste over the original, it may look like nothing happened but it’s there. Click and drag the photo to the size of the original. Be exact. It must be the perfect dimensions to satisfy the guidelines. Do not cover the original photo when pasting, or include white spaces in between the photos.
Repeat this step until you have a 2×3 photo like below. If you are printing pictures for more than one person, save this document, open the second/third photo and select all and copy (CTRL + A; CTRL +C), then reopen the first document and paste to that screen. Now you’re really saving money! Remember that you need two photos per person, so the max you can fit on one sheet is 3 people.
When you’re all done, save it as a JPEG for the best color and quality.
Now it’s time to print! I use CVS for same day printing, but you can use Walgreens, Target, even some FedEx’s, anywhere that does printing. To print your photo in the required 2×2″ squares, you must select the 4×6 option. And look at that, 29 cents! That’s a 98% discount from the $14 CVS offers for passport photos! Photos are usually able to be picked up within an hour. If you need it ASAP, save the photo to a USB stick and print them yourself in store. (Or at home if you have a really good printer.)
There are a few more guidelines on printing.
- Must be printed on high quality paper with quality ink
- Matte or glossy is accepted
- Photo must be printed in color
Woohoo, you made it! You are all set to go! Include two (perfectly cut) photos in with your application and get ready to show off your beautiful passport photo around the world! Also, don’t keep this tip a secret, share it with your friends so they can save a few bucks and love their passport photo as much as you!
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