How to Take a Winning Passport Photo—for Under $1!

There are few photos we look forward to taking less than a passport pic. Why is it that this image we have to carry around the world with us for a decade always comes out SO TERRIBLE? Luckily, technology has saved the day and you never need to have a bad passport photo again. Here are seven simple steps to taking a winning passport pic.

Step 1

Download the ID PhotoPrint app.

Step 2

Position yourself against a plain white background somewhere with soft, natural light. Avoid harsh overhead lights or anything that will create a shadow.

Step 3

Maintain a subtle smile. Many people are under the misconception that you aren’t allowed to smile in passport photos. This is not true! According to the US Department of State website, you must have “a neutral facial expression or a natural smile, with both eyes open.” There is no reason to look angry in your passport!

Step 4

Have a friend take your photo using the app. An on-screen guide will dictate exactly where you should be positioned within the frame to ensure it meets the proper guidelines. Snap away until you get the shot you’re happy with!

Step 5

Save the photo to your gallery. This is generate a standard 4×6 inch image with six 2×2 inch passport photos on it.

Step 6

Upload the image to Walgreens (or your favorite photo printing website) and select one 4×6 inch print, which typically costs 29 cents. You can pick the photo up for free at your nearest store, or have it shipped to your for an additional 99 cents.

Step 7

Carefully cut the photo into six individual passport pics. And voilà! You’ve got enough to renew your passport and carry a few extras (which you should always do while traveling) for under a buck.


You can also choose to have the photos printed and mailed to you, directly through the app, at the price of $6.95 for two passport pics. A similar app, Passport Booth, allows you to choose anywhere from 2 to 6 prints to be mailed to you. They will also generate an image for self-printing, but with two photos on each sheet rather than six. A third app, Passport Photo Creator, is linked to Walgreens for easy upload. But they charge a whopping $13.99 for the service. Regardless, any of these apps beat getting your passport photos the old fashioned way. Happy travels!

About the Authorsabrina-hoverkamp

Sabrina was born and raised in Los Angeles, and began her love affair with travel while studying abroad in London. A commercial producer by trade, she’s managed to convince her art director husband to quit their jobs and travel around the world for a year - twice! The two enjoy life on the road so much, they’ve just moved into their renovated retro RV to explore the US indefinitely. Follow along with their upcoming adventures at and on Instagram @yes_kamp.

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