Passports 101: Where Can I Get a Passport Photo Near Me?
Before you can set off on international adventures (or go about driving overseas)… you’ll need a passport.
And, even if you’re going to stay in the country – a passport can act as a good backup to your driver’s license as it provides a second form of identification (which is quite handy when doing vehicle registrations and many other tasks at the DMV).
Getting a passport is a lot like the process of getting a license.
In this article, we want to focus on the photo side of things…
One of the main elements that identify who you are – on your passport – is the passport photo. So, as you can imagine, it’s important that your passport photo is clear and follows a certain set of guidelines and requirements.
If you’re seeking a “passport photo near me” and feel overwhelmed by all the online results, then you’re in the right place. In our article, we share an easy-to-understand process of getting a photo for your passport.
Passport Photos: A Brief Overview
A passport is a government-issued document that verifies your identity and citizenship. The passport photo is used to visually identify you and ensure that the passport belongs to the person who applied for it. The passport photo is an important part of the application process and helps ensure the security and accuracy of the passport issuance process.
Getting a proper passport photo goes a little something like this…
First, you will need to prepare by following the guidelines for passport photos, such as having a plain background, neutral expression, and no hats or sunglasses. You can have your passport photo taken at a professional photographer or a passport photo booth or take it yourself using a smartphone camera with a passport photo app.
Once you have taken the photo, you will need to check that it complies with the requirements, such as the correct size and background, and print it on high-quality, matte photo paper. Finally, you will attach the photo to your passport application and submit it.
Now, let’s go into this in more detail.
Preparing to Get Your Passport Photo Taken
You don’t want to waste time and money having a passport photo done incorrectly. This is one of the big reasons why you should validate who you’re finding when searching for a “passport photo near me” – so you know the final product meets all the right requirements.
Of course, there are some things you can do on your end to prep.
This will include the following:
Know the requirements for a passport
The requirements for a passport photo are set by the government of the country issuing the passport, but there are generally some common standards that most countries follow. Some of the key requirements for a passport photo include:
- Passport photos must be 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm) in size, they should also be high quality such as 300dpi and higher.
- The background of the photo should be plain and light-colored, typically white or off-white. There should be no patterns or distracting elements in the background.
- The subject’s head should be straight and facing forward, with a neutral expression and both eyes open.
- Hair should be neatly styled and not cover any part of the face.
- The subject should wear simple, solid-colored clothing, avoiding busy patterns and bright colors. Hats, sunglasses, and religious headwear are not allowed.
- The photo should be clear, with good lighting and no shadows, glare, or red-eye. The resolution should be high enough to clearly identify the subject.
It is important to check the specific requirements of your country’s passport office before getting your passport photo taken, as they may have additional requirements or restrictions.
Having your photo taken for a passport
To make things a little easier – and so you don’t waste time having to get it redone – here are a few tips for taking a good passport photo:
Ensure that the lighting is good and the photo is well-lit. Avoid shadows and excessive backlight, which can make it difficult to see your features. If you are taking the photo yourself, try to find a well-lit room with natural light.
Correct head position and facial expression
Hold your head straight and face forward with a neutral expression, and both eyes open. Your face should take up 70-80% of the photo, so it is important to have the right positioning.
Avoid shadows and glare.
Shadows can hide important features and glare can reflect light in a way that makes it difficult to see your face. To avoid shadows, position yourself with a light source behind the camera and avoid direct sunlight or bright lights. To reduce glare, turn off any lights or lamps that are shining directly on your face. If taking a photo with a smartphone, try to angle the camera so that it is not facing directly into a light source.
Taking a Passport Photo: 4 Options and Services
Your biggest challenge when seeking a “passport photo near me” is picking how it’s done.
On one end – you can have a professional do it which is ideal if you’ve got the money and want it done right the first time. Alternatively, you can DIY it or use services that can save you money but may take some tinkering to get it just right.
Here’s an overview of how each works:
- Professional photographer: Having your passport photo taken by a professional photographer can ensure that you get a high-quality, compliant photo. Professional photographers have the equipment and expertise to take a photo that meets the requirements for passport photos, such as good lighting, correct head positioning, and a neutral expression. They will also typically have a plain background that meets the requirements. You can find a professional photographer in your local area by searching online or in the phone book.
- Passport photo booth: Passport photo booths are a convenient option for taking a passport photo. They are typically found in post offices, drugstores, and other locations. These photo booths use automated cameras and lighting to take a photo that meets the requirements for a passport photo. They are designed to produce high-quality, compliant photos that are ready to be attached to your passport application.
- Taking the photo yourself: Taking your own passport photo is another option. You can use a smartphone camera or a digital camera to take photo. There are also passport photo apps available for download that can guide you through the process and help you take a compliant photo. When taking the photo yourself, it is important to follow the requirements for passport photos, such as having a plain background, neutral expression, and no hats or sunglasses. It is also important to make sure that the lighting is good and the photo is well-lit to avoid shadows and glare.
- Online passport photo service: An online passport photo service is another option for getting a passport photo. You can upload a photo that you have taken yourself, and the service will edit it to meet the requirements for a passport photo. They will then print the photo on high-quality, matte photo paper and ship it to you, ready to be attached to your passport application. This option is convenient for those who do not have access to a professional photographer or photo booth or for those who prefer to take their own photo and have it edited by a professional.
These four should give you a solid starting point for getting a passport photo done. However, if you’re going to do a bit more searching for a “passport photo near me” online then you’ll want a few insights to ensure who you’re dealing with is both legit and professional.
Okay, so try this:
- Use a search engine, such as Google, to search for “passport photos near me”. This will bring up a list of businesses and services in your area that offer passport photos.
- Use a map service, such as Google Maps, to search for businesses that offer passport photos in your area. You can filter your search results by location, type of business, and customer ratings.
- Use an online directory, such as Yelp or Yellow Pages, or USPassportHelpGuide, to find businesses that offer passport photos in your area. You can sort your search results by location, type of business, and customer ratings.
- Visit the government website for your country’s passport office and check if they have a list of approved locations for passport photos.
Once you have found a business or service that offers passport photos, it is important to check their hours of operation, cost, and requirements for passport photos before visiting. Things are getting back up to speed post-pandemic, so you shouldn’t have trouble these days with getting an appointment booked.
What’s Our Recommendation?
If you were to ask us…
A passport photo app is probably the best way to go about getting a passport photo taken.
Well, it all comes down to time and convenience.
A passport photo app lets you take a good photo for your passport (that meets the requirements) without leaving your home. PLUS! It’s way more affordable than having it done by a professional. PLUS! You often have unlimited revisions before sending the finalized photo off to printing – which further saves you time and money.
However, if you are adamant about finding someone local when looking for a “passport photo near me” then consider going through the official channels. AKA – check with your local passport office to see if they offer photos done on-site.
An office that offers passport photography services means you can get your passport completed in one go. This is especially helpful if you’re on a travel deadline!
Printing a Passport Photo
If you went the route of DIYing your passport photo or used a photo service, then you’ll need to get it printed before you can go about submitting it. There are a few places you can get your passport photo printed including a professional photography studio, post office, drugstore or pharmacy, camera shop, or through an online passport photo service.
It only costs a few bucks to get the photos printed so go ahead and get a few copies in case you lose or damage them before submitting them.
Or, to have a nice photo or two for your wallet!
To Sum It All Up
There are a few different ways to go about getting a passport photo done. From DIYing and using online photo apps to working with a professional or going into an office, there’s no right or wrong way to get it done — but you do want to ensure it’s done right.
Use the info we’ve shared to help find the best provider for a “passport photo near me.”
Before long, you’ll have a passport in your hand and tons of great travel ideas running through your mind. Wonderful adventures await!