3 Free or Cheap Ways To Get Passport Photos

Passport Booth Free Passport Photo and Visa Photo App

$12 Passport Photos At CVS / Walgreens = RIP OFF

Do you ever feel ripped off after paying about $12 for a passport photo at CVS, Walgreens, or Duane Reade?  After all, I can print one photo for about 50 cents. They are taking your photo so it makes sense that it costs extra.  However, if you want a second set of passport photos, they charge another $12, even though they don’t need to take another photo.

Sometimes you need additional passport photos for visas or applications – and going to the pharmacy each time can be expensive and time consuming, especially in crowded New York City.  I waited more than 30 minutes for the CVS employee to take and print the photo because there were 2 very slow customers ahead of me. I also never saw any coupons available!

When I needed another set of passport photos for my Vietnam tourist visa, I decided I would not repeat my last mistake. Read about how I visited 4 counties in Asia using miles and points.

 

3 Better + Cheaper Alternatives:

  1. Passport Booth (iOS) or (Android) – A free and easy to use app. Just take your passport photo and email it to yourself for free. You will have a 4×6 image that has six 2×2 passport photos. Print it cheaply at your local pharmacy or at home, cut carefully, and you’ll have 6 passport photos for pennies each. See this price comparison of the cheapest places to print your passport photos. If you don’t feel like taking a trip to the pharmacy, you can have 6 photos mailed to you for $5.
  2. ID PhotoPrint – Another good option. It looks a bit dated but works well. After you take your photo, you can email yourself a 4×6 picture that has six pictures.  Similar as above, print the photo cheaply at your local pharmacy or at home.  This app will also mail you the photos but the price is a bit higher: $6.95 for 2 photos.
  3. epassportphoto.com – This is a website, not an app. It offers a similar free do it yourself tool, or you can have your photo delivered for $7.99 (2 photos) or $11.99 (8 photos) to your home or local CVS / Walgreens which has an extra “printing fee” (i.e. I believe the same fee as if you print your own photo).  I used their free tool and the picture came out acceptable despite looking a little bit stretched.  I printed the photo at my local pharmacy and used it to obtain my Vietnam Tourist Visa.  This was probably not something I would use for a passport but I didn’t spend much time tinkering with the software to get a better quality image. The first two options are cheaper and better.

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Honorable Mention: The free US Dept of State Template Tool allows you to upload your photo then print it at home or at the drugstore.  The problem I had was that the photo could not be printed easily in the official passport photo size. You will need one or more 2×2 images on a 4×6 size photo because that is the standard size which costs almost nothing to print at a pharmacy. I wasn’t able to figure out to get that done. That means there are shadows behind me which will not work for passport photos.

IMPORTANT NOTE: With all of these do it yourself tools, it is up to the you to make sure you have a good quality photo. Some of the most important things are to make sure you have a white background and good lighting that won’t cash shadows. I have tried these apps in different locations and sometimes its difficult to find a clean white background and good light.

Don’t forget to get a no foreign transaction fee credit card to save on fees while traveling. You can travel international for free like I do with miles and points by signing up for airline credit cards and hotel credit cards. I wrote about how I did my free 20 day honeymoon to 4 countries in Asia…while flying business class and staying in luxury hotels. It’s really not that hard.

After learning about these tools, I probably never use the pharmacy photo service again. What do you think of these apps? Is there anything that would make them better?

Note: If you click some links on this site, TheRewardBoss may receive a commission at no added cost to you. By doing so, you help support my project and allow me to continue providing you with more rewarding information. I research, travel, and write my opinions regardless of whether there is a commission available. You don’t have to use my links, but I appreciate when you do. Thank you for your support!

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Comments

  1. If you have a friend that knows photoshop, they can crop your picture into a 2×2 and get 6 on a 4×6 picture. 6 pictures for 19 cents – can’t beat that!

  2. Some levels of AAA memberships offer 2 free passport size pictures per year. Costco also has them for less than half of $12 at a drug store.

  3. The ID PhotoPrint app does not require you to crop anything – it automatically places six 2×2 photos on the picture once you take a picture with the app. I just did it; now all I need to do is request one 4×6 print from any photo service. That is so much cheaper and easier!

  4. You have to watch the photo requirements carefully for passports but in many countries there are passport machines all over. I know I saw a ton of them in France recently.

  5. If you’re visiting a country where standard of living isn’t as high as the USA/Europe, then it’s quite cheap to get a passport photo there.
    Another place to get cheap passport photos is at the NY Times travel show in NYC last month. They had a booth where you can get a free passport photo!
    What I’ve done is normally take a photo of myself using a tripod and a white background with good lighting. I don’t have photoshop but just used screenshots on my iMac to make it roughly 2×2, and then print it out on my printer on photo paper. Nice, easy, and cheap. Just make sure the proportions are correct (nose to bottom of pic; shoulder to shoulder, etc.) It’s definitely more work but I save $9. 😉

  6. You said “I probably will not ever use the pharmacy service again (except maybe to renew my passport.”

    You can renew a passport at a pharmacy? Which one(s)

    Thanks

  7. I used epassportphoto.com recently for both and my wife’s passport. The free option was so easy to use and worked great. I printed the photos at a local store that I use to print my photos and it just cost me the regular price of a 4X6 inch photo. I always see people going to CVS and Walgreens for passport photos. It was easier, faster, and the picture came out better using epassportphoto.com

  8. You can use OddPrints.com to print your own passport photos for free. There’s absolutely no watermark or ads or login nonsense.
    Photos can also be ordered for a $0.83

    • Matt, what’s the final price including shipping in the US? Your website says “A 6″×4″ print costs just £0.50 plus shipping at £2.99 regardless of order size”. Is there a different price for the US?

      • Ahh, good spot. In the US the prints are $0.83 and shipping is a flat $4.99. (we have professional labs in the US, UK and Australia)

        By default, the settings are to put two 2″ passport photos on each 6×4″ print. You can actually tweak the margins so that you can squeeze six 2″ photos on each print although it’s harder to cut out and might get clipped etc.

        Or you can just use the site to download images ready to print at 6×4 for free and print at a local CSV/Walgreens etc. The site is designed to be easy to use on a mobile as well so no need to install an app.

        I run OddPrints on my own so it feels good to help people avoid getting ripped off by the big companies 😉

        Cheers,
        -Matt
        ps. I hope this isn’t too spammy!

        • I just tried it out – uploaded an image, and downloaded a file with two 2×2 images for free. If you can fit 6 pics, maybe you can add a preset for that. Getting 6 passport pics would provide a lot more value (thought most people don’t need that many).

  9. Sam’s Club [w/membership] – $5
    They take the photo and print out two 2x2s.
    The process took 10min, start to finish.

  10. I tried printing at CVS and the machine blocked my passport photos. the clerk said that it was a new policy not to allow printing of passport photos unless photo was taken at CVS.

    • Did you bring in the 4×6 photo on a memory stick and load it on their machine? Did you actually select passport photo?

      • Hi, this happen to me also.
        CVS blocked my passport photo. I had it in a memory stick with other pictures and the passport photo was the only photo that show a ‘error loading’ message with not even a preview, when printing regular pics.

        I am going to try to send it thru the website to see if that works…

  11. I checked alot of sites to include brick and mortar. Didn’t want to pay even $4-$5 for 1 set of prints. Used the passport website template, took about 50 photos, measured, took it to FedEx and they fixed the 2X2 printing/reshaping problem (tried to copy and print from Word) I was having to print at Walmart and finally completed this task after 8 hours and $0.63 later for 2 pictures each of 2 people.

    Will do this for now on.

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