Where to Get a Cheap Passport Photo

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Woman getting passport photo taken
Image Credit: Dreamstime

If you’re applying for or renewing a U.S. passport, part of the process is submitting a photo of yourself that adheres to a strict set of guidelines. This photo becomes part of the passport itself and is used to help positively identify you.

In this article, we’ll cover the most important of those guidelines, discuss places where you can have a proper passport photo taken for cheap and even share tips for taking the photo yourself if you want to take that route.

How to Get a Passport Photo for Cheap

The best way to ensure that you’re getting a passport photo that will pass the application process — and ensure that your application isn’t delayed — is to go somewhere that offers passport photography services. Since this is a very basic head shot and not a glamour shot, there’s no reason to spend a lot of money for it with a professional photographer.

After we cover some of the least expensive places to get passport photos taken, we’ll look at the guidelines you need to be aware of if you want to try to have an acquaintance do it for you.

According to our research, here are the least expensive places to get your passport photos taken and printed:

Cheapest Places to Get Passport Photos Taken & Printed

Location Price Number of Photos Notes
The UPS Store Varies by location; we were quoted $13.50 at a store in Midtown Atlanta 2 Participating locations only. Click here to find one near you.
FedEx Office $14.95 2 Click here to find a location near you.
Walgreens $14.99 2 Available at most stores. Click here to find a location near you.
CVS $14.99, but there is often a $2 off coupon available 1 Available in select locations. Click here to find one near you.
Post Office $15.00 1 Available at select locations. Click here to find one near you.

Take Your Own Passport Photo to Save Even More Money

All of the places in the chart above will both take your passport photo and print it for you. They generally have special equipment that ensures your photo meets the government’s specifications.

That makes things pretty simple, but there is another option that makes getting a passport photo even less expensive — possibly even close to free: having a friend or family member take your photo for you.

If you decide to do this, you must familiarize yourself with the rules that have been laid out for passport photos. There are a lot of them, but these are the ones to keep front of mind:

Passport photo requirements:

  • Must be in color
  • Taken within the last 6 months to reflect your current appearance
  • Must be a clear image of your face, with no photo filter
  • No selfies
  • Plain white or off-white background
  • High resolution
  • Printed on matte or glossy photo quality paper
  • 2 x 2 inches in size
  • Sized such that the head is between 1 and 1 3/8 inches (between 25 and 35 mm) from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head. See examples here.
  • Taken with a neutral facial expression or a natural smile, and with both eyes open

The government does provide an online tool that will help you crop your photo to meet their specifications here.

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Once your photo meets the specs, you’ll need to print it. If you have a printer that prints high quality images on photo paper, you can do this yourself. If you don’t, you’ll need to take it to a photo processing center for printing.

Here’s where we found the cheapest prices for printing passport photos. You probably won’t be surprised that money expert Clark Howard‘s favorite warehouse store leads the pack!

Cheapest Places to Print Passport Photos

Location Price Number of Photos Notes
Costco $4.99 4 Available most locations. Find one near you here.
Walmart $7.44 1 Find a store near you here.
Target $12.99 2 Find a store near you here.

Final Thought

Whether you choose to do it yourself or have your pictures taken and printed at one of the locations above, submitting your photo is just one of the things involved in getting a passport. You can see what else you’ll need in our story on the entire process here.

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