How to Take Your Own Passport Photo on Your Phone!

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I recently had to apply for a passport for an upcoming trip and I was shocked at how much it costs to get your photo taken at Walgreens or CVS (about $14.00)!  I thought I could definitely use that money towards a nicer meal or gift on my trip, so I decided to take my own photo.  It only costs $0.29 and a few minutes!  I’ll explain how.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A smartphone
  • The Passport Booth app (available on iOS and Android)
  • A white or off-white background
  • A friend (optional)
  • The Walgreens app (available on iOS and Android)
  • $0.29

Step 1

Download the Passport Booth app to your smartphone.  The app automatically takes care of the correct measurements for you but here are other requirements for your passport photo (copied from the official application website):

  • Printed on matte or glossy photo quality paper
  • Recent, taken in the last 6 months to reflect your current appearance
  • No glasses (new rule starting Nov 1, 2016)
  • Background must be plain white or off-white
  • Head must be directly facing the camera with your full face in view
  • Taken with a neutral facial expression or a natural smile, with both eyes open
  • In color
  • Taken in clothing that you normally wear on a daily basis
  • No hats or head coverings, unless you wear it daily for religious purposes. Your full face must be visible and your head covering cannot cast shadows on your face.
  • No headphones or wireless hands-free devices.

Step 2

Find a white or off-white background and some good lighting.  Also make sure you are wearing a shirt that is something you would wear on a daily basis and preferably a solid neutral color.  Open the Passport Booth app.  Now, selfies aren’t recommended but the app does allow you to use the front-facing camera.  If you have a friend who can take the photo for you, that is best.  But my arms were long enough to use the front-facing camera without it looking like it.  The app gives the option to use a 3-second timer, which I appreciated.  Once you line up the top of your head, eyes and chin in the template, snap the picture!

Step 3

Once you are happy with your photo, the app gives you a few options.  You can either save the photo, email it, or buy it from the app.  If you buy it from the app, it costs $5.00, which is still cheaper than getting it done at Walgreens or CVS.  But it does come in the mail, so it is not the quickest way.  At this menu, you will save the photo to your phone.  Because the app takes care of the measurements for you, your photo is saved as two on one page.  This is what allows you to get it printed anywhere you like as a 4X6.  This is the only size you can order it in for it to equal the 2X2 size that the passport application requires.

Step 4

If you need to brighten up the background or get rid of red eye, now is the time to do so.  I personally like to use the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom app (available on iOS or Android).  Once complete, it’s time to get our photo printed.  You can use your own photo printer at home, which would be free, but I don’t have one so I just printed mine at Walgreens.  Just download the Walgreens app, upload the photo, order a 4X6 (VERY IMPORTANT!) and wait an hour and pick it up.  You can use any store that prints or you can even have it mailed to you for a minimal shipping fee.



You can also use an actual camera if you want an even more professional picture.  You would just need to upload it to the photo tool on the official website to get the correct measurements.  Then just print it out on your home printer or order through or any store for pick up or delivery.

I hope this post helped you to save some money!  Let me know if it did and subscribe for more tips!  Thanks for reading! 🙂


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