All well and good, but... I'm thinking that I may need quite a few of such photos for traveling 'round Southeast Asia, as well as for a work permit in Vietnam, so I may as well get a half dozen or so just to have plenty on hand. But $7.50 a pop at the USPS is a tad pricey. Besides, what I'd really like is... to have my own digital image so I can print visa photos any time I please.
I considered just taking my own passport photo, but I don't have a spot with a nice white background and good lighting (I tried hanging a pressed white sheet. tripod, etc. but suffice the results were pretty sorry looking.) Besides, passport photos have extremely specific requirements: 2" x 2" of course, but head to chin height must measure no less than 1" and no more than 1 3/8". Then there's the eyes - these need to fall within 1 1/8" - 1 3/8" above the bottom of the photo. Additionally, the photo must be full frontal, no hat, neutral expression, yada, yada.
So I called a few other places to cost passport photos - Rite Aid was the cheapest at $7.50 for 2 photos, but... then I called good ol' Walgreens. They charge $10 for 2 photos but - when I asked if there was any chance that I could also get the original digital image (by bringing along a flash drive) he suggested I bring my own camera and "WE CAN TAKE IT WITH THAT"!!!
Needless to say I was thrilled, and hurried down to Walgreens with my Panasonic Lumix camera. The photo guy pulled down a white screen, I showed him how to use my camera and - click! - he took the passport pic. At that point he would have let me leave with no charge whatsoever, but...
As I was so appreciative that Walgreens would be so flexible and kindly to allow me to use my own camera, I told them I'd be happy to pay the $10 they normally charge for 2 passport photos. Instead, they simply took the SD card from my camera, plugged it into their nifty passport photo machine to get the dimensions juuuuuust right - and then printed out 2 photos for me for $10.
Kewl! Now I not only have the original image to use as often as I please, but I have two perfect passport photos to use as a guide to create more of my own.
Granted, it took a bit of digital daring-do, but suffice that fiddling in my graphics software I managed to replicate the Walgreens photo and produced an entire sheet of *12* visa photos!
So that's $10 (plus a sheet of Kodak glossy photo paper and a smidge of printer ink) for 14 passport photos. That's just .71 each - more than *10 TIMES LESS* than the $7.50 at the Post Office.
|Alternately, for those not up for whittling graphics, I also found a site (Onlinepassportphoto.com) that seems to have all the bases covered - where you can upload your own photo and get 6 passport photos for just $6.95 (apparently you likewise pick up your finished photos at WALGREENS!)|