Saving money on U.S. Passport photos

I almost got charged the CVS passport photo fee ($7.99) when printing a 4″ x 6″ photo with two 2″ x 2″ photos on it.

With the help of my friend, James, I took my own passport photos. I showed James how to compose the photo, stood in front of an off-white wall, then James pressed the shutter button. After making a few necessary color and lighting adjustments in Lightroom, I exported the file as a JPEG. Lastly, ePassportPhoto.com helped crop a single JPEG to output five 2″ x 2″ headshots on a 4″ x 6″ print.

I went to my nearby CVS (0.5 mi away), knowing that they charge $0.29 for an instant 4″ x 6″ print. All they had to do was take my $0.29. The kiosk did the rest. When I got the the register, cute cashier said they might charge the passport photo fee of $7.99 because of the intention of my photo. She called the manager to the front, and he told her to charge me the $0.29.

Cody, who used to work at CVS, explained that the passport photo price applies only when they take the photos for the customer.

When I went to the Temple City U.S. Post Office, I had no problems. Barbara carefully cut two photos out for me, reviewed my application, made a few corrections, then took my payment.

I submitted all that on Monday, May 10th. I’m not going anywhere, so there’s no rush. They estimated five weeks, but hopefully it won’t take as long.

P.S. I forgot to link to this blog post, “The Stupid Passport Photo Ripoff.”

Update May 28th, 2010: I just received my U.S. Passport book. That’s a turnaround of 14 business days. (Nice.) According to the information slip in the envelope, my passport card will arrive will arrive separately. None of this matters because I’m not planning on going anywhere out of the country anytime soon. I just wanted to have a a passport on hand, just in case.

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Bryan Villarin

Bryan is a Happiness Engineer at Automattic. He's also a photographer, card magician, and cat whisperer. (Thanks to my friend and colleague Steve Blythe for the sweet photo!)

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