Happy Thanksgiving


This morning we brainstormed some things we are grateful for, as you can see, Santa is on the list. My 8-yr old is very grateful for Santa, believe me. We should be thankful everyday of our lives, but somedays you just can't, somedays, are just blargh and you don't want to be grateful for anything. Thanksgiving reminds us of just that. It reminds us that we have things to thank life for each and everyday.

I used to do a daily exercise of writing down 3 things that made me grateful that day, but a lot of times, I just wrote the same stuff over and over. It's a great exercise to make us dig deep, after all, each day we can find things that make us happy, even on those days blargh.

So, enjoy Turkey day for those in the US or those who aren't in the US, but celebrate Thanksgiving.

3 Ways to Get US Passport Pictures


Does anyone like taking passport/visa pictures?

NO!! I don't, that's for sure. Unless you're super photogenic, and yes, I know these people exist out there, passport pictures always come out so bad, it's frustrating. Every time the time comes to renew my passport, I cringe. I really can't stand it.

So, here we are, passports to be ordered and pictures to be made. Not only these photos are horrific, but they're not cheap either. So, with all that in mind, we started trying to figure out the best way to do it. I remember the days, when I was a kid, getting my first passport, my mum used to take me to a photographer, in his studio, and after about a week, you'd have your photos, but now, things are much easier and faster.

Before you decide how you will get the photo done, you must go to the US passport & international travel website to look at the requirements. I have them listed below, but make sure you use the super cool tool on their website to crop your photos to the right 2x2" size.

Pictures must be:

  • In color
  • Printed on matte or glossy photo quality paper
  • 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm) in size
  • Sized such that the head is between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches (between 25 and 35 mm) from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head. View the Photo Composition Template for more size requirement details.
  • Taken within the last 6 months to reflect your current appearance
  • Taken in front of a plain white or off-white background
  • Taken in full-face view directly facing the camera
  • Taken with a neutral facial expression (preferred) or a natural smile, and with both eyes open

Method 1

You can go to any pharmacy, such as CVS and Walgreen, or even Walmart and they'll take the photos for you with the correct requirements and background.  Just like the photographer did with me years ago. It won't be a studio or anything like that, it's just there in the store.

As of today (10/23/15) prices are:

  • CVS $12.95 x 2 photos (and I was told if you need extras, they charge $0.32, which is a great deal when you need visas and other stuff).
  • Walgreen $12.99 x2 photos
  • Walmart $7.96 x2 photos

Method 2

Take your own photo, crop it using the US Dept of State's tool and you can email or take a USB drive (or phone, or disc) to whichever store you like. When you do that, you also have the option to use Target, as of today they're charging $9.99 x2 photos, no photographers, you email your own photo and still pay $9.99 for them to print them to the right size (that you had cropped before hand).

If you have a color printer, you can buy photo paper and voila, you print them yourselves.

We chose this method at first, but the problem I came across was that neither one of the pharmacies I mentioned above printed 2x2s. Of course not, right? They want to make $$$. I drove to a walmart (can't stand them, but desperate times require desperate measures) and tried printing a wallet size sample. Well, it didn't work. Although they say the size is 2x3, it seems much bigger than the 2x2s. Mind you, I called all stores before hand and was told that I could print the 2x2 at walmart. Anyway, it didn't work.

Method 3

We had decided to just give in and pay the 13bucks (use method 1), but as I was browsing the internet, I found out about this amazing website, which prints your photos and delivers them to your home, or, you can pick them up at a pharmacy near you. So cool!

Side note: I'm not getting paid for this post, I just want to share.

But, wait, there's more... they have a free page. What does that mean? Once again, you use the State department's little photo tool to crop the picture, then go to the e-passport website and once you select your photo, 4 of them will be placed on a 4x6 template. That way, you bring it to a CVS or wherever and pay $0.12 or $0.29 for a 4x6!

get your best passport photos with e passport photos
get your best passport photos with e passport photos
  1. On the front page, choose US and passport photo. But guess what, if you need a visa photo to China, they have the right measurements as well, or Brazil, or England. Just pick from the drop down. 
  2. Get your best passport photos, do it yourself
  3. When you go to the next page, scroll down so you click on the diy option. 
  4. Get your best passport photo. Do it yourself, upload pictures
  5. Upload your photo 
  6. Get your best passport photos. Do it yourself. Crop photos. upload photos
  7. Follow steps to crop or edit 
  8. Get your best passport photos. do it yourself, download your own passport photos
  9. Download photo, take to your favorite store and print! 

Good luck getting your photos printed, whichever method you choose.