Passport Pictures

Discussion in 'Portraits and Fashion' started by karl_borowski, Jan 6, 2007.

  1. This isn't exactly event photography, but I can't think of any other place on this forum to ask this
    question.

    I recently purchased an old Polaroid Passport camera that takes four images, simultaneously, singluarly, or
    two by two on a 4x5 inch Polaroid film back. There's a measuring tape to get the head sizes of the
    subjects correct and I have lights and a white backround at the studio, but I have no idea what to do after I
    take the pictures.

    Do you just give the Polaroid to the customer to take to the government service that actually makes their
    little passport booklets, or is there something you have to do to cut and mount the pictures for them.
    Also, what is a fair price to charge for passports in the US outside of NY, LA, or Chicago?

    Regards,

    ~Karl Borowski
     
  2. When I got my passport a few years ago, I had the pictures taken, and then took them to the passport office where I attached the pictures to the application.

    I have no idea what you'd charge - I think I had mine done at Wal-mart and it cost me something like $5 (maybe less). But that's Wal-mart for ya.
     
  3. all you need to do is give them the pics to take to get the passports, the issuer does the rest. They're not terribly picky either..Did mine & my wife's last summer.
     
  4. Here is a link to the State Department's website, which gives all the information you ever
    wanted in regard to passport photos! http://travel.state.gov/passport/guide/
    guide_2081.html
     
  5. google is your friend. the feds have an interest in making this information available, and you are paying for it anyway (assuming you are a US taxpayer...? Hmm? Hmm?)...go get em tiger.
     
  6. Spending time, effort and money on pretty passport photos is an exercise in futility. The
    government agency WILL make it look horrible when in the booklet.
     
  7. Wait until the photos are dry.Cut the photos to the required size. Put them in an inexpensive envelope just large enough to hold the cut photos side by side so they won't stick together. Fold the envelope in half to keep the photos separate. That's it.

    Pricing? Cover your costs and time. Passport (and other ID) photos only make sense as a business if you are already in the retail photo business. They are a sideline. I recently walked away from a chain store that wanted $16 for two photos, and instead used a mom and pop shop that charged $9 per set.
     
  8. Conrad, forgive me for not blindly accepting the information on the internet. I don't ever use the Google search engine, prefering Yahoo!, or use "google" as if it were a verb either. Also, please accept my humble apologies for defering to a site of photographic professionals instead of placing my trust in a poorly designed set of government websites.

    Folks, I already know the basics of white backround, 2 x 2 in., and 1 3/8 in. headsize. That's all premeasured for the camera. What I want to know is how to use this effectively to generate some side revenue (yes, this is in an already established senior/wedding studio), and to generate leads to other jobs. Does $12. seem like a fair price for a set of four passport pictures?

    One other thing, I can take four separate pictures, two sets of two, or four pics all at once with the Polaroid camera. How many pictures are required for passports, and do they have to be identical shots, or can they be taken sequentially without making the government angry?

    ~Karl
     
  9. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Also, please accept my humble apologies for defering to a site of photographic professionals instead of placing my trust in a poorly designed set of government websites.
    99.999% of all photographic professionals have never shot passport photos professionally. Virtually all passport photographs are done by store clerks of one sort or another or government employees.
    Those government websites are not there for their design. They have the information that you need to produce passport photos. Conrad is right on this. I would add that the government web site also gives out all government/municipal locations for passport photos. It's very easy to use, it gives the information by zip or address.
    What I want to know is how to use this effectively to generate some side revenue
    Do you have a good street location? That's where most passport business comes from. There is a photo lab, a drugstore, the AAA office, Kinkos, three post office locations and a city office that all provide passport photos within five miles of my home, there may be more I don't know about. The lowest price is $8 and the highest is $14. How would you attract business and compete with them?
     
  10. You need to have two photos to get a passport. I've always seen identical photos, but if they are taken back to back and look identitical, I don't see a problem with that. Just stick them in an envelope and the client will need to take them to a passport office. At Costco they are about $7 for two, I believe.
     
  11. If you didn't already get it with the camera, you'll want the die cutting machine where you stick in the photo and pull a lever and it automatically trims all four sides of the picture. Only two copies are required and regulations stipulate that they must be identical. There's nothing else you have to do. Like others have said, this is a job for a clerk, not a photographer. If you have a storefront with walk-in traffic it's a way to bring in a little extra money and to not turn away people who come looking for the service. But there's not enough money in it to justify it as a business unto itself. Also, I dont' know what the Polaroid film costs these days but most places I've been in lately are using a special digital camera set up just for passports that docks into a special dedicated printer, no more Polaroid.
     
  12. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    most places I've been in lately are using a special digital camera set up just for passports that docks into a special dedicated printer, no more Polaroid.
    This is what I have seen everywhere, like this one. One of the big advantages of the digital system is that you can print more, which can be required for visas.
     

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