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Why are Passport photos so expensive?

Why are Passport photos so expensive?

Old Nov 3, 15, 7:02 am
  #16  
 
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I have an iphone app (ID photo print but there are probably others) which takes one selfie and converts it into a sheet of 6 photos fitting perfectly onto a 4x6 photo. Print for $.20 or whatever and you've just paid about $.03 per passport photo. Especially useful for visa photos where you're less concerned about quality.
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Old Nov 3, 15, 7:04 am
  #17  
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Just got a new U.S. passport with a photo my wife took against a light-colored wall in our house. No problem. The requirements are simple (they have to be, if the typical drugstore employee is to follow them) and it doesn't require any special equipment.
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Old Nov 3, 15, 7:27 am
  #18  
 
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Originally Posted by Merlinrnr View Post
You get 4 for $6 at Costco. Ready in 15 mins.
At my Costco the they give me four extra passport photos for free.
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Old Nov 3, 15, 8:00 am
  #19  
 
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AAA does offer them free with Plus membership or higher...

http://www.aaa.com/aaa/001/benefits.htm
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Old Nov 3, 15, 8:40 am
  #20  
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I got my last ones to be used on for my actual passport at Costco. I was there, I remembered I needed them, so I was happy to pay $6 to be done with it even though I certainly knew I could do it myself for 29 cents.

I've gone the 29 cent route for trips where I needed extras for other purposes like visas, SIM cards, certain kinds of transit/museum passes, etc. (Yes, I've actually had to fork over a passport photo for all of these at one point or another in my life.)

Nepal was the SIM card, in case anyone is wondering... Fortunately I had read about that in advance and had one ready.
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Old Nov 3, 15, 9:14 am
  #21  
 
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$12 - $15 is nothing. I was renewing my Aussie passport in London and was told that the photo I'd had done had a line through it (which I couldn't see no matter how hard I looked). I was given a list of the closest approved passport photo places near the consulate, that is, those that knew the requirements for Aussie passports, which I understand are ever so slightly different to that of UK passports.
I had my photo taken and had to pay 15 (approx US$23) for the privilege! I didn't have a choice, it would have cost far more in train fares to come back on another day. I was really p*ssed off, especially as the same photographers only charge 10 for photos for British passports and I didn't have the time to tackle them on the price difference.
Anyone in London, avoid Snappy Snaps in Fleet Street if you don't want to get ripped off!
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Old Nov 3, 15, 9:59 am
  #22  
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Originally Posted by TA View Post
All you have to do is take your own headshot with a camera and arrange it in 3x2 matrix on a 4x6 sheet, and print online at Walmart or Walgreens, etc. $0.35.

There are even webpages online which will help you create the 3x2. Just search, people.
Yes, you can dig out your camera, look up the guidelines on size/borders/restrictions, remember not to smile, download and crop/process, upload, drive to pickup, and hope it's right.

Or you can pay someone $8, stand there, and be done in 2 minutes. Some people have difference preferences - value their free time more highly than others.

YMMV. People.
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Old Nov 3, 15, 11:01 am
  #23  
 
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There are often coupons in the paper for Walgreens. $5. The "expert" had no problem taking the pictures, but took forever and had to get a manager to apply the coupon.
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Old Nov 3, 15, 11:10 am
  #24  
 
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Originally Posted by west49th View Post
$12 - $15 is nothing. I was renewing my Aussie passport in London and was told that the photo I'd had done had a line through it (which I couldn't see no matter how hard I looked). I was given a list of the closest approved passport photo places near the consulate, that is, those that knew the requirements for Aussie passports, which I understand are ever so slightly different to that of UK passports.
I had my photo taken and had to pay 15 (approx US$23) for the privilege! I didn't have a choice, it would have cost far more in train fares to come back on another day. I was really p*ssed off, especially as the same photographers only charge 10 for photos for British passports and I didn't have the time to tackle them on the price difference.
Anyone in London, avoid Snappy Snaps in Fleet Street if you don't want to get ripped off!
Quite a few Mail Boxes Etc. stores around town have a machine that does it automatically for any country. I used the one in Surbiton - it was 6 for 4 photos for an Indian visa IIRC. What was cool was that the man took the photo with what looked like a normal camera, plugged it into a small white machine, selected what it was for (visa) and the country (India) and the machine then analysed the photo to see that it complied. Three ticks meant that it printed, with guides for cutting to the required size. Very efficient and quick.
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Old Nov 3, 15, 11:51 am
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Mr. Vker
AAA does offer them free with Plus membership or higher...

http://www.aaa.com/aaa/001/benefits.htm
They may be free for AAA Plus members in Alabama, but they're $8.95 for AAA Plus members in upstate New York.
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Old Nov 3, 15, 12:06 pm
  #26  
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As to OP's question, they aren't expensive, they are priced at what the market will pay.

As you can see, there are two camps. Those who are willing to pay to just have it done and not deal with it and those willing to expend a bit of effort and save.

If people stop paying $20-25 for passport photos, either the price will drop or the places that do them will drop the business line.
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Old Nov 3, 15, 2:04 pm
  #27  
 
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At one point I had a neat little template I found somewhere online for photoshop that had all the requirements for head size and everything in it, so you could line your photo up nicely, then it would take it and duplicate it out onto a standard 4x6 photo size. Can't remember where I found that though, but I bet it's still out there.
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Old Nov 3, 15, 2:33 pm
  #28  
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They are expensive because people don't bother comparison shopping for infrequent purchases. A passport photo is something you buy once every ten years, so it's not worth the hassle to call or visit different places and compare prices. Most people just go somewhere and get it done. Therefore, a place that lowered its prices would be losing revenue without getting many additional customers.

People do price research on things they buy frequently. That is why everyday purchases, such as groceries and gas, have lower profit margins than infrequent purchases, such as electronics and furniture.
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Old Nov 3, 15, 3:22 pm
  #29  
 
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Originally Posted by wendyg View Post
They seem cheap to me because it *used* to be so much more difficult and expensive to get them done. Twenty years ago, you had to find a photographer who was set up to do it. Now, you can get them done almost anywhere.
I'm in the UK and had passport photos for roughly 40 years now. Always been in a booth in a shopping centre, never a professional photographer or any fancy set up.
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Old Nov 3, 15, 5:43 pm
  #30  
 
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I've taken them myself before. If you have photoshop or some other photo editing program you can fit two passport photos on a single 4x6 Wal-Mart print (in fact you can fit four!). I think the cost is 19 cents.

I've done that once, but last time we were in a hurry and had them made a Costco or somewhere.
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