You may have noticed that passport photos are significantly pricier than other photo formats. For example, 2 (two) Walgreen passport photos are 17x more expensive than 4 (four) wallet-sized portraits ($16.99 vs. $0.99, respectively).
Why the drastic price difference? Passport photos are special photographs, and they have to meet specific government standards, which increases the cost.
One of the most particular standards is the size of the photograph: if you get the photo size wrong, your passport application will not be approved. But what about the wallet-size photo? Is it close enough in size to authentic passport-sized photos that it will work instead?
This article will look at wallet photo vs passport photo size: what’s the difference?
In this article:
- Wallet photo: size
- Wallet photo: cost
- Passport photo: size
- Passport photo: cost
- Passport photo: specifications
Wallet photo: size
A wallet photo is a small photograph intended to be carried in your wallet, usually within a clear plastic window for protection.
Wallet manufacturers are not restricted by any government standards as to what size they make their wallet windows, and consequently, there can be some variation in these features. Many windows and pockets are created to hold driver’s licenses and credit cards, which are bigger than photographs.
In the world of photo printing, however, one photo size has become accepted as the photo industry standard dimension of the “wallet size” photograph, and that size is 2×3 inches. If you go into practically any American drug store or retail store with a photo services department and ask for wallet-size prints, they will probably assume you are talking about 2×3 inch pictures. These will fit into most wallets.
Interested in finding out more about passport photos? Check out:
- How To Take a Passport Size Photo From Mobile
- Convert Photo to Passport Size
- Indian vs US Passport Size Photo
- UK Passport Photo Size vs Canadian Visa Size Photo – Are They Similar?
- A Guide to Resizing Photos for Passports
- Passport Photo Size US vs Italy – Are They Interchangeable?
- Australian Passport Photo Size Template
Wallet photo: cost
The 2×3” wallet size picture is actually printed onto a 4×6 inch photograph. This 4×6” color glossy photo contains four identical 2×3 inch images. You will need a sharp pair of scissors, or a guillotine cutter to separate the images into four wallet-size photos.
Currently, Walgreens Drugs and CVS Pharmacies both charge 99 cents for four (4) 2×3” wallet-size photos printed onto a single 4×6 inch print. This works out to about 25ȼ per picture, which is over 34 times cheaper (on a per picture basis) than one, regularly priced passport photo.
Passport photo: size
Needless to say, other countries have various other requirements for their passport photo sizes.
In the United States, the standard for American passport photo size is 2×2 inches (or 50×50 mm). If you go into an American photo services department and ask for a passport-size photo, this is going to be the size they assume you need. Learn more about US passport photos.
Not a lot of other countries use this size (most other countries use the metric system), so if you need something else, let them know. For example, the Canadian passport photo is 50×70 mm (2 x 2 ¾ inches), and the European passport photo size is 35×45 mm.
Passport photo: cost
Passport photos are usually sold by the pair. Two (2) identical 2×2 inch US passport photos cost $15 at a US post office. Both Walgreens and CVS are slightly more expensive and charge 16.99 per pair. Walmart has both pharmacy chains beat with passport photo printing for only $7.44, which is less than half the cost of the US post office but still a lot more than wallet-size photos.
You may be tempted to try to save some money by having a passport-style photo of your full face printed as four 2×3” wallet-size photos for only 99ȼ. After all, you can trim them down to 2×2 inch square passport photos with sharp scissors, right? This is possible, but it is not as easy as it sounds. Want to know why not? And do you want to know why passport photos are so expensive? Keep reading to find out.
- Where Can I Go to Get a Passport Photo: Classics and Unusual Places
- Get 97% off with CVS Passport Photo Coupon
Passport photo: specifications
When the drug store prints a wallet-size photo of your loved ones, they don’t care what the picture looks like. It can be a close-up or a long shot; it can be on a beach or in bed. But passport photos, on the other hand, must meet strict requirements.
For starters, the background of a US passport photo must be plain white, without shadows or patterns. The pharmacy photo center has a pull-down white screen custom-made for this purpose, but if you want to take your own picture, a plain white wall will work fine.
More challenging is the size of the subject within the photograph. The subject must be close to the camera but not too close, and the image of the head has to measure between one inch and 1 3/8 inches tall within the photo. So even though you can easily cut the picture to the right size, first, you have to make sure that the image within the 2×2 inch picture frame is itself correctly sized. This is the real difficulty.
You can accomplish this in a couple of different ways. You can take the photograph from the perfect distance, usually somewhere between 4 to 6 feet away, and this is where it can be very helpful to have someone with experience working with you, such as a drug store associate. They’ve done this a million times, and they already have the distances marked on the floor.
Or you can resize your picture with image editing software such as Photoshop; there are some online tutorials that can guide you through the process. But your local photo center not only resizes and properly crops your photo into passport photos, they also run the image through a biometric scanner which verifies that the picture complies with US Department of State regulations pertaining to US passport photos.Or you can use simple online photo tools such as Passport Photo Online, which make the process simple. They’re also fast and affordable.
Passport Photo Online
Passport Photo Online is a passport photo app that performs the same services you pay for at the drugstore, only for about 18% less.
Passport Photo Online will resize and crop your photo, check that it is biometrically compliant with US requirements, and fine-tune your color, contrast, and exposure. Just like the best photo centers, it also visually inspects each picture with an expert pair of human eyeballs before giving it the final stamp of approval.
Get your perfect passport photo emailed to you as a JPEG within 3 seconds! The 2 (two) 2×2” pictures are composited onto a template made for one single 4×6 inch print. After printing it for pennies, simply cut the pictures following our guidelines.
Passport Photo Online guarantees their work will be accepted by the passport office. If for any reason, your passport pictures are denied, Passport Photo Online will refund twice the price you paid. And if you don’t feel like making the trip to the print shop to get your photos printed, we got you covered: we’ll print the pictures for you and mail them to your home! How convenient is that?
Wallet photos vs passport photos: wrap-up
So although the wallet-size photo is similar in size to US and Canadian passport photo sizes, it is not the same. And although you can cut down a wallet-size print to match the size of a US or Canadian passport photo, you must be certain the scale of the face inside the photograph is also the right size: not too close, not too far away, and with just the right amount of headroom in the shot. If you’re a dedicated do-it-yourselfer who wants to save money, you can make DIY passport photos on the cheap with a little help from Passport Photo Online. To ensure you have a perfect passport photo in the proper 2×2 inch size, consider taking advantage of Walmart passport photo services. Plus, once you have your passport photo, you can still print your memories with the low-cost 4×6″ prints available at Walmart.
Alternatively, for hassle-free and professional passport photos, you can rely on Walgreens. They offer reliable and convenient services for walgreens passport photos. Now that you’re all set, go ahead and start your passport application!
What is the average size of a photo pocket in a wallet?
Most wallets have pockets for holding credit cards and driving licenses, and these pockets are larger than the standard wallet-sized photo.
There are also larger plastic sleeves of about 3 ½ x 2 ½ inches for holding your other cards and licenses, and obviously you can tuck pictures into these windows, too.
But the clear plastic windows made to hold wallet-sized photos are just over 2×3 inches, perfect for pictures.
How to print your passport photos?
Take your digital camera, smartphone or memory card to your favorite photo lab or drug store wherever you get your pictures printed and have your 2×2 inch US passport photo template printed onto a standard 4×6 inch print.
Or log onto the store’s website or online app and upload your pictures from there then all you have to do is go pick them up in about an hour.
Where can I get wallet photos printed?
Popular photo labs like Walmart, Walgreens, and CVS offer wallet-sized photo printing services. CVS is a reliable option for obtaining a high-quality CVS passport photo.
Additionally, Target, FedEx Office, and UPS stores provide color glossy photo prints in various sizes.
How am I able to print passport size photos from my phone?
Most of the major photo labs with an online presence will also have an app for smartphones. Download the app so you can upload your pictures!
Or simply walk into your local pharmacy or print shop with your smartphone. Ask to use a kiosk in the photo center they’ll be happy to help you out, and you can be done in about ten minutes or so.
Are wallet photos 2×2?
No, wallet photos are 2×3 inches. US passport photos are 2×2 inches.
If you need passport photos and want to save money by printing them as another size, let Passport Photo Online help you with an inexpensive 4×6 template that holds two 2×2 US passport photos.
What size is a wallet photo?
The standard size of a wallet photo is 2 x 3 inches (51 x 76 mm). This size will fit in most traditional wallets with a photo slot, regardless of brand.
Bryan is a writer and filmmaker originally from Texas who has sailed around the world. Thanks to his experience in the cruise industry and customer service, he understands what customers feel and needs, and as a result of numerous travels he has specialized in passport photography. Bryan is the author of FOG WATCH published on Amazon.