DIY passport photos: the best way to take passport photos of small children

All six of us have expired passports, and I have a trip planned to Ethiopia, so it seemed logical to go ahead and renew all the passports at once.  This meant trying to get decent passport photos for all six of us.  This has not been an easy task in the past.  The kids are squirmy squirmy squirmy and many passport photo shops won’t even take passport photos of children.  Not to mention, it’s ridiculously pricey for a small little photo.  At about $15 a pop in these parts, we were looking at $90 for our family’s photos. Not to mention, I’m not immune to vanity and had visions of a passport photo that was slightly less hideous than the one I carried around for the past ten years. I figured there had to be a way to do cheaper photos, especially so that we could take multiple shots and choose the most flattering option.  Is there an app for that?
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Why, yes, in fact.  There is.

Photo Apr 11, 10 22 58 PM - Copy
Passport Photo Booth is an iphone passport photo app that allows you to take and then resize passport photos on your phone.  We used a large piece of white posterboard taped to the wall as our background.  I found the best lighting to be outside in the shade – it kept shadows away and gave a nice, bright light for features.  The app then allows you to size them to print at 4x6 size (6 per page) and save to your phone.  I then uploaded the photos using the Shutterfly app, and printed them at Target.  Total cost for our passport photos?  $1.74. After many takes (and much effort on everyone’s part not to smile) here’s the finished results:
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Photo Apr 10, 7 01 04 PMPhoto Apr 10, 7 16 59 PMPhoto Apr 10, 6 50 33 PMPhoto Apr 10, 7 25 44 PM
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There was some disagreement from my facebook friends as to whether or not smiling is allowed.  The DOS website says “a neutral expression” but I had a lot of friends report that they were prohibited from smiling.  I’m so glad we did this at home, because it was no small feat to capture photos of my squirmy kids not smiling, heads centered and looking straight ahead.  Here are some of the outtakes:
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As you can see, Jafta had the worst time trying not to smile.  There are about 100 more photos of him where that came from.  Glad that’s done.  Now . . . where should we go??

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