Passport photos are like driver’s license photos-they often look like mug shots. Of course, the whole purpose of a passport photo is to prove to government officials that this important document really does belong to you. Passport photos aren’t meant to be glamour shots. However, you do need a clear, in-focus photo that meets government guidelines if you’d like your passport application to be accepted the first time.
There are many places that take photos for US passports. However, as this excellent post on Money, Matter and More Musings notes, drugstore photos for US passports are somewhat expensive. Also, the quality can be less than optimal. Most people simply deal with the disappointment and move on, grumbling to themselves as they leave the store. The writer of the post I linked to above took matters into his own hands, using a free online digital photo editing service and a digital camera. He was able to save money on passport photos and get photos he was satisfied with.