visa photographs in Cambridge MA
January 31, 2012 11:44 PM   Subscribe

urgent: where in Cambridge MA can I get inexpensive instant passport-sized photos according to Canadian visa specifications?

For some godforsaken reason Canadian visa photographs are different from US ones (specs here) and I can't seem to find a photography service in Cambridge which will do them: the CVS in Harvard Square only does US specs, and Big Picture Framing on Mass Ave no longer does passport photos. I need them pretty urgently, i.e. within the next day. Where else can I look? Is there e.g. some standalone photobooth option that I'm missing?

Also, are they really, really $10 for two photos at CVS? This is different from highway robbery, how?

I'd be so grateful for any help!
posted by idlethink to Shopping (12 answers total)
I think you can get these sort of photos at walgreens? (I live at Inman, and I mean the one here)
posted by oonh at 11:49 PM on January 31, 2012

You can just take and print a couple of normal pictures of yourself and then cut them to size -- you don't have to pay to get them taken professionally. With a little trial and error, it's not hard to get the proportions of the head right. Good luck!
posted by argonauta at 11:52 PM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]

The walgreens photo computer has settings for all the different passport sizes (in the world) - at least the ones in Chicago did. Just get them to take your picture and then run it through the machine with the Canada specs. Good luck
posted by mutt.cyberspace at 12:48 AM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

If you're a Costco member... I checked the warehouse finder - it showed three within 10 miles of Cambridge. The Costco photo departments are set up with the right specs for Canadian passports. I disagree with argonauta above - it's NOT easy to get the head size + background + photo size to the correct proportions, especially with severely limited time.
posted by turbogeezer at 12:50 AM on February 1, 2012

I've taken my own photo and cropped it online at You choose what country/type of photos you need. They walk you through how to take the photo. You then upload it and crop it via their webapp which helps you line up the eyes/head/background correctly. You then get a file that you can print at a local photo place. I've done this twice now for both British and American passports. Worked a charm, photos were accepted, and the service is free.
posted by peanut butter milkshake at 3:00 AM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: My godforsaken Canadian visa photos were done at Cameras, Inc. in Davis Square. I'm sure they still do them. Try them at 617-666-2700. Good luck!
posted by Sal and Richard at 3:52 AM on February 1, 2012

Matilde's in back bay near Copley. I have gone there several times. She does your photos on the spot while you wait. No appointment and under $20. She did US, Canadian and Chinese visa pics for me without a hitch.
posted by KevCed at 4:51 AM on February 1, 2012

Best answer: Matilde's is THE place to go to for foreign passport photos. Not a coincidence that it's a short walk from the Canadian and German consulates.

I wouldn't try to do the passport shots on my own...I've heard horror stories of people getting Canadian passport photos rejected over and over for incomprehensible reasons ("my ears were casting a shadow?") and it's a legal requirement that the photographer for Canadian passport photos be a professional photographer, AND they make them write the name of the photo studio on the back of the photo.
posted by phoenixy at 5:23 AM on February 1, 2012

PS OK, I double checked and for visa photos there does not appear to be a requirement that the studio is professional, only for passport photos. The requirements are still pretty stringent and I still wouldn't try to do them myself.
posted by phoenixy at 5:27 AM on February 1, 2012

When I worked at OfficeMax on the CopyMax side, we did passport photos, and being so close to Canada we had the information and equipment to do Canada ones as well. There appears to be one in Dorchester that might be able to help.
posted by AzraelBrown at 6:01 AM on February 1, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks so much, everyone! Really appreciate it. I'm going to try Cameras, Inc. Though IMHO $20 for two (TWO!) (2!!!) photos is a spectacular instance of free market fail.
posted by idlethink at 6:16 AM on February 1, 2012

No, do *not* take pictures at Walgreens or CVS or USPS and cut them down. They will almost certainly get rejected by the consulate. I had them happen to me, which majorly screwed up some important travel, and heard of it happening to friends too. (Besides, although those places are technically "cheap", they're pretty overpriced for the piece-of-crap point-and-shoot specimens they give you.)

I went to a professional photo studio in Harvard Square -- unfortunately, I can't remember the name now. It cost the same as CVS, and the photos were actually nice (and didn't get rejected).
posted by redlines at 9:55 AM on February 1, 2012

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