Passport photo services go digital

Elizabeth Giorgi

Lights, camera, passport.

The U Card office and the Learning Abroad Center have invested in digital cameras to replace the Polaroid cameras used in their offices to take passport photos. The cameras offer better photo quality and reduced prices for students and the University community.

The U Card office wants students and the community to be able to come in and get what they need in the same day, said U Card director Shirley Everson.

The U Card office has been offering passport services for years; however, this month is the first time they have offered the use of a digital camera in their office.

Everson said the process takes minutes and students as well as the University community are welcome to come in for the service.

“We have been doing this for seven years because it seemed like (offering passport photo services) made sense as a convenience for the community,” she said.

However, in the U Card office people cannot get the rest of the paperwork required to finish the passport process. The office offers only photo services, Everson said.

In addition to the U Card office, the Learning Abroad Center updated to digital camera services last month, said resource center adviser Scott Daby.

Daby said the center has noticed an increase in the quality of the photos.

Students can look at their photo before the office prints it, and employees can catch people when they have their eyes closed, he said.

The formatting also is more precise with the digital services so there are fewer mistakes, he said.

“There is a pretty steady flow for study abroad, international students needing visa photos,” Daby said. “It is a constant demand; it is a better service and cheaper.”

Daby said one of the perks of having the photo taken in the Learning Abroad Center is the included outline detailing how to complete the passport process, which includes the application Web site.

First-year cultural studies and comparative literature student Pamela Onyekaba said she had her passport photo taken at a store rather than at the University.

Onyekaba said that though the photo she had taken is fine, it would have been nice to know the University has services on campus for students who need to get a passport photo taken.

Everson and Daby said the services are not advertised outside of their offices, as they rely on word of mouth to promote the service.