I have a simple question. Where can I take photos with Schengen standards in US? (FYI, I live in San Diego, CA). I tried Imprint and Fedex office. Both told me that they only take 2x2 inch photo which is specialized for American passport. For Schengen visa application, I need 6x4 cm photo.
One option you have is to find a shopping mall or a supermarket that offers a photo booth. For instance, in the UK there is a chain called Photo-Me that sets up such booths in major shopping areas, and where you can get 'correct size' pictures printed for visas. On a per picture basis this is an expensive option but nothing beats its ease-of-use.
A more DIY method is to use an online service - there are many; ePassportPhoto being one of the major ones - where you can upload a digital picture taken by yourself and then it formats the picture into the correct size for a passport / visa for a given country as multiples on standard photo printing sizes that are supported by photo print shops. You can either get this printed directly by them (this is how they make money) or just download the file and take it to a print shop at your convenience. The site also provides guidance on photo requirements (such as glasses on/off, etc).
You can take your own photo at home using the general passport photo guidelines here. There are tips on how to prevent shadows at the background.
The following are the checklist for generating acceptable passport photos:
Frame subject with full face, front view, eyes open, mouth closed
Center head within frame
Photograph subject against a plain white or off-white background; Usually using smooth white cloth as background should be OK.
Position subject and lighting so that there are no distracting shadows on the face or background
Encourage subject to have a natural expression. No smiling. As reported by timesonline, smiling babies contributed to 400,000 passport applications being rejected by The UK Passport Service (UKPS) towards the end of 2005. So no smiling, just natural expression.
Ensure light on the face is even.
After you take the photo, upload it to 123passportphoto and select Switzerland (Schweiz) in the country list. According the information at Yahoo answers, Schengen visa photo is 45mm high x 35mm wide, which is the same as Switzerland passport photo size.
Next, crop your photo using the online crop tool. You will get multiple passport photos on a 4R sheet. Download the 4R sheet. Print it at home or any drugstore such as Walgreen.
After spending hours running all over town, we found a rep at CVS that could do it. He said most reps do not even know it is available to them. They must use the Apex machine, NOT the machine that does US passports. Give them the country you need or the dimensions. 35mm by 45 mm, not a problem. They printed out a sheet of 8 for 13.99!!
It is always advisable to use 35×45mm sized photos for Schengen. I know a friend who sent 2×2 inch photos, and they were rejected. See the link here. Some consulates accept 45×45mm, 50×50mm (which is like 2×2 inch). The best source is the instructions you get with your visa application. Regarding getting photos in, say, 35×45mm size, I would advise against sites like epassportphot.com etc. who offer free online cropping. Most of our photos are not that well taken, so you need a full service passport photo website like Online Passport Photo who will enhance exposure, remove shadows and fix your photos to make them look like professionally taken photos.
Log on to iPassportPhotos.com and follow the instructions for getting your passport or visa photos. All instructions for "how to take photos for passport at home" and how to order, is given there. We just have to follow the steps. There are three simple steps to get passport or visa photos in any size, for any country.
You can use either a digi cam or a mobile app to shoot a good high res photo.
I used https://www.idphoto4you.com to generate a Schengen visa photo. (35mm by 45 mm) and then used https://makepassportphoto.com to create a grid of photos. Later you can print it like a normal photo at your nearest photo service station and request them to use the photo cutter.