Have Your Passport Ready...
It is a system that needs careful feeding - the photos that are taken need to show your head to a nicety and there were a multitude of rules as to how you needed to appear to make the thing work. The Polaroid cameras that shot multiple images could do it but the operator needed to be careful and there were special lighting circumstances that you had to set up to get it to work. Failures were frequent, mostly due to operator error.
Reel forward ( And how many of the younger generation have ever reeled anything...?) to now with a dedicated system called ID Station. It has taken out most of the misery from the business. We got one for the shop and have been experimenting.
The basis is a small dye-sub printer, a wifi card, a Nikon camera, and a Nissan flash. We still need to stand the subject in front of a plain white backdrop and direct the Nissan flash onto it as a wash-out, but the front flash can be as simple as the on-camera flash of a D300, D90, D7100, or D600. You simply frame the victim with a standard 50mm lens - and you use the camera in Landscape orientation - and fire away.
The wifi sends the signal to the printer. The clever program there has all the data for dozens of countries' passport requirements and it displays the face for your selected country to fit the appropriate criteria. If the backdrop is a little off it can automatically correct it. Once it agrees that the thing will be accepted it prints out a sheet of four of them. You can also ask for a certificate that insists that the images are correct, in case you need to argue with the woman at the post office.
The results are 100% on the ones taken at the post office - we recently took a picture for the passport of one of our staff members and compared it to a similar effort his brother had obtained from the post office...and I know which one of them looks better. Presumably they will both get out of the country this week, but it will be interesting to see if they let them both back in...
We can do passport pics right now for $ 18.95.
* If your face matches the photo you pass. If not they beat you until it does.