Most photo shops only use a cheap point and shoot camera, with a makeshift backdrop. Yet they charged so much for the service. When I looked at my passport photo, the quality is pretty crappy. When my photo stays at the passport for 5 years, might as well I look good in it. So I looked into alternatives...
1) I've considered purchasing a compact printer, Canon Selphy CP910. The printer itself costs RM 449 and to get the 108 pcs of 4R photo paper and the printing cassette, it costs another RM 108. If I can squeeze 4 to 6 pieces of passport photo size in 4R paper, it will only costs me RM 1 per piece of paper. Pretty cheap, but I need capital of RM 557 to get the complete equipment
2) I've considered freemium online services that will detect your faces and the proper size requirement for certain countries. After googling for various websites, I came across 123passportphoto.com, that provides pretty good services and the pricing is not that bad too.
For ~RM10, the code is valid for life time and it can be used for the whole family. So instead of paying RM 15 for one-time, 4 pcs-crappy-photo from photo shop, I would rather spend on this service. I can decide how my photos looks like from my own camera, get 6-8 hi res photo on 4R sheet, stick it in USB drive and print it at quick photo labs for around 50 cents per piece (example at Harvey Norman ) , it still comes cheap rather than buying a printer that you don't use regularly.
The downsize is that the list of the countries are not complete (yet?). But as long as Malaysia is available, it's good enough, although the information on photo requirement is outdated ( latest Malaysia passport requires white background photo, not blue). I hope they update the database from users' feedback. I've sent them a note today (29 January 2014), let's see how long they will respond
Update 4:57pm : Wow! Their response were very quick. They have updated the information for Malaysia already!