Key By Photo

What is Key By Photo and How Does it Work?

What is Key By Photo and How Does it Work? - Tom's Key Company

What is Key By Photo and How Does it Work?

Updated: April 2023

Technology has brought us so many conveniences in the last few decades. You can now have necessities such as groceries and clothing delivered to the doorstep of your home without having to navigate through busy roads and a sea of people. Likewise with Tom’s Key Company our Key By Photo Technology has revolutionized the way one creates a spare key. Say goodbye to dealerships and locksmiths and allow us to tell you all about the future of spare key cutting, via Tom’s Key Company Key By Photo!

What is Key By Photo?

Key By Photo is the name for our magical technology that allows us to create a spare key blade with just a few photo samples of your key. All we need are 3 pictures and we can have that spare key cut for you in a flash.

How Does Key By Photo Work?

Provided adequate photos, we take those photos and scan them via “too smart of technology for me to explain.” From there our smart tech throws back a few codes for your key, which are then inputted to a key cutting machine, and voila! You have yourself a new key ready to ship out to you.

What Do Adequate Photos Look Like?

To take proper photos of your key it does require you to slightly tap into your inner photographer. Key By Photo requirements are as follows: 

  1. Free of imperfections - Keys photos should be clear of blemishes, marks, or blurs. Especially blurs as this is one of our most common mistakes and reasons why many orders are held back. We recommend that once you take your photos you review them for imperfections.
  2. Solid Background Only - Key photos should be taken on a solid background for proper contrast and best recognition by our photo reader. Key should not be on the palm of your hand, or floating in the air. A table, a countertop, a car hood, all these are very accessible places and make for great key photography.
  3. Focus on the blade - Keys should primarily focus on the blade and its cuts upon the blade. We only need the blade to be the focal point, not the buttons on your keys or your key chains (although your keychain(s) might be awesome).
  4. The key should be flat - The key should only lie flat. We need no further angels or positions. Simply laying flat gets it done.
  5. Well lit and balanced - Your photos should be well lit, but also not overly exposed to light as this can add too much shine to the blade and make the cuts unreadable. Balance is key here (no pun intended).

Please note that any photos that do not properly follow these guidelines will hold back your order, so it is imperative that you follow the guidelines carefully.

To further help out with these guidelines, here are some visual guidelines as well:

Key By Photo Requirements Photo


How Much Does it Cost?

The cost of Tom’s Key: Key By Photo depends on the type of key. A standard key blade will run for about $45 while a high security cut key will cost you $55.


Why is the Cost For Key By Photo More Expensive than Some Other Key Cutting Places?

The superficial answer is that the use of the key cutting technology and the labor of the cut themselves have a cost attached to them, however, more importantly to point out is; if you have a key cut by any 3rd party store or service, -and say that key is not cut properly, in a lot of cases there is no coverage for the key. No warranty, no money back guarantees, no complete customer satisfaction. Our cost may be more expensive than a big box store or other individual services, however, with  this price our key cuts are also more expansive as well. Our products and services come with a peace of mind guarantee that if things are not done right then you can always get your money back. Additionally, if anything happens to your key with our complete services within the first year, your keys are completely covered under our warranty free of charge. 

These 3 elements of cost of technology, cost of labor, and cost of satisfaction are what make up our cost and push our cost a little bit over your average low costing key cuts, but in return you are guaranteed quality, warranty and peace of mind. Nonetheless at the end of the day, when compared to dealership pricing of a new key, you’ll find out how heaven sent our prices become.

What If I Buy Multiple Keys and Want Key By Photo?

If you want multiple keys for either the same vehicle or a different vehicle you would need to purchase Key By Photo for each key. In regards to a multiple vehicle order with Key By Photo, for the time being if you are applying Key By Photo for two different types of vehicles it is recommended to put in two different orders and/or reach out to customer service. If free shipping is your concern, worry not, we can always address this post purchase if you reach out.

How Do I Upload My Photos For My “Key By Photo” Service?

So long as you have added “Key By Photo” to your order during the checkout process of your selected key, post purchase you will be prompted to upload your photos. If in the event that this prompt does not appear, double check that “Key By Photo” was selected and that it is found in your invoice, then proceed to contact customer service at


Can I Have Key By Photo Cut My Motorcycle Key, House Key, Boat Key, etc?

Unfortunately, no. Our machines are only calibrated for car keys and nothing else.


Can I Have a Car Key Not Purchased at Tom’s Key Company Cut By Your Key By Photo Technology?

For the time being we do not have the logistics and proper procedures  to do so. Perhaps in the future. 


What If My Keys are Cut Incorrectly?

The beauty of our Key By Photo service is in this minor detail. If we cannot cut your key right for any reason, you’ll have the ability to request a recut free of charge (after completing our key recut process). We will then recut your key one more time, and if for some reason we simply can’t get it right, you will always be entitled to Tom’s Key Company 100% Money Back Guarantee. 

So now you know about our hassle free Key By Photo service (I hope you’re impressed). We strongly stand behind our product and we’re always looking to get you back on the road fast and hassle free. So what are you waiting for? Get back on the road with Tom’s Key Company today.

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