How and Where to Get a Medical Residency Headshot Made for You in Los Angeles

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By The Light Committee

So, you are ready to start your medical residency journey and just need to get going on the application process. There are several required documents and one is a photo, or headshot, to submit with your application. But are there requirements to meet or will any photo – even from a smartphone – do just fine?

An example of a woman in a medical residency application headshot
A Medical Residency Headshot Has Specific Technical Requirements That Must Be Met to Successfully Upload it to the MyERAS system

Requirements to Meet for a MyERAS® Application Photo or Headshot

Your headshot is submitted as part of the program’s effort to more easily identify you as an applicant when you report for an interview So, it is a good idea to ensure the headshot is a good professional representation of you, especially since you are competing for spots in the program. The more you can put your best foot forward even  before the interview, the more you increase your chances for success. So, a professional headshot is typically the way to go, especially if you are unsure as to how to reformat a smartphone shot to meet requirements.

So, a photo of your – or your headshot – is one document required as part of the MyERAS® application. You will upload the photo to the system but it will get kicked back if you do not meet the requirements. The requirements for an ERAS headshot file, of which they must not be exceeded are:

Dimensions: 2.5 in. x 3.5 in.
Resolution: 150dpi
File Size: 150kb

Requirements can be updated. For example, the file size requirement was recently increased, allowing photographers to provide even better quality results. So, check the current MyERAS requirements before heading out to a headshot session.

A man posing for a medical residency headshot wearing a suit in Los Angeles
Another Example of a Headshot Formatted to Meet MyERAS Application Requirements

Finding a Medical Residency Headshot Photographer in Los Angeles

In Los Angeles, there are more than a thousand headshot photographer studios to choose from. So, how do you dwindle it down to just a couple or so to consider? Here is a quick checklist:

  1. Search on Google for “medical residency headshot Los Angeles”
  2. Make a list from the first 20 or so photographers you find.
  3. Search on Google Maps for the same “medical residency headshot Los Angeles”
  4. Add only photographers that have at least 100 5-star reviews.
  5. Go to each of their websites to check out their work examples and rates.
  6. Make a final list of 1-2 that have good work and good rates.
  7. Check availability and book the photographer that suits your schedule.

If your results turn out only a very short list of results, change your search term to just “headshots Los Angeles” and you’ll get plenty more options. You do want to ensure they can meet the MyERAS technical photo requirements. So, be sure that somewhere on their website they mention they do medical residency headshots. Of course, the above tips can be generally applied to any major city, not just Los Angeles. Just remember to change the city in the search term.

Tips for Getting a Good Medical Residency Headshot

So, you’ve found a photographer you like and have booked your session. Now it is time to prepare. Not to worry though, as it should not be a tedious process. Again, here is a shortlist of things to consider:

  1. Should you get your hair cut a couple of days before?
  2. What suit should you wear and what colors might you consider?
  3. Practice posing in a mirror to learn just the right smile and angles.

There are other things to consider and you can work with your photographer on them in most cases. For example, you will need to choose a background. There are no rules on this, but you should get something that provides good contrast. Commonly, this is some shade of gray.

Also, if you normally wear glasses when you meet with people – whether a work meeting or with friends – then you probably want to wear glasses for the headshot session too. This is especially the case if you will wear glasses for the interview as you will want to match what your headshot looks like.

Getting the Most Out of Your Finished Headshot

While your goal with getting a professional headshot made is to submit it for your medical residency application, you can make your investment more worthwhile. Your photographer might be willing to provide you with other crops and sizes. So, while your ERAS headshot is 2.5×3.5 inches, you could ask for a more traditional size, like 8×10”. After all, an 8×10 can be cropped into a 2.5×3.5.

In this way, you can put your headshot to other uses: on a photo ID, for LinkedIn, for the website of a medical practice you might work with, your social media profiles, and much more.

Example of an ERAS Headshot Reformatted for LinkedIn use
Depending On Your Chosen Photographer, You Can Get Other Crops and Formats to Maximize the Use of Your Headshots for IDs, LinkedIn, a Practice’s Website, etc.

The headshot process can be made difficult or smooth. Much of it depends on doing your homework on a good photographer. Thus, it is worth spending 10 minutes doing the research outline herein to find a photographer that will help make things smooth and helpful with your application.