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?
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.