If you are looking to get headshots in Los Angeles – or any other market – you might be wondering what size your headshot should be. There is no standard size and the answer to this question is both very simple and can be technically difficult too. It all depends on the application – how will it be used? Actor headshots can be cropped or sized similar or quite different than corporate headshots. So, is it for LinkedIn, Actor’s Access, Facebook, Twitter, something else? And will it be printed?
Print remains highly relevant; despite the belief we live only in an online or digital world. So, it is first important to have a quick understanding of the difference between sizes for prints and digital forms.
Actor headshots are commonly 8” x 10” (W x H), though some actors opt for 10” x 8” too. But, while these are the preferred sizes for casting submissions, there is no law or rule across the industry requiring this. Yes, even in this decade some actor printed headshots are still requested. So, be sure to also get headshots done in print quality. If you skipped the section above on print quality, you may want to check it out.
You will also want to have a web-optimized file. Actors will commonly need to upload a headshot to websites like Actor’s Access or Backstage. Such websites might have a file-size limit and a print-quality file might exceed these limits. So, your photographer should provide you with a web-optimized image. This can be a JPEG file that is smaller in size in terms of dimensions and storage requirements. To the human eye, the quality between this file and the print-quality file on a digital screen should not be noticeable, other than it might be slightly smaller.
For corporate use, most of the time the size will be driven by the application. Nowadays these are almost always for online applications. New corporate headshots might be for the redesigned website, in which case the web designer or project manager might have desired specifications. These can range from square to rectangular to circular crops.
Keep in mind that for corporate headshots, you probably want them for multiple business uses. So, when you get a corporate headshot, you might want to be sure the finished file is adaptable to more than one use. For example, if you author an article the magazine you worked with might need an 8” x 10” crop, in which case that circular crop you have will not work.
If you are an entrepreneur, in business for yourself, or you are your product, you might opt to get a hero image for your website. This can be useful for an accountant, attorney, fitness consultant, real estate agent, and so on. Basically, this hero image is large, like a banner. It is often at the top of the page and spans from one side to the other. Sometimes it can even be the entire size of the screen. If you are going after such a design approach, be sure too coordinate technical specifications with your web designer.
LinkedIn outlines its LinkedIn profile photo requirements online. To summarize them, the maximum file size is 8 MB. It should be a pixel size between 400 x 400 at a minimum, to 7,680 (w) x 4,320 (h). They also specify to use either a PNG or JPEG file.
However, there are at least three other things to consider for a LinkedIn or a corporate headshot. They involve making sure you use a professionally taken photo to avoid the pitfalls that can happen if you do not. LinkedIn also recommends using a professional photographer for this. It is well understood by recruiters that smartphone shots or selfies are poor taste professionally.
Some professionals might want to use the Twitter profile photo as an opportunity to post a headshot. Twitter also has specific requirements for uploading a Twitter profile photo.
A summary of most requirements includes being sure to use a JPEG, GIF or PNG file. The maximum file size is 2 MB. So, it is likely a print-quality file will not work. Dimensions are to be 400 x400 pixels minimum and 1,500×1,500 maximum.
Facebook might be another opportunity to use a headshot for your profile picture. Nowadays, social media platforms are widely used to promote entrepreneurial businesses. So, this move might be essential to you.
Facebook also outlines its Facebook profile picture requirements online and a summary follows. The profile photo displays at 170 x 170 pixels on computers and 128 x 128 pixels on smartphones. If you opt to instead use the cover photo area for your headshot, you will have more visibility. It displays at 820 pixels wide by 312 pixels tall on computers and 640 pixels wide by 360 pixels tall on smartphones.
Other cover page photo requirements include being at least 400 pixels wide and 150 pixels tall. If you use an sRGB JPG file that is 851 pixels wide, 315 pixels tall and less than 100 kilobytes, it will load faster. Facebook also advises if any photos have your logo or text, you may get a better result by using a PNG file.
Some people look at their Instagram profile photo on their phone and it is small. But remember that your Instagram profile is available for viewing from a desktop web browser where the photos are much larger. Viewing an Instagram photo on a 32” desktop monitor compared to some of the largest smartphones is around twice the size image.
Your profile image is 3-4 times larger on a 32-inch desktop monitor. So, you will want to use a better quality photo. Instagram does not appear to specify minimum profile photo requirements, but most social media experts recommend a picture size of at least 110 x 110 DPI.
Those that need to submit a medical residency application often need to comply with ERAS requirements for the photo. Most headshots have a 4×5 crop factor, but ERAS requires a 5×7 crop factor. A professional photographer will understand these differences.
ERAS requires photo dimensions to be 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches. Furthermore, the resolution should not exceed 150 DPI and the file size should be 100kb or smaller. Since getting this shot will require a competent photographer, it is a good idea for anyone looking to get this done to go ahead and get common headshots done while they are at it, for other future uses.
Headshot size requirements can be quite endless. For example, if you are modeling you probably want model headshots to post on popular sites like Model Mayhem. According to the latest information found, the site also has specific requirements. They include using only JPG or PNG file types. Photos must be greater than 200 (w) x 300 (h) pixels and no less than 7kb in file size. Meanwhile, the maximum file size is 4,000 x 4,000 pixels and no more than 1,500kb in file size.
For almost all these applications, using a professional headshots photographer might be the way to go. They can help ensure meeting any technical requirements, not to mention make your headshot look good compared to those that settle for using selfies.
There are clear reasons to go pro. More than 200 million users visit a business profile at least daily on Instagram. A professional photo gets 14 times more views on LinkedIn. And there are dozens more proof points about using professionally made photos than just these two.