What Size Are Headshot Photos?

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By The Light Committee

If you are looking to get headshots in Los Angeles – or any other market – you might be wondering what size your headshot should be. Usually, 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 professional headshots. So, is it for LinkedIn, Actor’s Access, Backstage, Facebook, Twitter, something else? And will it be printed?

A commercial actor headshot of a woman in natural near Los Angeles
A Professional Headshot Is Commonly an 8x10" Photo for Print But, What About for Digital Use?

Print remains somewhat 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 Headshot Photo Size

Actor headshots are commonly 8” x 10” (W x H), though some actors opt for 10” x 8” too. Also, some platforms request a different size. But, while these are the preferred sizes for most 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.

A theatrical actor headshot of a man in leather in a studio near Burbank with a red background
A Common Size for an Actor Headshot – Such as This Theatrical Headshot – is also 8x10” in size

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.

Currently, Actor’s Access specifies files should be 500 x 700 pixels, which translates to a 5×7 crop. You can take a common 8×10″ headshot and crop into a 5×7 but not the other way around. What is not specified is the max file size. So, you should try to upload a print quality file first to see if it is compressed awfully by their system or if the resolution holds up. Otherwise, you should try to compress the file yourself to the lowest tolerance of losing quality and try to upload that file and see if the system does not compress it further.

Backstage’s file specifications are more broad and it appears crop factor is not limited and max file size is up to 10 MB, which is often enough for a print quality 8×10. But, like with Actor’s Access, upload and then check that Backstage didn’t over-crunch your headshot, especially since the highest quality is important.

Most photographers provide actors 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.

Corporate Headshot Photo Size

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.

men studio professional headshots in los angeles wearing a suit
Corporate Headshots Are Also Often 8x10” But Online Uses Like Company Websites Might Alter This

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 Headshot Photo Size

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.

Professional headshot for LinkedIn size and dimensions
Increasingly, the Quality of Your LinkedIn Profile Photo Has an Impact on How Effective LinkedIn Can Be for You

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.

Twitter Profile Photo Size

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 Profile Photo Size

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 176 x 176 pixels on computers and 196 x 196 pixels on smartphones. If you opt to instead use the cover photo area for your headshot, you will have more visibility. It displays at 851 pixels wide by 315 pixels tall on computers.

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. As always, check the links for the latest updates on file requirements.

Instagram Profile Photo Size

Some people look at their Instagram profile photo on their phone and it is small. But remember that people can select your profile picture to have a pop up view of a larger version of it. Also, your Instagram profile is available for viewing from a desktop web browser where the photos on your feed 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.

Medical Residency Applications

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 150dpi  and the file size should be 150kb 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.

Other Profiles Requiring Headshots

Headshot size requirements can be quite endless. For example, if you are modeling you probably want modeling 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.

model portfolio photo shoot of a woman in a studio in Los Angeles
Model Shots Will Often Be Cropped to Meet the Specific Look a Model is After

For almost all these applications, working with a headshot photographer in Los Angeles, as well as in other cities, 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.