#1: Cropping

Don’t get too artsy. Cropping a bit of the crown of your head is fine and can be an effective way to focus more attention on your eyes, but don’t let your photographer chop off whole portions of your face. Whether you’re in business or the arts, extreme crops imply you’re trying to hide something. Before you make final crops, consider other restrictions: LinkedIn has specific crop rules, as may your company’s webmaster or your own website theme. Casting agents generally prefer a standard size, most often vertical, though this has relaxed somewhat in recent years to include horizontal shots.

#2: Retouching

Retouching is meant to bring out the best you by bringing out the sparkle in your eyes, cleaning up loose hairs, eliminating temporary blemishes (see What is a Great Headshot, #1).  It shouldn’t be used like cosmetic surgery, a fountain of youth or a miracle weight loss program. Otherwise, when potential clients / bosses / casting directors meet you face-to-face, they’ll feel like you misrepresented yourself.  

#3: Web resolution or high resolution images?

If your headshot is solely for digital use, you may only need web resolution images. They’re sized for accurate display on monitors, tablets and phones, but will appear blurry when printed. On the other hand, actors and models will want high quality prints, as will anyone using a headshot for publicity photos and marketing materials. These require high-resolution images (unless you want to look like a faded old photo from the ’70s). NYC has many excellent printers, and I’m happy to provide recommendations. Get a printed proof to review before you order a large quantity since photos can look different on paper than they do on monitors. If it needs some adjustment, ask the lab to reprint it to satisfy your expectations.

Want to learn more? Read my whole Guide to Great Headshots:

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