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Should Headshots Be Matte or Glossy?

If you’re looking to get a headshot done, you might also need to print it. Actors often do to provide for casting calls. Real estate agents also do for brochures. There are various other situations where you might need to print. So, is matte or glossy better?

headshot prints matte or glossy

Trying to Figure Out If You Should Print Your Headshot on Matte or Glossy Paper? First, Be Sure Your Headshot Image is Print-Worthy.

Getting right to the answer, matte paper is usually better than glossy. Glossy does have more contrast and can help you stand out, particularly if most people use matte paper. So, glossy isn’t without consideration. Matte finishes tend to hide fingerprints and other foreign stains much better.

Also, glossy photos are much more reflective. So, under direct light they might be harder to see. Matte finishes avoid this. But, these aren’t your only two options. A happy medium is luster, or lustre. This is a lightly gloss paper so it pops more than matte paper while avoiding most of the fingerprint and reflection problems of glossy paper.

You can read more about the different types of paper options here.

First, Get a Good Headshot

How good the paper it’s printed on is doesn’t matter if the headshot is of poor quality. So, first, be sure you get a good high-quality headshot. Of course, this means stay away from using a selfie, unless your goal is to appear unprofessional.

The entire point of having a headshot printed is to showcase a certain level of quality, from the image made to the paper type used. So, invest in a good headshot first.

What Size Should I Print My Headshots?

For actors, it’s almost always 8×10” in print size. Some actors place their name on a corner of the photo. Some actors choose to have a white border while others opt not to. These are often personal choice. But, it’s best for actors to verify preferences, if any with their chosen agent or manager.

In other industries, from lawyers to real estate, it will depend on what the end goal is. For example, if you want a headshot for a business card, how will you orient the content – landscape or portrait view? The same consideration is given for brochures and any other print material.

Where Should I Get My Headshots Printed

Some headshot photographers have high-quality print capabilities on sight. There’s a lot of reward that comes to a photographer to see their work in print. So, try asking your headshot photographer first.

Depending on what city you’re in, there might be good local printing options too. Stop by a local print shop to see their work before ordering. If you’re looking to order online, some that I’ve had a personally good experience with include Mpix and Shutterfly. On the business side – for business cards, brochures, etc. – there us Uprinting and Vistaprint.

Usually, it’s not a good idea to head over to your local pharmacy. Again, when printing a headshot you’re looking for end-to-end quality. After all, it’s likely that you’re relying on that printed headshot to directly or indirectly translate into paying work for you.

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