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What is Headshot Photography

Headshot photography involves the art and science of taking a professional photo of someone’s face. But this can mean so many different things depending on the application. Also, there is a difference between a headshot and portrait.

Headshot Photography Purposes

In most cases, the primary reason behind getting professional headshots is that the photos will be used for commercial purposes. This means in some way – directly or indirectly – they will be used to promote a person or a business for financial gain.

Headshots Los Angeles

Headshots – Such as Realtor Headshots in Los Angeles – Can Be the Welcoming Invite Needed to Draw in New Clients

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What Size Are Headshot Photos?

If you’re 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 Headshot Photo Size

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 set requiring this. If you’re looking to ensure your actor headshots are print quality, you also need to make sure the digital file has a resolution of at least 300 dpi.

theatrical actor headshots los angeles

A Common Size for an Actor Headshot – Such as This Theatrical Headshot – is 8×10” in size

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What Are Headshot Requirements?

If you’re looking to get professional headshots you might being doing so to meet specific requirements. If so, it’s a good idea to get those requirements down to the specifics. It will help the photographer you’re working with ensure the requirements are met.

ERAS Residency Applicant Headshot

An ERAS® Residency Applicant Headshot Has Specific Requirements to Meet

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Can Headshots Be Black and White?

This is a question that comes up on some occasions – can headshots be black and white? Some might argue it depends on what it’s for. For example, some might say actor headshots can be black and white but corporate headshots should not be. Some might also argue that model headshots can be black and white. The quick answer is, of course headshots can be black and white but, not as the primary ones you use – and that’s regardless of what they are for.

Your main headshots should be in color. This is for many obvious reasons I’ll go ahead and state anyway. Whether you’re an actor, business executive, model, etc., the purpose of a headshot is to show an accurate representation of you. The last time I checked, the world operates in full color. So, a black and white headshot is not an accurate representation of you.

Black and White Actor Headshot

A Black and White Headshot is a Classic and Looks Good, Like this One. But, It’s an Outdated Process and Inaccurate Representation of You.

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Can Headshots Be Selfies

Okay, right to the point… Never ever, if you’re serious about your career. There is no such thing as a professional selfie. But there is such thing as a professional headshot. There are many reasons to steer clear of the tempting ease of just using your iPhone or Android phone.

It’s Not Even a Fair Fight

One might argue that there is no benchmark for what a professional headshot should look like, in terms of quality. But, you can look at a headshot from a professional photographer that used one of the best DSLRs available and tell. Just compare it to a selfie and you’ll easily tell the difference. So, when you put your selfie out there to be compared with truly professional headshots, you’ve failed to meet that benchmark and to be judged by it.

A smartphone camera is simply not up to the task of producing professional-quality photos or video. This is because, for professional careers, full frame DSLRs (and full frame mirrorless cameras nowadays) have been defined as the benchmark of quality for headshots. No smartphone camera comes close to meeting that benchmark. Don’t let the fancy advertisements fool you.

Why Camera Phones Are Inferior

Let’s imagine the below image represents an overlay of two rooms. The black room is clearly much larger than the white room. This is the approximate size of a full frame image sensor of a professional-grade DSLR camera – the black one – compared with the size of the image sensor on the latest iPhone XR – the white one.

Full-Frame to iPhone XR sensor size compare

While Not to Actual Scale, This is An Approximation of How Small the iPhone XR Sensor is Compared With a Full Frame DSLR or Mirrorless Sensor

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