What Size Should Headshots Be?

As someone who has shot thousands of headshots over the years, one of the most common questions I get asked is, “What size should headshots be?”

The standard size for printed acting headshots is 8×10 inches. For online use, square headshots around 400×400 or 600×600 pixels are common.

Consider the medium, composition, and intended audience when deciding the ideal headshot size.

The size of your headshot can have a significant impact on how it is perceived by others, whether you’re an actor, model, or even a professional in the corporate world.

Understanding the Importance of Headshot Size

Headshots play a crucial role in professional settings.

They are the first impression that potential employers, clients, or casting directors have of you. Therefore, it’s essential to get the size right to make a positive impact and capture a great headshot.

The size of your headshot affects how it is viewed on various platforms, from online portfolios to printed materials.

It can also impact the way your features are perceived, influencing how you’re perceived as a professional.

The Role of Headshots in Professional Settings

In professional settings, headshots not only showcase your physical appearance but also convey your

  • Personality.
  • Professionalism.
  • And Confidence.

Whether you’re an actor or a corporate professional, knowing what to wear in professional headshots can make a significant difference in how you are perceived and remembered by others.

When it comes to headshots, it’s not just about capturing your physical features. It’s about capturing your essence, your unique qualities that set you apart from others.

A headshot can tell a story, revealing your character and capturing the attention of those who see it.

It’s a powerful tool that can open doors and create opportunities.

For actor headshots, it is especially important as they serve as a visual representation of the roles they can play.

Casting directors often rely on headshots to make initial decisions about who to bring in for auditions.

For those of you who don’t know, let me tell you that casting directors or agents don’t like black and white headshots at all as they assume that you are a person who is lazy and does not even update your profile image in social media.

A well-executed headshot can convey the range of emotions an actor can portray, showcasing their versatility and talent.

How Headshot Size Impacts Perception

The size of your headshot can influence how it is perceived.

A larger headshot may appear more prominent and attention-grabbing, while a smaller one may seem less impactful.

Consider the context in which your headshot will be viewed to determine the ideal size.

For example, if your headshot will be displayed on casting websites or social media platforms as an Instagram profile photo, it should be large enough to be clearly visible on various devices.

When deciding on the size of your headshot, it’s important to consider the platform or medium it will be used on.

If it’s for a printed portfolio, you may want to opt for a larger size to ensure that all the details are visible.

On the other hand, if it’s for an online portfolio, you need to consider how it will appear on different screen sizes, from desktops to mobile devices.

Another factor to consider is the intended audience

If your headshot is primarily for casting directors or potential employers in a specific industry, you may want to research the standard headshot sizes within that industry.

Different industries may have different expectations when it comes to headshot sizes, so it’s essential to tailor your headshot accordingly.

In addition to size, other elements such as lighting, background, and composition also play a significant role in how your headshot is perceived.

The overall aesthetic and professionalism of the headshot photos can greatly impact the impression they leave on others. 

Remember, your headshot is an investment in your professional photo/ image.

It’s worth taking the time and effort to ensure that it accurately represents who you are and what you have to offer.

So, whether you’re updating your headshot or getting one for the first time, consider the importance of size and all the other factors that contribute to a compelling and impactful headshot.

Standard Sizes for Headshots

Industry Standards for Acting and Modeling Headshots

In the acting and modeling industry, headshots typically follow specific size guidelines.

The most common size for printed headshots is 8×10 inches. This size allows for easy distribution to casting directors and agencies.

However, it’s important to ensure that you have a good headshot that looks excellent both in print and in digital formats, as online portfolios and submissions are becoming increasingly commonplace.

Corporate and Business Headshot Size Guidelines

For professionals in the corporate and business world, headshot sizes may vary depending on the specific requirements of your industry or company.

Generally, headshots for business purposes are smaller and optimized for digital usage.

Square headshot dimensions of 400×400 pixels or 600×600 pixels are common on LinkedIn profiles and company websites.

These sizes ensure that your professional headshot will look proportionate when displayed alongside your professional achievements and credentials.

Factors Influencing the Size of Headshots

The Impact of Medium on Headshot Size

The medium through which your headshot will be displayed significantly influences the ideal size.

If your headshot will primarily be used for online purposes, such as social media or websites, it’s crucial to ensure that it’s large enough to be clearly visible on screens of various sizes.

On the other hand, if your headshot will mostly be printed, such as for an acting portfolio If you want to have an acting career, a larger size is necessary to showcase the details and nuances of your facial features.

How Composition Affects Headshot Size

The way your headshot is composed can also impact its perceived size.

A close-up headshot with minimal background will naturally appear more prominent than a headshot that includes more of the body or surrounding environment.

Considering the desired composition can help guide your decision on the appropriate size to ensure that your features are showcased effectively.

Common Mistakes in Headshot Sizing

Oversized Headshots: Issues and Consequences

One common mistake is using oversized headshots that may lose detail and appear distorted when resized for online usage.

Oversized headshots can also be overwhelming and distract from your professional image.

It’s essential to choose a size that maintains the integrity and clarity of your headshot, regardless of the platform on which it will be displayed.

Problems with Undersized Headshots

On the other hand, using undersized headshots can lead to a lack of visibility and difficulty in discerning facial features.

When your headshot is too small, important details may be lost, causing potential employers or casting directors to move on to other candidates.

It’s crucial to find the right balance between size and clarity to ensure your headshot leaves a lasting impression.

Tips for Getting the Perfect Headshot Size

Working with a Professional Photographer

Engaging a professional photographer is one of the best decisions you can make to ensure you get the ideal headshot size for your headshot photography while also receiving guidance on what to wear for headshot sessions.

Professional photographers have extensive experience in capturing headshots for different industries and platforms.

They can guide you in selecting the appropriate size based on your goals and help you create a headshot that reflects your professional image effectively.

Useful Tip: We have written a dedicated post that’ll help you choose the right Headshot Photographer in New York City. Do take a look If you happen to be from NYC.

Also, check out this video that talks about the common mistakes you should avoid for your headshots.


Using Editing Tools for Size Adjustment

If you already have a headshot and want to adjust its size, editing tools can be helpful.

However, it’s essential to use high-quality software like ProPhotos or seek professional assistance to avoid compromising the integrity and clarity of your headshot.

Proper resizing techniques will ensure that your headshot looks professional and well-proportioned across various platforms and mediums.


In conclusion, headshot size plays a vital role in how you are perceived in professional settings.

Whether you’re an actor, model, or corporate professional, finding the right size for your headshot is crucial.

Consider industry standards, the impact of different mediums, and the composition of your headshot to make an informed decision.

Avoid common mistakes such as using oversized or undersized headshots, as they can hinder the effectiveness of your headshot.

By following these tips and considering the advice of a professional photographer, you can ensure that your headshot size enhances your professional image and leaves a lasting impression.