We are often asked why we shoot our headshots as wide as we do. The answer? To let you crop to whatever size and dimensions you might need. We don't like to crop the images for you because you'll need the wide file to be able to crop it in in many different formats as your needs change over time, and you upload your image to different websites or use it in various ways.
Sometimes cropping can be a challenge, so we wanted to offer some tips and visual examples!
1. Your head should be in the upper third of the image.
If you are cropping in close, use a grid sectioned into thirds and align your eye line with the top line of the grid. If you are cropping wider, be sure that your head is positioned within the top third of the image.
2. If you are cropping tight, make sure your face is centered.
3. Because this is a business headshot, you should not crop the top of your head (actors usually crop in closer and the tip of the hair is sometimes cut off).
4. Don't lose your neck and shoulders.
In a business headshot, it is also best to crop above the chest. In a male headshot for example, you will want to crop just above where the tie meets the jacket.
5. Your face should be the focus.
You don't want too much headroom or too much of your shoulders compared to your face. Again, be sure to keep your face in the top third of the image.
6. If you are standing on an angle in the image and cropping in close, keep your face to the center of the crop.
If you have more of a front shoulder or can see too much of your back shoulder you may look lopsided!
Now that we've covered cropping guidelines, on to the tech stuff!
What programs should you use to crop?
If you are on a Mac, the standard photo viewing application is called “Preview,” which should come with your computer.
Video of Cropping in "Preview"
First, ensure your selection tool is set to “rectangular selection.”
When you scroll your cursor over the image you should see a cross.
Then click and drag your cursor across the image to select the portion you would like to crop (the dimensions of your crop should display at the bottom right corner).
With your crop selected, you can use the “Tools” dropdown menu at the top of your screen to select “crop,” or use the shortcut “command+K.”
Alternatively, if you want a bit more control, you can use the “Photos” application. Select “Edit” in the top right corner followed by “Crop” on the dropdown menu.
Once you’ve selected “Crop,” you will have the option to choose a fixed “Aspect Ratio,” or photo dimensions, at the bottom right.
The benefit of using Photos over Preview is that the crop option in Photos automatically gives you the grid guide mentioned in point number one.
If you are on windows, the standard photo application is “Paint.”
Video of Cropping in "Paint"
Open your image, then under the home tab in the “Image” group, you will see the option to “Select” and the option to “Crop.” Select the section of the image you would like to keep then choose the “Crop” option.
Voila, now your image has been cropped! Be sure to select “Save As…” when you save the image to create a new file so as not to overwrite the original file–you may need it for a different crop in the future!
As an overall takeaway, cropping your headshot is essential to making sure it looks excellent. If you don't crop, you'll be missing out because your photo could look much less professional!
I commend you for doing your research, because it means you're putting in the work to ensure your photos look as good as possible.
Knowing how to crop professional headshot is only one of things you need to know so you don't make a mistake that could cost you hundreds (or in some cases thousands) of dollars.
I have a great page called Get the Greatest Headshots of Your Life with a bunch of extremely helpful info. If you sign up to access everything, I'll send you the page, along with adding you into our monthly $650 headshot drawing! Click here to sign up and get the goods.