Where do I crop my headshot? you might be wondering when you’re in the studio having a professional portrait taken.
Or maybe you’re not wondering it at all until the photographer snaps a photo and you realize your waistline is in the shot and you thought it was just going to be your head and shoulders.
When we’re taking headshots we ask our clients where they would like the photos cropped, and 9 times out of 10, we get a “????” as an answer. So we follow up with more questions:
Where is the final photo being used?
Does it need to match the cropping of other photos on that website, publication, or other material?
How much versatility do you need?
How much of your body are you comfortable showing?
If you need the photo for a banner image on your website, for example, cropping is so integral to its final usage that we’ll need to take the photo a certain way to make sure it’s cropped properly and fits where it’s going, and to make sure there’s space on the sides for buttons or copy, or just to fill a space that’s a long and narrow rectangle:
If your photo is being added to a website with team photos, then it’s good to match the cropping of the other photos for a seamless look.
If you’re still stumped and need to make a quick decision now (you’re in the studio, the lights are pointed at you, and the photographer is waiting for an answer) then it’s best to err on the side of a wider crop. You can always crop IN on a photo, but you can’t crop OUT and make it wider than it was taken. For example, if you take the photo waist-up, you can always crop it later to go elbows-up, head and shoulders, or take it from a rectangle to a square, or a LinkedIn circle crop.
If you have absolutely no constraints, then the most important question is how do you want it cropped? There’s no right or wrong answer with cropping, it has more to do with what looks right and what you’re comfortable with. So experiment with different crops and framing and see what works for you!