Understanding Headshot Crops

Crops are something we get questions about often. Traditionally, headshots were shot in portrait orientation (a vertical crop) with one shoulder in the image and one shoulder cropped out of the frame. While this is still a standard look for business headshots, it can be limiting for other needs. Often we will shoot headshots in a landscape crop (horizontal format) to give the client more options for final use of their image.

Horizontal Cropped Headshots Have More Cropping Options

Your final image will be a high resolution file large enough to wallpaper a skyscraper so you will have ample pixels to crop to the shape you need. When you start with loose horizontal crops you have room to crop vertical, square or close up from the same image. And when you keep the original file you can go back and make changes later if you needs change.

When starting with a vertical image you can still crop the image tighter, and still crop square and horizontal, but you have less space to work with so less versatility.

When shooting a full headshot or portfolio session I will provide you with options in both vertical and horizontal crops, but when shooting for a mini session or team headshots a horizontal file may give you the most options for print and website updates down the road.

Keep the Original Crop

I often get asked to crop images and while I can send you a tighter cropped version of your headshot, you want to keep that original image file. That image (whether vertical or horizontal) will have the most pixels you have to work with. Once you crop and save the file, you can’t “uncrop” it – you now have less pixels to work with down the road. Most websites and apps will crop your image for you for profiles photos or Instagram posts so you can upload the original image and adjust from there. It can be confusing to manage multiple versions of the same image so it be sure to protect that main image file, you will want it in the future!