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Headshots Should Be Cropped Tight

I like to crop my headshots tightly because I value the effect of a tight close-up on people and their interpretation of the photo. To illustrate my points, I've included a side-by-side comparison of the same image with a tight crop and a loose crop.

I like professional headshots to have a powerful impression on the people who view them. The tighter crop allows the viewer to feel a person's confidence projecting out from the photo.

Headshots are all about expression. With a loose crop, a person's face fills less than 20% of the photo. The impact of their expression is lost in a sea of irrelevant detail. In this example, the person has become an "everyman," but if we crop tightly, you feel that he's a confident man with a strong will and great depth of character.

Finally, there's a lot of competition for attention on web pages, where headshots are usually shown. I want my customer's face to fill the frame and command the viewer's attention regardless of the surrounding distractions.


Dean Birinyi is an award-winning photographer, founder, and owner of Professional Headshots Palo Alto and Silicon Valley Headshots. He specializes in expression coaching to guide his customers on presenting themselves as confident, approachable professionals ready for the next opportunity.

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