ERAS Medical School Application and Medical Residency Headshots

The headshot you submit with your medical residency application is one the most important parts of your application, and one of the most important headshots of your early career. Along with your grades, it is one of the primary pieces considered by the team of doctors who will evaluate your application. That’s why it’s important to find a professional medical residency headshot photographer in Phoenix, AZ.

ERAS Headshot Guidelines

Phoenix Medical School Headshots

For medical residency headshots to be eligible, they must conform to ERAS specifications. The current required format is 2.5 inches x 3.5 inches, and a resolution of 150 dpi, and a maximum file size of 100 kb. Most of these specifications are in place to prevent issues during upload. If your headshot doesn’t meet these guidelines, it may be rejected.

Your ERAS headshot must be in color. The photo must include a frontal view of the person’s head and shoulders. Face must also be centered in the middle of the photo. A slight angle is ok, but you don’t want anything dramatic such as looking over your shoulder, or from “creative” angles.

Neutral backgrounds are best and most commonly used. Some programs will specifically mention not using a dark background. I generally recommend white, or a light gray.

How to Make Your ERAS Medical Headshots Stand Out

Your medical school application headshot isn’t the only one under review. Many different medical headshots pass through the hands of interviewers (including your classmates). 

In 2018, the Dermatology Online Journal conducted a study regarding headshots. In their study, they analyzed hundreds of different headshots, and found several characteristics that provided for a positive, desirable outcome. These included:

  • Wearing a suit/ jacket
  • Wearing glasses
  • Hair down (for women)
  • Smiling in your photo

ERAS and Medical School Application Headshot Do's and Dont's

To help you stand out from the crowd, here are some “do’s” and “dont’s” for your medical residency headshot.


  • Hire a Professional Photographer – you may be tempted to have your “friend with a nice camera” take your headshot, but there is a level of difference when it comes to experience, and expertise of a professional headshot photographer.  This includes lighting, posing, equipment, and editing to help you get the best results. Investing in a professional photographer is investing in your future.
  • Dress Professionally – I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” Going back to the study, how you dress can matter. Men should wear a suit, but a tie isn’t necessarily needed (although I typically recommend it). Women wearing their hair down gave a more positive outcome. Be mindful of your outfit. Select something that is more on the conservative side, avoiding anything that is too low-cut, or see through.  Basically a good rule to follow is to dress how you would for an interview. After all, this really is the first part of your interview.
  • SMILE! Headshots were the subject was smiling showed a more favorable outcome, and photos showcasing smiles are more inviting, so don’t forget to smile!


  • Wear a white coat – While it may be tempting, do not wear your white coat for your submission headshot. Some reviewers may find it arrogant or pretentious. 
  • Wear glasses if you don’t actually need them – While studies suggest that photos with glasses are seen as more favorable, don’t wear them if you don’t wear them regularly.
  • Be Trendy – Avoid any distracting or trends hairstyles, facial hair, jewelry, or clothing. You don’t want your handlebar mustache to draw the attention away from you.
  • Wait Until the Last Minute – I recommend taking your residency headshot photo early in the year, (during the first quarter, January to March). This can help improve the results when you’re a little less busy with a lighter schedule, and have less stress.
  • Use a Cell Phone – Using portrait mode may be appealing to save on cost, but it still won’t deliver the same results as a professional headshot in a studio setting with professional lighting.

Book A Medical Residency Headshot in Phoenix

I hope these tips have been helpful in prepping you for your headshot for your medical residency application. If you’re ready to book a session, and looking for a professional headshot photographer in Phoenix, give me a call or submit a message below. I’d be happy to help you out! I offer in studio headshot sessions, as well as the option to travel to you to take your portrait. Sessions start at just $125 for a basic headshot session.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Good luck!

Phoenix Medical School Headshots

ERAS / Medical Residency Headshots

Make sure your headshot is as strong as your resume. Schedule a session today to update your application headshots.

Schedule Your Medical Residency Headshot Today

Share this post