Kern County • Bakersfield • San Joaquin Valley

Headshots • Team Photos • Portraits • Senior Portraits • Events

Thank you for visiting our cropping FAQ!


Sometime's we're asked - Why we shoot our headshots as wide as we do. The answer? To allow you crop to whatever size and dimensions you might need later on for various uses online and in print. We don't like to crop the images too tightly 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, social media or use it in advertising, print or editorial.




Sometimes cropping can go askew, so we wanted to offer some tips and visual examples to assist.  There are a few simple tips to help you get on the right path to a perfectly aligned headshot crop.

1. Your head should be in the upper third of the image. 

This is known as the "Rule Of Thirds" in photography - If you are cropping tightly (head and shoulders only), if possible, 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.


Tight Crop


Wider Crop

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 room above your head in the frame - or too little.  There should be a balance between shoulders and 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! 


5. Too Much Headroom


6. Off Center

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 How To Crop in OSX "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 How To Crop 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! 


Proper Crop

No matter if you are cropping 8x10 or to a square, sticking to these guidelines will help you get the best crop possible and maintain the power of a good headshot. 

Have any cropping or editing questions? Tweet us @karenengelphoto

Check out our Headshot Sample Gallery - 
 Headshot Photography

Email Us to schedule your professional headshot today!

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Picture       Karen Engel, Founder and Principal Photographer, Karen Engel Photography

As an overall takeaway, cropping your headshot correctly is essential to making sure it looks excellent. If you don't crop the right way, you'll be missing out and 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 leave poor impression and potentially cost you new business.

Further Reading: