Headshots are used in a variety of ways to promote our composers’ works, ranging from posts on Instagram, to printed flyers or pamphlets, to large posters that make our convention booths pop. Many calls for scores or submissions ask for press quality headshots as well. With that in mind, high resolution images are key to good marketing and promotion, especially in this media-centric, digital age. In this post, we’d like to discuss some technical specs and best practices that we keep in mind when selecting and implementing press photos.
Headshots in Social Media
Technically speaking, there are some important standards to consider when preparing a headshot. As a general rule of thumb, image dimensions can very easily be decreased, but any time an image is enlarged beyond its original dimensions, pixels become visible and the image is not usable in a professional setting. Large, high-resolution images offer the most flexibility and for that reason, our production department prefers photos that are at least 8” x 10” at 300 dpi (2400 pixels x 3000 pixels). Photos at this resolution allow us to create crystal clear images for web and can also be resized effectively for most poster sizes. Any image that is smaller than that simply cannot be resized for use on a poster and will likely limit how large the photo can be on most print flyers.
350dpi – 500px x 334px
350dpi – 1500px x 1005px – (same image, enlarged)
Getting Files Ready
When editing, exporting, or sharing photos, it is very important to be aware of the dimensions and resolution of the image in question. Most photo editors make this information readily available, but in a pinch, image properties can be checked by right-clicking the image file on most computers. When saving or exporting images, it is best to go with the highest resolution possible for the intended application.
As for image file format, JPEG tends to be the most common, especially for use on the web, however lossless, or uncompressed, formats like TIF/PDF are preferable for print and archival purposes. If you are curious about the nitty-gritty details of image resolution, you can read more HERE. You can also learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of the most common image file formats HERE.
Headshots in Display Posters
Headshots in Press Releases
Making Them Available
On a daily basis, we receive requests for promotional material for our composers from many different sources. The key to responding quickly and keeping control of narrative is having up-to-date archives and easy to access assets.
Having photos, biographical information, testimonial quotes, and even multimedia in an easy to find place gives you control over what content is used to engage your audience by third parties. Without this, journalists, promotions professionals, and event organizers are forced to either ask you directly for content or dig through the internet, often opting not to use anything at all to avoid the risk of inaccuracy or permissions issues.
One of the best things you can do to control your public image is to display your highest resolution headshot(s) prominently and make it easily available to those who will make use of it. If you have a portfolio website, it is best to have a clear “Press” or “Press Kit” section devoted to this very purpose. From a Promotions point of view, this is a wonderful resource both for marketing professionals and for press organizations that have come to expect this kind of availability. Through the use of your composer pages on our website, we are able to point to a regularly updated source of information for each composer accessible from anywhere that has access to the internet.
Social Media is another web based source offering you direct control of your narrative. If you maintain any professional accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or others, be sure to update your bio and photos regularly and post as actively as you are comfortable. As social media marketing continues to grow and develop, more and more companies are using these tools to engage their audiences. Press companies and event organizers are likely to tag artists in posts about related upcoming performances. We do our best to tag our composers in relevant posts on our channels to expand both your audience and ours.
It is also a good idea to keep a digital press kit handy on your personal computer. Like the web based solution mentioned above, this should include your most up-to-date bio, headshot(s), reviews, and any other media that you feel could be of use promotionally. Saved in a “zipped” folder on your computer, this file should be easily shareable via email, DropBox, Google Drive, or by whatever means you prefer to share digital files. Should a request come in, you’ll be ready to send it along in seconds. When high resolution photos are requested of us, it is easy for us to grab them from our archive and send them along with other promotional materials that we have created.
As always, we welcome your submissions, updates, and questions. Anytime that your bio or headshot changes, let us know. We’ll be happy to update our archive and website and can always talk to you more about promotional ideas and projects!
Headshots in Email Newsletters