Medical Headshots Los Angeles



Medical Headshots (ERAS, VSAS, etc.) are to the medical industry what audition headshots are to the talent industry. They’re used in various application processes, including residency, fellowship, and med school.

Medical headshots reveal, among other things, the level of preparation and seriousness of the applicant. Those who take the exercise lightly, be it by dressing casually or not using the right facial expressions, are immediately noticeable.

3 Things Medical Headshots Must Have

Recognizable Facial Expressions

The human mind forms a first impression within the first tenth of a second. Medical headshots of applicants that exude intelligence and confidence are more likely to be selected for the simple reason that most programs want applicants that seem assured of their skills and competence. But a third expression, approachability, is just as crucial as the first two.

While a confident expression does make a memorable first impression, the interviewers ultimately want someone that seems friendly and easy to work with. Medical headshots must contain these three expressions.

Professional Lighting and Backdrop

You are more likely to be called to an interview if your medical headshot has both the right lighting and backdrop. Even if the quality is basic, submitting professional portraits tell the interviewer one thing: that the applicant cares enough to invest in professional photography services. A headshot with professional lighting and backdrop, therefore, plays in your favor, and can dramatically increase the chances of landing an interview.

One thing to note about the backdrop is that white and light gray backdrops get picked more often because they stand out more. You want your medical headshot to translate into an attention-grabbing thumbnail—statistically, these are more likely to get clicked on.  At Zen Studios we will make sure you are prepared for all phases for your medical headshot photo-shoot session.

Correct Specifications and Format

For a headshot to be eligible, it must conform to ERAS specifications. The required format is 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches and a resolution of 150 dpi. A higher resolution may seem better, but there is a maximum file size limit, so every headshot must be smaller than 100 KB in size. Most of these specifications are there to prevent issues during upload; headshots that don’t adhere to them may be immediately rejected.

How to Make Your Medical/ERAS Headshots Stand Out

Remember, your headshot is not the only one under review. Thousands of medical headshots pass through the hands of interviewers, and thousands more are plastered onto faculty boards and residency webpages. How do you make yours stand out from the others?

Step 1: Hire a Professional Headshot Photographer

You may have a friend with a nice camera and decent photography skills that will agree to take your medical headshots in exchange for a favor or a small gesture of appreciation. However, there is a difference in expertise and experience between a person who owns a camera for general photography and a professional headshot photographer.

Investing in a good headshot photographer is investing in your future career. Your medical headshots will be used on websites, badges, hospital faculty boards, and application forms for the entirety of your medical career, so why not spend a little money to get the best possible outcome?


Step 2: Mind the Setting

Good lighting and backdrop are vital to making your headshots more professional looking. We consider a light gray or white background—they tend to get picked more often—At Zen Studios LA we are experts in choosing the best backdrop that will complement your wardrobe and make you stand out.


Step 3: Dress for the Part

According to research, some outfits are more likely to get your headshots selected, while others can ruin your chances of getting that interview.

Studies show that some items of clothing are associated with positive application outcomes.

For men, a suit jacket is necessary, but a tie isn’t.

For women, wearing their hair down and dressing in a conservative top

(one that’s not low-cut and not see-through)

seemed to bear positive outcomes most of the time.

Things that didn’t seem to make a difference were jewelry for women, and specific facial hair grooming styles for men.

However, the study indicates that headshots,

where the applicants wore glasses, had a better shot at success.

Glasses made the candidates seem more intelligent, diligent, and successful.

The key takeaway from the research is:

Dress formally as if you were attending the interview, because it is an interview of sorts

Women candidates should avoid clothing that exposes cleavage—the key is to appear professional and disciplined

Glasses do increase your chances of landing the interview or residency but don’t wear glasses if you don’t have vision problems

Letting your hair down (women) may slightly increase the appeal of your headshots,

but there is scope to question this requirement seeing as it originated from an outdated 1982 study. 

Facial hair and jewelry are non-consequential but don’t draw attention to them

Also, strong as the urge might be, do not wear a white coat.

There’s an air of arrogance that’s associated with such headshots, and the goal is to look humble yet confident.

The same applies to your graduation gown and any outfits that are too dressy.

Calling attention away from your face is generally not a good idea when taking medical headshots.


Step 4: Look Approachable

It doesn’t hurt your chances if you look like a human being in your headshots. Don’t be compelled to act too serious or focused. Sure, you want to express confidence, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of something that’s arguably more important to the interviewers: your smile.

Smile away in your headshots. Look friendly and approachable. Everyone wants to be around someone that seems easy-going and easy to talk to—interviewers are no different. Remember, this is not a passport photo, and neither is it a mug shot, so smile in a warm, friendly manner.

Step 5: Put Your Headshots through Post-Processing

It is imperative that the headshot you submit for your Medical Residency Application is fully retouched. 

Even the tiniest, seemingly inconsequential fixes such as 

smoothing out your complexion or digitally whitening your teeth can go a long way.


At Zen Studios LA,

We make sure that your retouched headshot is a true representation of who you are.  

In addition to capturing your genuine smile, your fully retouched headshot will include

cleaning up skin blemishes, flyaway hairs, dark circles under the eyes, color correction

and in some cases glare from glasses.


Blue – Hair Flyaways

Yellow – Skin

Red – Glasses Glare

Green – Wrinkles

Purple – Shoulder Crease

After working with hundreds of people on medical residency headshots we learned:

Most professionals don’t know how to pose or are shy in front of the camera. Don’t worry.

We will guide you throughout the shoot to make sure we capture the best representation of you.

We guarantee you will love your Professional headshot!

Medical Residency HeadshotGreat Value

$ 225

Studio Session
  • Bring a Colleague +150
  • Best Value!
  • Residency application formatted
  • LinkedIn 1×1 High Res formatted
  • Women-Makeup-Add $140
  • Men-Grooming-Add $125
  •  Book Now


Medical Residency Headshot Package 

Before the Session:

Wardrobe Consultation

We match the best backdrop to make you stand out

In studio shoot with the best professional lighting equipment 

After the session: 

High-Resolution gallery via Shoot Proof (15 to 30 pictures approx.)

1 Retouched photo with following formats: 

Residency application 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches 150dpi

LinkedIn 1×1 aspect ratio and High Resolution

Web ready format for any social media / website use

Same day delivery of online Gallery




We Limit to 4 people Max in the studio (Including photographer)

Surfaces in the studio are disinfected daily and between clients – Hand sanitizer will be provided when entering the studio – Masks must be worn until you are inside the studio – Mask will be worn by photographer at all times


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