ACTORS! Let’s talk about saving some money and saving some time by printing our headshots at home. It is super easy to do and you definitely don’t have to be a tech genius or anything like that. AND it saves money – which I think most of us can get on board with. So let’s get right to it.
What do we need:
- A photo printer
- Photo paper
- Your headshot on your computer
That’s it! Let’s go through each item one by one and talk about the details of what we need specifically.
OK, Before you start thinking about buying a new printer, ask yourself this: Do I currently own a printer? If so, check and see if it can print photos! Many of you probably already have a photo printer and have never known it. If you bought your printer some time in the past 5 years, there’s a good chance it can print photos! We just never use that feature because we typically only print documents and all our photos are on Facebook and Instagram these days. So, CHECK.
If your current printer cannot print photos or you don’t have a printer, then you will have to look into buying one. But the good news is, you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on a good photo printer. The printer I have prints awesome quality headshots and it only cost about 60 bucks. It’s a Canon MG6320. This particular model is discontinued but you can definitely find something similar made by Canon or HP or EPSON or whatever for well under $100.
Here are a few photo printers you can get on Amazon for under $100:
The number one thing to remember when buying photo paper for headshots is that the size of the paper needs to be 8 x 10. That’s eight inches wide by ten inches tall. That is industry standard for headshots. It’s a different size than regular printer paper which is 8.5 x 11.
This is super important because you don’t want to be the actor who brings an 8.5 x 11 headshot to an audition and have it stick out like a sore thumb. So make sure to buy 8 x 10 photo paper.
As for the finish of the paper, you have the choice between a matte finish, semi gloss, and glossy. Matte paper will give the headshot a flatter look and glossy paper will give it a shinier look. This can really be your preference. I’ve never heard a casting director or an agent say that they strongly prefer one over the other. So, pick whichever one you like best.
I, personally, like to use matte paper because you can print on both sides of it (Most glossy photo papers only have one printable side). I like to print my headshot on one side and I flip it over and print my resume directly on the back. It saves the hassle of trimming and stapling/taping the resume to the back of the headshot. Plus, I think it looks more professional to have the resume printed directly on the back of the headshot.
Here are a few 8 x 10 photo paper options you can find on Amazon:
OK, now that we have a photo printer and photo paper, we are just about ready to print a headshot. But before we do, let’s make sure the image file on the computer has the proper dimensions. Remember when we said earlier that the photo paper needs to be 8 x 10? Well, the image on the computer needs to be the same aspect ratio or else we’ll be cutting off half our heads on the printed photo.
So, how do we check that? Well, one way to do it is to use a little bit of math and crop the photo based some calculations, but I’m sure most of you don’t want to relive algebra class. So I’m going to show you an easier way. A MUCH easier to crop your headshot image to exactly the right dimensions every time. It’s a website called Croppola.com.
Here’s how it works:
- Upload your the image you want to crop
- Select “Manual” mode
- Change the aspect ratio to “8 : 10”
- Resize the frame to your liking
- Download the cropped image
That’s it! The cropped image that you downloaded will be the one that you print.
TIME TO PRINT!
We are so close I can smell it. The last thing we need to do is to load the printer with the 8 x 10 photo paper. Now, depending on the printer, you may need to remove the regular printer paper first due to the size difference. Just remember to put it back afterwards.
And now we are finally ready to print the headshot! In the print dialog on the computer, select 8 x 10 as the paper size and matte/glossy photo paper as the paper type. Now click PRINT!
Annnnnd… you’re done!
I hope you found this tutorial helpful. If so, please share it with all of your acting friends! Until next time, break legs! And I hope to see you on set!