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How to print a headshot yourself for free

If you need a headshot for an audition today, you can create a printed headshot from your photographer's digital image. Best of all, it is possible to do it yourself with free software in an hour for under $10.00!

As with most things in life, however, the job will be easier and the results better if you have the right tools and some knowledge. If you prefer to have a pro do this for you, we can format your existing image at a reasonable rate; you can then skip to step 5. However if your budget is constrained, you can produce a quality headshot using free software if you follow these directions. Technical instructions in gray for those with professional software and more design skills will follow simplified instructions.

1. Format the Headshot
Open your layout program. If you don't have Adobe Indesign, you can use open source office software. Download and install the software. Create a new word document and change the page layout to 8 inches by 10 inches.

Set the color profile to Adobe RGB since any good lab should be able to handle a gamut wider than sRGB. Hopefully the color profile of your original image file is correct.

2. Place the Image
Insert a picture (your headshot) and then adjust the margins so that the headshot is centered. Adjust the bottom margin to make room for your name.

For a professional headshot, in Indesign, drag lines to use as guides and create equal borders at the top and sides and a slightly larger border at the bottom. 5/8 inch at the top and sides and 3/4 inch at the bottom looks nice. Next, specify a black hairline stroke (I use .05 pt.) around the image.

3. Add your Name
Use a simple, legible font and type your name below the image. Use the spacebar to align the text with the right border of the image. Double check that your name is spelled correctly. Depending on the font, use a font size between 20 and 30 points.

I place the top of the name one pica (1/6th of an inch) below the image. I like the simple look of a free font called Blue Highway, regular, at 28 pt. with no tracking. Right justify the text precisely below the right border of the image.

4. Export the document to .jpg
Since most one hour photos will be able to print a jpeg, export the file as a jpeg image at 300 dpi. Save this to your computer, a USB flash drive or other digital media.

5. Print the File Locally
Depending on the quality of your local drugstore print kiosk or one hour photo lab, you should be able to produce a pretty high quality headshot within an hour . These photographic prints will be of much better quality than a color photocopy from a printing center.

You can also print on a high quality inkjet or photo printer. The best models are capable of producing prints of a quality comparable to most photo labs. Avoid cheap desktop printers since the local photo lab will beat them. For the best color quality use a photo lab that caters to professionals. However, these labs usually don't make cheap 8x10's in minutes. My pro lab produces excellent color prints but requires two working days turnaround time.

6. You're done!
Congratulations, you produced a decent headshot for very little money. If you need reproductions in quantity, you are better off using a high quality printing press. But if you just need one in a hurry, this is the way to go. Follow these links if you still need to take the headshot photo or if you want us to format and print the headshot.




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