ERAS Headshots Requirements for Medical Students

3 Minutes Read

As a medical student, one of the most important steps in your journey towards residency is the ERAS application process. ERAS, or the Electronic Residency Application Service, requires you to submit a number of documents and materials, including your CV, personal statement, and headshot. In this article, we’ll focus specifically on ERAS headshots, outlining what they are, what requirements are necessary, and some tips and guidelines for how to create the perfect shot.

What are ERAS Headshots?

An ERAS headshot is a professional photograph of yourself that is used for your residency application. The photo should be recent, high quality, and show your face clearly. ERAS headshots are typically taken in a studio or by a professional photographer. They are used by residency programs to help identify and remember applicants throughout the selection process.

Here are some examples of good ERAS headshots:

  • A head and shoulder shot
  • Plain white or off-white background
  • Well-lit and in focus
  • Professional attire
  • Confident smile

Requirements for ERAS Headshots

The ERAS headshot requirements are quite specific, and it is important to make sure you meet them to ensure that your application is not rejected. The requirements include:

  • The photo must be at least 2x2 inches and no larger than 2.5x3 inches and have a resolution of at least 150 dpi
  • The photo must be a color, passport-style photo.
  • The photo must be taken within the past six months.
  • The photo must be a head and shoulder shot.
  • The photo must be taken against a plain white or off-white background.
  • The photo must be in JPEG format.

What to Wear for ERAS Headshots

When selecting an outfit for your ERAS headshot, it’s important to keep in mind that this is a professional photo that will be seen by residency programs. You should dress in professional attire that is appropriate for the medical field. This could include a suit or dress shirt and pants. Avoid wearing clothing with distracting patterns or colors, and make sure that your outfit is clean and pressed.


  • White or light blue shirt
  • Semi spread or spread collar (no cutaways or button downs)
  • Solid block tie (blue with subtle pattern – avoid elaborate knots, a half windsor is fine)
  • Navy or charcoal suit
It’s bland but professional. Just make sure you get a shirt with an appropriate neck size.


Let the collar shape be dictated by your face. Maybe consider shaving if you’re gunning for an old-school surgery residency (they can be funny about that).


  • White or light blue shirt
  • Navy or charcoal suit
  • Hair down
  • Limited jewelry

The business casual of clinical rotations is probably too informal for a photo of this nature. And definitely avoid anything potentially revealing or low-cut. That could make the wrong impression!

Tips and Guidelines for ERAS Headshots

Here are a few tips and guidelines to keep in mind when preparing for your ERAS headshot:

  1. Schedule your photoshoot well in advance to ensure that you have enough time to get your photo taken and edited.
  2. Choose a professional photographer who has experience taking headshots for medical professionals.
  3. Consider your facial expressions and body language. You want to appear confident and approachable.
  4. Take the time to prepare for the photoshoot. Get a good night’s sleep, eat a healthy meal, and practice good hygiene.
  5. Bring several outfit options to the photoshoot so that you can choose the best one.

How Much Do Medical Residency Headshots Cost?

Pricing for ERAS headshots can vary depending on several factors such as location, photographer's experience, and the number of photos you need. On average, the cost can range anywhere from $100 to $500. While it may seem like a lot, keep in mind that a professional headshot is an investment in your future career as a medical professional. 

It's important to choose a photographer who has experience taking headshots for ERAS applications to ensure that you meet all the specific requirements and guidelines. You don't want to risk having your application rejected due to a poor-quality photo. 

In the end, the cost of a professional headshot is worth it to present yourself in the best possible light and make a great first impression on potential residency programs.

In conclusion, your ERAS headshot is an essential part of your residency application. Make sure you meet the specific requirements and guidelines, wear professional attire, and choose a plain white or off-white background. Find a professional photographer, follow our tips and guidelines, and submit your best photo to make a great first impression. Good luck!

Igor Lit