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Resizing Headshots, Photos, Comp Cards, and Other Pics


To make it easy for casting directors, producers, directors and agents to be able to quickly view your headshots, photos, comp cards, and other pix, it's important that you find a good ratio between size and quality before uploading your photos to your BackStage.com Multimedia Resume and other websites (and before emailing your photos to casting directors).

A number of free and convenient options are available for resizing and web-optimizing photos. The following article provides links to some of the most popular programs, along with step-by-step directions and screenshots that will help you resize and upload your photos within minutes while still preserving the quality of your images.

Before trying to resize your photos, choose a photo-editing program:

Irfanviewlogobykater_li_oben You're computer might already have photo-editing software that you can use. If not, then we recommend downloading and installing the great free IrfanView photo-editor program available at IrfanView.com.

Or you could try Google's excellent and free Picasa photo-editing software, a wide variety of other photo editors available from sites like Download.com, or pro software like Photoshop.

You can even use free websites like the streamlined ShrinkPictures.com and the very cool Picnik.com to edit and resize your photos without having to download any software at all.

Every photo-editing program works a little bit differently, but the basic steps are usually pretty similiar. So in the step-by-step instructions below, we'll use IrfanView as our example while we walk you through the photo-resizing process.


1) Choose an image from your computer and open it up within your photo-editing program.


2) Look at your photo at the 100% zoom level. You might find that it looks much bigger than you expected, or maybe not. Either way, choose your photo editor's option to resize or resample your photo.  Inside of the IrfanView program, after opening up your photo file, choose the “Image” option on the toolbar - located right next to the "Edit" option - and then choose the “Resize/Resample” (Ctrl-R) option.



3) On the Image Resize/Resample screen, choose the "Best Fit to Desktop" option. This will give you the best result, in terms of making your photo nicely sized and easy to look at without the viewer having to zoom in and out. 

(Or, if you’re not happy with the “Best Fit to Desktop” option, try clicking the "Half" button to cut your photo's size in half, or try some of the other resizing options available on this screen.)


4) On this same Resize/Resample screen, you can also set the photo-file's "DPI." We recommend trying a DPI setting of 150.

(For photos intended for website and email use, it’s usually best to use a DPI setting between 72-300. On the one hand, 300 is usually the highest quality needed for online photos, but can make the file-size a bit big; while on the other hand, a DPI setting of 72 will cut down on your file's size but it's probably the lowest you want to go while still retaining quality. A DPI of 150 is a nice middleground that should give you a manageable file-size and a crisp image.)

5) Now click the "OK" button and you'll see how your resized/resampled photo looks. It should be a good fit on your desktop without any zooming being needed.


6) Next, it's time to save your updated photo. You don't want to erase the original version of your photo, though, so use the program's "Save As" option to save the resized/resampled version of your photo with a new file name.



7) You don't need to worry too much about the various settings available on the "Save As" screen, since the default settings are usually good. However, you'll want to make sure that you use a JPG image-quality setting between 90-100 (to cut down on your file-size a little bit without sacrificing any noticable photo-quality, we recommend that you set the "Save quality" to 98).


8) Finally, make sure you save your file a JPG image with a file-extension of .jpg. And give the file a good web-safe name! Avoid the use of spaces or special characters when naming files for online use. Just use letters, numbers, dashes, and underscores ( _ ). Now click the Save button. And you're done!


Although it might seem complicated at first, once you get used to this process you'll be able to resize dozens of photos within minutes. And photo-editing programs like IrfanView offer a lot of other options that you might be interested in as well -- such as image cropping, red-eye reduction, color-enhancing, etc.


  • A photo that fills up almost your entire monitor when zoomed to 100% (full size) will usually be well under 250kb in size if it's been correctly optimized/resampled/resized. Currently BackStage.com's Multimedia Resumes will not accept photo files that are over 250kb.
  • For your records and later editing and printing use, it's recommended that you keep a copy of your original files -- the original large-file-size versions of your photos -- on your personal computer for later use. However, you'll want to use the resized/resampled versions of your photos when emailing people and uploading your pics to websites.
  • If you continue to experience problems resizing your headshots, you can email your BackStage.com username and photos to CastingHelp@backstage.com.  We’ll be happy to help you out, although it might take us a few days before we can get around to resizing your photos for you.


--Luke Crowe, National Casting Editor, Back Stage

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patrick  mcgraw

Finding the best photo editing software is crucially important, as much as capturing the photos. In deciding the best-fit, you will have to take into consideration several factors like the ease and convenience of downloading, the features offered by the software, necessity of training, and the price.

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