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ERAS Photo Requirements in 2023

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by Yousmle Staff in Plan

The Electronic Residency Application Service or ERAS will help you deliver an application for your medical residency. One thing you’ll need for your ERAS application is a suitable photo. Your photo is critical to your application, as an ERAS photo is often the first thing people will see when looking at your application. Possibly, your ERAS photo could even appear throughout promotional materials like a program webpage!

With all these points in mind, you’ll need to look at the ERAS photo requirements for your application. These points are vital for helping you ensure your photo works well while showing your commitment to being professional in your work.

Dimensions–2.5 x 3.5 Inches

First, your ERAS photo dimensions will be 2.5 by 3.5 inches. This format creates a rectangular look where the photo is taller than it is wide. This size should be good enough for a traditional headshot. Since the headshot is typically a small portion of the entire application, the small size will be suitable.

File Size–100 KB

Your ERAS picture file should be small enough to load onto an email. Heavily compressed file formats are fine if the file is less than 100 KB in size.

Resolution–150 dpi

The next ERAS photo requirement entails the resolution. The resolution should be 150 dots per inch, which is enough to allow your face to be visible while not adding too much to the file size. Your picture should have enough detail so that people can see you well.

Facial Position

Your facial position must be in the center to where the face appears in the middle. The viewer will look in the center of the photo first to see your face, so ensure you have a positive look with a well-aligned image.


Your ERAS headshot should include a suitable frame where the head and shoulders are visible from the front. Your shoulders should be noticeable, although you don’t have to get them in the image so long as your face remains in the center. A suitable frame will help accompany your face well.


Your ERAS photo must be in color. While there are no rules for your ERAS background, it’s best to keep a white or light-colored background for your photo. The lighter color helps you stand out from the scene, plus there won’t be many distracting things in the way of your shot.

The backdrop should also be solid with no patterns, as any unusual designs can make it difficult to clearly see your face. Keep everything in an indoor setting where you can adjust the light, which can help make you look more visible. You can always retouch the photo later if you notice any lighting problems.

What About Wardrobe For ERAS Headshots?

While there are no official guidelines for what you should wear on your ERA application photo, you should still have a professional-looking outfit ready. Men and women should wear a dark-colored suit jacket that can mix well with the light-colored background. Grey or navy are suitable colors in most cases. Women can also wear something brown or dark red.

Don’t wear a white coat, as it is inappropriate for a light background.

Keep your neck and shoulders covered well for your photo, and don’t wear anything low-cut, as it will make you look less professional.

Facial Expression

Show your best smile when getting your ERAS headshot ready. A good smile will help your face stand out from the ERAS photo background, plus it shows how positive you are. Residency program operators will like applicants that show confidence and comfort in what they do.

What About Other Items?

There are a few other unofficial ERAS headshot requirements you can use when getting a photo ready:

  1. Don’t wear glasses in your photo unless you always wear glasses. You don’t have to wear glasses in your image if you only use them in certain situations.
  2. Keep any jewelry you wear minimal and simple. Small earrings are fine for women to wear, for example. Anything too gaudy or otherwise distracting might be a problem.
  3. A man should always wear a tie for his photo. The tie should be dark and solid, although a simple pattern may work if it isn’t too flashy or distracting.
  4. Your hair should look natural and well-kept. Avoid using artificial coloring or any unusual styles for your hair. Men should keep their hair straight, while women can keep their hair either to the side or back. Make sure your hair isn’t overly lengthy either, especially since longer hair might not be suitable for some medical work environments.

You may be able to get your photo retouched if you see any issues with your work. Proper retouching can make parts of your face more noticeable, or it might correct some lighting issues. But whatever the case, make sure what you wear is suitable and adds a nice look to your style. It won’t be easy to adjust your photo if you aren’t wearing the right things.

Why Is It So Important To Get Your ERAS Photo Right?

The reasons why you need to follow the proper ERAS picture requirements are plentiful:

Some people might not evaluate your submission if your headshot isn’t appropriate.

Your ERAS headshot is the first thing anyone will notice when reviewing your submission. The reviewer will want to ensure you’re professional and that you’re following the rules for a quality submission. A review can make a quick judgment and determine that you’re serious about your application if you have a quality photo.

One way reviewers can narrow down the glut of submissions they get is by discarding the applications where the headshots don’t look professional. Making sure you have a quality headshot ready will be essential for helping you succeed.

You can show people that you’re confident in your work.

A good ERAS photo smile can show that you’re ready to take on whatever challenges come your way. The best possible photo will illustrate how you feel and can show your strong interest in entering a residency.

Your attention to detail will be more noticeable in your photo.

Applicants who follow all the ERAS photo guidelines will show that they’re capable of managing all the important details they need to follow. Following all the rules for your ERAS photo will help show you understand how to follow the rules and manage them well.


Following the right ERAS photo tips will be essential to your success in entering a residency program. Your ERAS photo will be the first thing many people see when reviewing your application, so having a great photo on hand can be a good start. You’ll show your confidence and attention to detail with your photo. More importantly, an application reviewer won’t be likely to pass on your application if you have a quality photo.

Make sure to look around for ERAS photo examples you can use as guidelines for getting your photo ready. Don’t forget also to retouch your photo when necessary.

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Want FREE Cardiology Flashcards?

Cardiology is key for impressive USMLE scores. Master cardiology from a Harvard-trained anesthesiologist who scored USMLE 270 with these 130+ high-yield flash cards. You’ll be begging for cardio questions - even if vitals make you queasy.