Medical Residency / Fellowship Headshots

ERAS/VSAS headshots show your determination & enthusiasm in specialty-appropriate style to the selection committees of the top programs.

Headshots are used in medical residency, fellowship, or med school application processes as a post-interview memory aid, although the actual use varies among programs (AAMC 2019). That function is precisely what talent industry calls “audition headshot;” it is an opportunity to replay your strengths to the selection committee at the time of making decisions.

A recent study by Maxfield et al. (2019) indicated that attractiveness rating of each applicant’s photograph had 0.30 regression coefficient with the overall rating, only a tiny bit under the Step 1 exam score of 0.35. The photograph was found to have more weight in the overall rating than med school class rank or clinical clerkship grades. The data points in their scatter plot is dense near the cutoff threshold; the impact of any improvement in the photo is most significant for the ambitious applicants.

Maxfield et al. (2019) advocated invoking strategies to manage appearance bias. While we applaud their effort, your practical option is to strategize how best to create a portrait of the most desirable applicant out of yourself. The reality is that people think they can tell a whole lot about you by looking at your picture. My business exists because I take that judgmental nature of the human mind, turn the game around, and engineer an image of a person who’s most likely to get selected.

My previous clients generally matched with very competitive or the top programs in their fields. As you see in the sample images (which were not cherry-picked), people I photographed varied in attractiveness, but that was never our target variable. Instead, we focused on creating images of a confident, reliable, determined, likable, and energetic professional. I believe these qualities resonate positively with the medical community.

I would like to caution that there is no magic; the outcome of my service is a best-effort basis. Also, there probably is a self-selection bias for people who did the cost-benefit analysis, research on headshot photographers and chose my service. One thing for sure is that those who take things lightly will reveal that tendency in their pictures. Your preparation effort will easily show in your photograph, and my service is designed to guide you to do just that.

1. 2020 MyERAS Residency User Guide, AAMC, p. 33.
2. Maxfield CM, Thorpe MP, Desser TS, Heitkamp DE, Hull NC, Johnson KS, Koontz NA, Mlady GW, Welch TJ, Grimm LJ. 2019. Bias in Radiology Resident Selection: Do We Discriminate Against the Obese and Unattractive? Acad Med. May 28.

Image format and backdrop

AAMC issued headshot specification for ERAS and VSAS. Some medical schools (such as BU and USC) seem to have a local guideline that specifies “light-colored” backdrop, but others do not. Generally, we recommend a neutral backdrop like light gray, medium gray, or metallic, for residency match photo. In many years of doing ERAS photo, I never heard of any problem related to the backdrop as long as they are neutral and nondistracting.

Medical school applicants

Medical school applicants are increasingly required to submit their headshots. The specification varies from school to school, unlike the residency match process. Gather those requirements and forward them to the photographer in advance of your session to make sure you can use the picture for all the medical schools that you apply.


Regardless of which studio you decide to go, I recommend taking your residency match photo early in the year, from January to April, when you have a break between rotations. This improves the results, because 1. you are less busy, with manageable schedule, lower stress level and more sleep hours than the summer, 2. you have the time to prepare well for the photo (arrange your outfits, hair cut, etc.), and 3. you can use the picture for your away rotation. If you are sleep-deprived or under stress, your photograph will look less attractive. (And it is not photoshoppable.) Many exhausted residency applicants book their sessions and come in and out from August to the last minutes of September 15th, and many regretted not shooting a few months earlier.

Some of the last-minute clients changed their mind last-minute. They were initially planning to use a cell phone photo or inexpensive service from their school/hospital photographers but later doubted that decision. Out of many things you submit, your headshot is one element that you can make a significant improvement in a relatively short period of time and at a small fraction of applications fees and travel expenses.

Doing all these might be a momentary nuisance, but your picture will stay for some time.

Studio in Boston, MA

Many past clients have mentioned this service in nation-wide medical discussion forums, and we are receiving inquiries from distant cities. Unfortunately, at this point, we have a studio in Boston, MA only, and it is impractical to service elsewhere.

Talk to the photographer and book your session now.

Service & Pricing

For people who need one picture for residency match, fellowship, medical school application, Doximity, or LinkedIn, the most basic level of service is to photograph one outfit look with gray or white background in the studio. We’ll take a couple of dozen shots, with a quick image review to give you visual feedback and make sure we are on the right track. We’ll choose the best image from the session, and enhance it with color correction, exposure/contrast adjustments. You’ll get the selected image in the exact format ERAS requests, with extra copies of high and low-resolution JPEG files for other uses. This session usually takes about one hour. The session fee is $400 (including the image without a watermark). One-half of the fee ($200) is required to make an appointment.

RETOUCHING is strictly optional and nonessential for most residency applicants. For all headshot packages, natural look retouching starts at $200 per image depending on the work required. You can decide on the retouching option after reviewing the pictures. You will be watching the retouching process in the studio, and you will have the opportunity to discuss which elements to lighten, erase, or leave as-is.

Talk to the photographer and book your session now.

Testimonials by Residency/Fellowship Clients

I am a postdoctoral research fellow, and I went to Ryuji to get a professional headshot for my ERAS application. I called him the night before; he responded immediately and was very understanding of my schedule. He fit me in the next day. During the shoot, it was so fun and smooth working with him that I didn’t realize one hour had passed by. He made sure my photo had matched my expectations. I would recommend Ryuji to anyone seeking a professional headshot. Both my husband and I have worked with him, and we both loved the experience! – Sarah Abou Alaiwi 11 Apr 2019

Ryuji is an amazing photographer and I absolutely recommend his services! I heard about him from a friend of mine who had recently booked his services. I checked out his website and was surprised by the quality of the photos. I decided to book him myself after reading his reviews and speaking to him over the phone. Overall, Ryuji was extremely professional from start to finish. His website was very informative and his subsequent emails contained all the relevant details for a smooth and successful shoot. He was punctual and made sure to contact me at prearranged times (very important for a busy schedule). His studio is in a nice, secure building in an easy-to-get-to location. On arriving, he met me in the lobby and we walked up to the studio together. We quickly discussed which outfit I would wear, then decided on the appropriate background by reviewing other photos. I positioned myself on the designated mark, but almost hadn’t realized he had started shooting because we were having a conversation the entire time. Ryuji has a PhD in neuroscience and completed Harvard’s HST program, so we had a lot to talk about and he was very sympathetic to the process of applying to residency. At one point, he suggested we take a look at what he had shot so far and I was blown away! Despite talking and moving the entire time, he managed to take dozens of photos that could have easily been used for this application. Nonetheless, he sat with me and looked through every photo, slowing narrowing the choices until we found the perfect one. Having my photo taken makes me very uncomfortable, but you would never know that based on the results. He sent me the finished product that night in the appropriate size/resolution for my application. Payment was all through Venmo, which was super convenient and for which he provides a receipt via email. I cannot recommend his services enough. Despite my initial hesitation about the price ($200 for the session + 1 photo), it was absolutely worth it and I would do it all over again. This is a photo that I can use for professional purposes for years to come. – Laura B. Boston, MA on 9/18/2018

I was very impressed by Ryuji’s willingness and patience to take plenty of shots and really critically consider the different options to ensure that I would be able to provide residency committees with the ideal headshot to embody my candidacy. I was nervous given that I had taken a red eye flight leading up to the shoot and am in general not a fan of having my picture taken, but I could not be more pleased with the final product and am confident in its ability to serve as the first impression of my residency application. – Ryan Bartholomew Sep 14, 2018

I took pictures for my Eras application, working with Ryuji was a pleasure. He spent some time to know me, started an interesting conversation and took several pictures. I enjoyed the whole process and like my pictures a lot. I definitely recommend Ryuji to my friends. – Amin Mohamadi 15 Oct 2018

I had a great experience with Ryuji when getting my professional photo for my ERAS residency application! He is an amazing photographer! Very talented and professional. I love the way everything is organized. You first talk over the phone about what you want and what to expect from the photoshoot. During the session, Ryuji devotes all his time to you and gives you all the time you need to be well prepared and take the best shots you can get. He is very conspicuous and detail-oriented and does all he can to bring you the best version of you in a photo. I am really glad I got the chance to work with him, and if I ever need another professional headshot, I would definitely go back to him! I highly recommend him! – Tarek Mouhieddine Boston, MA on 9/2/2018

Had a great experience here getting a headshot taken for medical residency interviews! Ryuji made me feel totally comfortable and helped me get the best picture possible. I really appreciated that he sent me the format for ERAS, linkedin, and a high res version. – Laura N. Boston, MA on 9/1/2018

I’m in medical school, and I worked with Ryuji to take a professional headshot for residency applications. I appreciated how experienced he was with taking headshots for many different kinds of professionals. In particular, as a neuroscience PhD, he is very familiar with the specifics of medical training and was able to help me think about how best to present myself. I definitely recommend BEAUPIX! – Siva Sundaram July 16, 2018

Of all photographers I’ve worked with for professional portraits, my experience with Ryuji at Beaupix Studio was exemplary and most comfortable. Ryuji showed me into his loft sized workspace with delightful conversation and Chinese herbal tea to relax my mind and body. Early into the shooting, he made me aware of any sub-optimal posturing and facial expressions. However, it was through casual conversation and comical banter that he was able to take opportunistic shots of my natural smiles. This resulted in a better selection of photos for post editing, and is worth mentioning in review.

Ryuji is experienced in all forms of photo styles and purposes. As an applicant for medical residency, he understood the process and format that the pictures required for ERAS, LinkedIn, etc. From his constant feedback on pros and cons of each picture, I was unaware that choosing the perfect picture would be so effortless when properly informed how each picture speaks to him, given the countless exposure to portraits in his field. In addition, Ryuji made fine touches through photoshop editing with expertise using a Wacom Intuos, a device designed for enabling digital artists. The end result was a picture of me in a light that I have never seen myself in: warm, inviting, professional, and sincere.

If you are looking for the best service in Boston and willing to spend the time and cost for the best representation of yourself for one of the most important events in your life, I highly recommend contacting Ryuji for his technical awareness, artistic vision, and interpersonal skills. – Yitao Liu 9/26/2017

Amazing experience. Really professional photographs, and very pleasant experience. Ryuji knew exactly how to format the photographs for medical school ERAS applications, and overall it was a tremendously positive experience. Would recommend 100%. – Prashant R. Brookline, MA on 2/7/2017

A superbly professional, fantastic and efficient experience with excellent quality photographs. Needed to obtain professional portraits for fellowship applications as well as personal use, was able to very easily get in contact with Ryuji with expedient response, followed by a scheduled phone call to discuss the details of the shoot. He was very accommodating to a very tight schedule. With regards to his work he is very detailed yet swift, and definitely finds the missing piece of a photo with sophisticated ease. Excellent experience and would most certainly return for any additional photos ever needed in the future. Highly recommend. – Youssra M. (Boston, MA, 11/9/2014)

I never write these types of reviews even when I’ve had an awesome experience because I am a third year medical student and never have the actual time to do so. But I am so grateful and impressed with Ryuji that I had to take the time. If you are a professional looking for corporate appropriate images for interviews or websites he is the guy. Like I said I’m a third-year med student in the Boston area applying for residency and if you know what I’m talking about you understand how high stakes this is. He took the time to understand what I needed but he also gave me his professional expert opinion. He’s done residency headshots before so he was able to bring actual experience above photography experience. He spent additional time with me and was so gracious the entire time. He had amazing tricks up his sleeve to calm me down and help me to relax so he could get the best shot!! I am so happy I found Ryuji and if I ever need a photographer again for professional or other reasons he is the guy. I will travel to Boston for his services. He is definitely worth the effort!!! – JACQUELINE PIRES (Google, 19 Mar 2016)

When I applied to medical residency programs, I knew I needed a professional headshot but had never had one done before. I chose Beaupix because it seemed like Ryuji had a lot of experience working with a variety of clients including newcomers like myself. I’m very impressed by the level of service I got from Ryuji. I had a lot of questions for him and he was extremely helpful in answering all of them. He spent over an hour with me from start to finish and wanted to be sure that I was happy with the final result, which I was. He’s a very personable guy and makes every effort to make sure you are as comfortable as possible through the entire process. If I ever need another professional headshot done in the future I would 100% return to Beaupix. – Erin F. (Boston, MA on 9/27/2015)

It was a pleasure working with Ryuji, especially after knowing that we have similar backgrounds in science. I admired his passion and commitment for the job he is doing. He is also very flexible with time. I e-mailed him last minute on a Sunday afternoon to arrange an urgent headshot that I need for my residency applications. He called me back the same day to schedule a time and the next day we were done with everything. Even though I was late for the appointment I stayed there around 1.5 hours, 30 minutes more than the allotted time, without feeling any pressure.

We did two sets of shooting. After the first one we went through the pictures to see what we can improve, what I liked or did not like. The second set came out perfect. Like many, it was very difficult for me to relax and be natural, but Ryuji made the shooting part of a conversation I (I was talking while he is shooting actively) rather than only giving instructions and expecting you not to move.The most helpful part was after the shooting while we were trying to choose the ‘best’ picture together, With every picture he explained why he thinks it would be good or not so good depending on the purpose of the picture. For example there were several pictures he thought that would be good for an audition but not for an application. At the end, I believe we chose the right pose for an “application” even though there were many others that looked good.

Overall, I definitely recommend Ryuji for a professional headshot. – Deniz D. (Boston, MA on 8/25/2015)

I needed a headshot for [medical] residency application and found Ryuji nearby. He has a lot of experience with exactly what I needed, and the photoshoot went effortlessly with great results. He was very friendly, and makes you feel at ease to get those natural looking shots. It was great to have his insight and input as someone who looks at these all day, and was able to offer great suggestions both during the shoot and afterwards while choosing the picture. – Jj L. (Boston, MA on 8/6/2015)

Ryuji was awesome! Because his residency application was coming up, my fiance tasked me with this very important task of booking a headshot session. I did extensive research, reviewed almost the portfolio of every photographer in Boston before reaching out to Ryuji. I appreciated the detail, the lighting, and the life that comes so naturally out of his photos. What really encouraged me to pick up the phone to call him was that a fellow Yelper mentioned that while he/she is not one who acts naturally in front of the camera, Ryuji talked to him/her during the session to help him/her relax while staying engaged and focused on his/her needs. This is exactly what my fiance needs, as he is not one to smile naturally in front of the camera. Because I called on a Saturday, I did not really expect him to call me back until Monday, but Ryuji called me back the next day and we were able to ask him some questions about the session, what to bring, what we should prepare, etc. He answered our questions with patience and professionalism, and he was super accommodating with the time frame that we had asked for. We immediately felt that we had made the right decision to go to him and that it was going to be a great session.

On the day of the shoot, we were 10 mins late because of traffic. Ryuji did not act impatient or annoyed, and greeted us with a big smile. Lacking experience, we were not sure which tie to pick so we brought like 8. Ryuji listened carefully to our selections. He helped us pick one and explained that it matched the suit and had just enough interesting patterns to bring out the life of the person being photographed, while preserving the traditional elements. It turned out to be so right! Neither of us expected it to look so professional and good on the finished photo.

During the shoot, Ryuji adjusted the lighting and equipment several times and played with several settings and ambiance, while engaging in conversation with us throughout for my fiance to become more relaxed. Ryuji continued to talk to us throughout the shoot and shared many stories with us throughout — he’s such an interesting person!

After taking photos for about 30 mins, we sat down to pick photos. Ryuji listened carefully to our preferences and helped us narrow them down to 2. Then he gave us his expert opinions for which photo to use for what purpose. We finally settled on one and Ryuji did a retouching on it to make the photo look natural and professional.

The whole process was such a breeze, and we thoroughly enjoyed the session. We left feeling like the money was well spent and we would highly recommend anyone to book a session with Ryuji for a professional headshot! I know I will! :)

Thanks Ryuji! – Sofia Z. (Yelp review. 8/25/2014)

Read more testimonials.

Add-on options

For corporate/professional headshots, magazine-quality retouching is usually not essential, but if you can afford, it can significantly improve your impression. It removes temporary skin blemishes, lightening under eye circles and wrinkles, at 200 per image. We perform retouching while you watch, a very detailed work that you won’t get bored watching. Since BEAUPIX does a lot of demanding fashion and beauty photography with in-house retouching, we have the level of skills that very few headshot photographers have. If you are particularly conscious about your facial features, a heavier retouching, such as facial contour correction (e.g., slimming face or fixing double chin) is also available.

For female professionals, good natural look makeup is essential. If you are comfortable doing makeup yourself, it is usually sufficient, but otherwise, the studio can arrange an experienced makeup artist for your session for an additional 200.

Retouching to Perfection

Retouching to Perfection

Magazine-like retouching makes your headshot flawless, while maintaining natural skin and realistic finish.

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Professional Makeup in Studio

Professional Makeup in Studio

A professional makeup artist enhances your experience & the photographic outcome. The difference will show for years.

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Backdrop Composite

Backdrop Composite

Studio headshots get organic backdrops through image-composite techniques. It can eliminate weather and logistical issues.

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