Jacket and Collar for the Headshot Win
Sanjay Nagamangalam, Executive Director at MSCI, came into my Sammamish studio for a headshot last week. The last time he wore a suit was when he graduated from college and needed to interview for his first job. He decided that perhaps having a more CTO/Executive leader headshot would be appropriate given the senior leadership role he has grown into at MSCI
He brought with him an old dress shirt and old sport jacket that no longer fit him well so I grabbed one of my dress shirts and suit jackets, and made him look like a CTO. The transformation was quite remarkable. In the headshot world, we really focus on how the clothing lays on the shoulders and around the neck. We want to remove distractions from the personality and expression coming through the face of the individual while giving some subtle story backdrop. For most executive men I have been photographing, the winning look has been a dark suit jacket and open collar shirt. It evokes a confident, competent look but without being bankerly formal. This has worked well for folks coming from Amazon, Microsoft, Wix, Darigold and most recently Mohamed from Salesforce.
It is important the shirt collar has crisp wings and neatly tucks underneath the suit jacket. It is a really subtle thing but it can make or destroy a picture without the viewer really understanding why. Here’s a side by side comparison –
For women wanting that executive, professional look, I also recommend a darker jacket over light color blouse. This creates a nice leading ‘V’ up into the face. The darker jacket shoulders really help make the face pop and remove distractions at the shoulders which often pull the viewer away from the face. Like the men’s collar, attention needs to be paid on exactly how well formed the collar is and how it interacts with the jacket.
For variety of looks, doing a “workaday” shirt with sleeves rolled up or arms crossed can be a fun, easy alternative that’s flexible to use for less formal communication. So go find those jackets, get them pressed and get your headshot scheduled!
About the Author: John is a professional Headshot and Event Photographer serving the broader Seattle Eastside including Bellevue, Redmond, Sammamish and Mercer Island. In his spare time, he enjoys nature photography and road/mountain biking. See his website https://ludemanphotographic.com.