Vermont photographer snaps headshots for the unemployed

A headshot can make you stand out in an application but they often come with a hefty price tag. That's where one nationwide initiative took over.
Published: Jul. 23, 2020 at 8:40 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 23, 2020 at 12:20 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - A good headshot could cost you hundreds of dollars, depending on the photographer, and for unemployed Vermonters during the pandemic, that’s not an option.

“If you’re going to go on Amazon or you’re going to go to the store and buy something, you’re not going to buy it sight-unseen. You want to look at that product, photo, you want to see in your mind if you can picture what that’s going to do for you. And it’s no different for an employer looking at who they want to hire,” said Paul Richardson, president of StoryWorkz, a portrait and commercial photography business. He says the head shots can be used for profiles on any social media site, or a resume if required.

The group Headshot Booker started 10,000 Headshots by recruiting more than 200 photographers across all 50 states with one goal -- to snap 10,000 free headshots.

Here in Burlington, Richardson took the lead. On Wednesday, he scheduled 33 headshots and expected walk-ins throughout the day.

“One of the members in the group came up with the idea and said, ‘Hey, there are a lot of people out of work, we’ve got this skill. You know can we do to help,‘” said Richardson.

And that skill translates into a newly snapped photo for people like Anthony Kaloseih.

“How you carry yourself -- so I think that people see that and -- anything to boost your confidence,” said Kaloseih. “As someone who has had to do hiring before, I know that when you look and you see someone with a professional photo, it looks like they are serious about the position. And I think it will help me get the confidence I need to find a good job.”

“If we can remove that barrier, and it’s one less thing, less friction to make an application stand out, make an application, make them look better, give them a leg up, that’s great,” said Richardson.

The event involved 200 photographers from all 50 states taking as many clients as they could handle Wednesday. Although Richardson says he took on Vermont alone, he is just glad he can use his talents for something bigger than a profit.

“Anything we can do to help people in this time -- especially with unemployment running out in another week -- I think the idea was great,” said Richardson.

Richardson also says that he is hoping he can hold more events like this on a more local level in the future.

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