Free headshots help those laid off due to pandemic bring confidence to job search

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Photographers from around the country today came together on Wednesday to help people who are out of work due to COVID-19.

The goal? Thousands of free headshots for unemployed Americans in one day.

"I do movies and TV and stage in this town and we've been completely shut down," said actor Donn Harper.

Harper has been out of work for months since theater and studio productions closed in Chicago. But now, he has a brand new headshot to use in whatever role he wants, whether on stage or in an office.

"Right now nobody has any money, and we all need a look, so it makes people feel better. It's really a boost," he said.

How you look can impact how you feel, and how you feel during a job search in the COVID-19 era makes a big difference.

"They say first impressions last forever, so the first impression they give to the world is going to be a good one," said photographer Kambua Chema, who is donating her time and talent to help the unemployed.

Photographers at Chicago's Water Tower Place, and hundreds more across the country, are participating in Headshot Booker's "10,000 Headshots."

"The idea of being able to give back and give hope to folks that have lost their jobs is really very touching for me," she said.

The goal was 150 headshots at Water Tower Place, and 10,000 headshots across the country, for people who are out of work because of the pandemic, to help them move on to the next point in their careers.

"It means such great joy for them to be able to leave here knowing that they have something really amazing to go home with," said photographer Anna Cillan, who helped coordinate the Chicago event.

It's especially important for people like Royce Huggard, who lost his job as a human resources professional and is looking for work.

"This is definitely a positive thing to kind of help me get on my way and the other people involved to give them a boost in such a challenging time with the economy," Huggard said.

For all of the unemployed out there, he wants you to remember to "stay encouraged, stay inspired."

"Understand that a 'no' doesn't mean 'no forever.' It just may not be the right time and something greater may be around the corner," Huggard said.
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