CHARLOTTE – Ryan Sumner, of Fenix Fotography, is participating in a national effort to provide 10,000 unemployed Americans with a complimentary professional headshot to help with their job searches.
More than 200 photographers will create pop-up studios at Brookfield Properties locations nationwide. Sumner will hold his photo shoot July 22 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Carolina Place Mall. Headshots are open to anyone unemployed, but participants are asked to visit HeadshotBooker.com for details and schedule a time to be photographed.
“Charlotte, like so many other communities, was hit hard by COVID-19, and we were looking for ways to help our neighbors get back on their feet,” Sumner said.
Sumner knows first-hand how devastating losing a job can be. He recalls how getting laid off in 2007 felt much a divorce.
“Ultimately, it forced me to follow my passions and make photography my full-time job,” he said. “The transition was hard work and often scary, but it ended up being the absolute best thing for me. I want my role to be the one who brings folks hope and empowerment in an uncertain time of change and starting of new chapters.”
Sumner serves as creative director of Fenix Fotography, a NoDa-based studio that concentrates on executive portraiture, business headshots and advertising images. His clients include large brands, such as American Airlines, Ally, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Brighthouse Financial.
He describes a professional portrait as an important investment, pointing to data from LinkedIn that shows profiles with headshots receive more views than those without them.
“Professional portrait photography is so important in job searches that it’s a little bit of a social justice issue for me,” Sumner said. “I know my prices are fair, but I hate to think about the good candidates that go ignored or suffer bad first impressions because they can’t afford high-end business portraits. I heard about what Headshot Booker and Brookfield Properties were doing across the country and wanted to be a part of it. We are excited and grateful to be able to contribute to such a great initiative.”
10,000 Headshots is the brainchild of Tony Taafe, who co-founded Headshot Booker with renowned portrait photographer, Peter Hurley, and national event photographer, Lauren Lieberman.
“Headshot Booker is in a unique position to provide out-of-work Americans with an important element of the job search process – a great, professional headshot,” Taafe said. “And thanks to our partners who share a similar vision, we will be able to help thousands of unemployed Americans put their best foot forward and help them get back to work.”
Brookfield Properties Chief Marketing Officer Michelle Snyder emphasized that safety for all participants is a core focus, and each photographer will follow specific protocols to ensure safe distancing and hygiene practices throughout the day.