Photographers offer free professional portraits to help job seekers in Connecticut

Four photographers set up a pop-up studio at the Stamford Town Center Tuesday to offer free professional portraits to help job seekers.
"Oh my God, I love that," says Brianna Hidalgo, who is graduating from UConn in December.
Photographers Hector Pachas, Laurie Spenz, Craig Capello and Dariusz Terepka were part of the 10,000 Headshots Project last year. It is a one-day, nationwide snapfest to help people get back to work during the pandemic.
"We got really good feedback from people, helping them find a job after 18 months or so," says Pachas, a Norwalk photographer. "It was huge."
This year's initiative got postponed but Pachas still wanted to do something locally. He partnered with the mall, which decided to hold a job fair as well.
Pachas says the average session for headshots can cost as much as $350, so this event is a great way to give back.
"I thought, 'Oh, it would be nice to update my LinkedIn since I'm trying to get a job,' so I need a new picture," says Vladimir Appih, who graduated in May with his MBA.
According to LinkedIn, simply having a profile photo results in up to 21 times more profile views and up to nine times more connection requests.
"Your picture on LinkedIn is the first thing employers look at, so I mean, if it doesn't look professional it can really dictate whether you get the job or even get noticed," says Brianna Hidalgo, a UConn student graduating in May.
Experts also say that a professional headshot rather than a selfie or a picture taken by a friend makes a big difference.