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Local photographer helping newly unemployed get headshots and get back to work

One local photographer offered free headshots in a Facebook post over the weekend and within hours was booked.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Unemployment numbers in Charlotte have remained fairly steady over the last few months and people in our community are stepping up in unexpected ways to help others find jobs.

One local photographer offered free headshots in a Facebook post over the weekend and within hours was booked.

Usually looking for work is very much an in-person thing, with networking and interviews. But not right now, so a good headshot is more important than ever.

Nan Gray said she didn’t expect to spend her weekend shooting headshots, and so she was pleasantly surprised when so many people responded to her Facebook post so quickly.

"In the COVID-19 world, I know a lot of people that have been laid off just trying to help in any way I can,” Gray said. 

The marketing director has done photography on the side for seven years and decided to offer up her services for free.

“I think a lot of people don’t know where to get a headshot," Gray said. "They take their iPhone out and take a selfie. It's all about first impressions on the internet. nobody’s interviewing in person.”

Jessica Duckett Paylor was thrilled to see Gray’s Facebook post.

“My headshot was a selfie, so it was a great opportunity to get a real professional-grade headshot,” Paylor said. 

Duckett Paylor was working as a project manager in the finance industry until last week. The company told her they couldn’t keep her on because of the virus.

“It is a little bit scary, you don’t really know what’s going on,” Paylor said. 

She said it’s tough trying to find a new job right now.

“It’s weird, can’t go to normal things you’d go to network and make an impression so I think right now having that online presence is going to be the most important thing you can do for yourself,” Paylor said. 

She is grateful for Gray’s generosity and her new headshots and hopes to pay it forward soon.

“I think that’s what we all need to be doing. It’s just another opportunity in this very disjointed world were living in to help each other,” Gray said. 

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