The Importance of a Professional Photo, and Where to Get One

As generations who have experienced the rise of social media, we can appreciate a good photo. We’ve had discussions about and understandings of various social platforms, like Instagram and TikTok, and we can see how photos and videos showcase our personalities and brands to our audience. 

To help our students get a great photo for professional social media platforms, such as a website or LinkedIn, the UGA Career Center offers the opportunity for students to take a free photo in our Iris Professional Photobooth. During its first academic year of use (2023-2024), our photobooth captured the lovely smiles of over 2200 UGA students, alumni, faculty, and staff. That’s a LOT of Dawgs! 

So, why is it beneficial to use the Iris Photobooth, and how will it help our UGA community in their careers? 

Professional Social Media 

When you are in the middle of a job or internship search, the first place an employer may look for more information about you is through social media. Employers wish to see your work on your profile, and the first things they will come across are your name and picture. As the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. A good picture is even better.

A professional photo on social media platforms may be small at first glance, so capturing your face at a reasonable distance and angle, having good lighting and an unbusy background, and touching up the image will enhance your profile. When a hiring manager views a professional-looking photo on your profile or website, they’ll get the impression that you’re put-together and taking your job search seriously, which will work in your favor. Luckily, the Iris Professional Photobooth allows for all these components. 

Some Industries and Opportunities May Require a Photo 

As you prepare your application materials for opportunities, your awareness of requirements – such as resumes and cover letters, portfolios and websites, creative samples, etc. – will play a role in successfully receiving an interview. While applications for most opportunities should not include a photo (to decrease bias among applicants and create an equitable process), specific industries, like theater or landscape architecture, may require or encourage you to submit your picture alongside written materials in an application. Additionally, you can add your photo to presentation and paper proposals for conferences or writing opportunities. 

To know if an industry of interest requires or encourages a photo in applications, you can discuss this point with someone in the field, such as a recruiter or a professional doing the work. Join the UGA Mentor Program or utilize the UGA LinkedIn Alumni Tool to identify a UGA faculty or staff member, alum, or friend of the university, and they can help with understanding if and how photos are beneficial to the industry. You can also check with your career consultant in an appointment

Snap a Picture! 

The UGA Career Center’s Iris Professional Photobooth, as mentioned previously, is a free resource that anyone in the UGA community can use. You will need to input your email address, and your photos will then be emailed to you. Once you receive them, you can enhance your pictures, like whitening your teeth or removing any blemishes, for the best photo possible. 

An appointment is not required, and students, alumni, faculty, and staff can come any weekday between 8:30am-4:30pm, even during the summer. The process takes just under 5 minutes. The photobooth is typically located at the Career Center in Clark Howell Hall (second floor), and we plan to bring it to most career fairs. We encourage you to dress professionally for the photo!  

So, what are you waiting for? Get a photo with the UGA Career Center today! 

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