How did a headshot help me in getting a break in Australian job market?

When I was planning to migrate to Australia a few years ago, I had to hunt a job in my relevant field without a local experience. While planning a job hunt strategy, I found out that employers, head-hunters and recruitment agencies in Australia use LinkedIn and other recruitment websites heavily and most of the jobs get filled with professional references. Therefore, I re-activated my LinkedIn account, completed the profile, accomplishments and asked my ex-colleagues and managers for the recommendations.

I also started connecting with the recruitment agents, resume writers, human resource folks. In this course, I met some amazing people that were super helpful like Andrea Wilkinson who helped me build my resume and LinkedIn profile in Aussie format.

While building my online presence I observed that the first impression is your picture – people will look you up online before meeting or contacting you. They spend a significant time looking at your profile picture. Though I was into photography I didn’t know what are these display or profile pictures called professionally. Upon research, I learned about professional or corporate headshots:

“A Headshot is a specific type of portrait that realistically demonstrates a person’s appearance for branding or casting. Headshots can be produced digitally or print out and used for engaging in social media, the ‘about me’ and biography web pages/blogs, LinkedIn, resume/cv and showbiz industry.”

I dug out the best headshot photographer in the town, Frederik Bisbjerg. He was expensive but upon looking at his work; I knew that this is what I need and my online profiles can’t be complete without the quality headshot portrait. Once I received my first ever headshot photos, trust me, the money that I spent is definitely an investment.

In the meanwhile, I had already been applying for the jobs without a professional headshot using the following pictures for my LinkedIn and other professional profiles on recruitment or career websites:

I was not getting much responses from anywhere but as soon as changed my display picture with the professional headshot, Boom! Surprisingly, profile views were bumped up and I started getting the responses from the recruitment agents and employers even I was not in Australia yet. This is the example of using headshots for job hunting purposes only; just imagine the other potentials.

That was the time when I decided to learn headshot photography as well. I went under Frederik’s mentorship. He introduced me to Peter Hurley who was his mentor. Peter Hurley is an authority in headshot and business portraits.

After arriving Australia, I kept learning and shooting headshot and business portraits. By the way, I did secure the permanent job in my relevant filed in the first month without an Aussie experience.

Now, I am pursuing a professional headshot photography as a side-hustle. Please visit https://www.najamimages.com.au for more information.

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Remember, we are a brand whether we are an individual, employee or business owner. Our image on our social media or company website is often the first point of contact where first impression matters. My very dear friend and fellow headshot photographer, Bruno Kongawoin says, “In the Age Of Information, your headshot is your first digital handshake and it’d better be saying the right thing about you.”

Your headshot is not the one you or your friend snapped with the iPhone. It is not the one your family and friends think you look good. It is not the one you think you look cool. It is not definitely the one you had taken at the Post Office or Passport Photo Service kiosk.

So, when is a good time to have a new headshot? Some will say when they are thinking about changing jobs. Thinking this way means that you may be missing out on new opportunities that are knocking on your door. Chances are that they (the head-hunters and casting directors) are looking at your online profile all the time.

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Another Family Portrait

The family is one of the universal and permanent institutions of mankind. There are many countries where the family does not consist only of husband, wife and their children but also of grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins and grandchildren.

I strongly believe that grandparents are the member of the immediate family. Due to the increase in life expectancy, the role of grandparents and great-grandparents in the lives of the younger generation has greatly increased.

Grandparents do not have the educational responsibility, therefore, the relationship between the parties becomes more of an affectionate nature and it is for this reason they seem more generous and tolerant than parents.

Grandparents attribute a great importance to their educator and supporting role. This educational role is carried out through shared activities with grandchildren.

When I migrated to Australia a couple of years ago, I noticed that grandparent-grandchildren relationship is getting weaker here. Maybe there are genuine reasons like distance, work, career, health, etc but in most cases, some blame goes to parents as well; they need to build that bridge. Well, grandparents should also take initiative; after all, if they build this relationship, stress and loneliness will never haunt them.

Let me give you my example; when I used to work and live in Qatar, my parents were back home in another country. It was around 3-4 hours distance by air and then 2 hours from airport to my home city. I had been travelled back home or brought them to Qatar every year for 7 years till I left the country. Now, Australia is far far away from my home country and I can’t afford to travel every year but the seed that has been sowed in those years has become a tree of love and bond, and its roots are distributed deeply among my son and parents. He talks to them on Skype or Whatsapp frequently. My 5 months old son hasn’t met my parents yet but his elder brother holds him in his lap while talking to my parents. This is how you pass the love and affection to another generation.

So, if you can afford or have a control over your situation, let your children play, stay, sleep, and laugh with your parents. Capture those moments!

Therefore, I came up with an idea of capturing grandparents and their grandchildren. These portraits will be an asset for grandparents, parents, and grandchildren; will serve three generations.

In this regard, a few days ago, I had an opportunity to shoot an outdoor family portrait of grandparents (Jeff and Robyn) and their grandkids at Royal Botanic Gardens, Cranbourne, Melbourne, Australia. If you haven’t visited it yet, I highly recommend. Kids were so close to Jeff and Robyn that I just enjoyed the moments they spent during the shoot.

I shoot family portraits that should be converted into prints because after investing so much time, energy and resources into your session, you are entitled to the complete the experience. You deserve to have prints to hold, enjoy, and display. Your memories aren’t meant to live in digital files. They are meant to be loved and cherished.

Here are few of the moments that I capture with them. I felt a warmth and connection between the grandparents and kids. It was lovely to meet them.

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