Local photographers join nationwide effort to help Americans get back to work

Headshot and portrait photographer Kelli Wilke, in her home studio located in North Wilmington, is taking part in 10,000 Headshots

With the job market shaping up to be the worst in recent memory, college grads and the recently unemployed are under enormous pressure, competing for limited job openings and doing their best to present the best image of themselves.

Regardless of profession, COVID-19 sent millions of Americans to the unemployment line without warning. But professional photographer Kelli Wilke is doing her part to help people out of a job have a better chance at landing one.

Wilke is one of three Delaware photographers taking part in the largest, single-day photo initiative that will provide 10,000 unemployed Americans with a complimentary, professional headshot to include with their resumes and post to job sites such as LinkedIn. 


10,000 Headshots will take place in cities across the country, including Wilmington, on July 22nd. More than 200 photographers will participate across all 50 states.

Wilke, who has had to adapt and rethink her own business in this new climate, says she jumped at the opportunity to donate her services to the 10,000 Headshots national initiative. She said she and several friends had been looking for ways to help neighbors get back on their feet.

“I signed up immediately. And I thought, ‘What a great thing to be able to help people who have gone through so much, who have become unemployed.’ I see so many people that come to my studio that don’t have much confidence. But when we’re done, they feel really good about themselves,” said Wilke.


Professional headshots can range from $250 to $1000

Wilke, an award-winning headshot, portrait and wedding photographer based in Wilmington, says she is not only donating her time but will spend resources against the project. She has hired assistants and purchased new signage and backdrops to ensure every complimentary headshot customer gets the same high-quality results she typically charges $350 or more for in her own studio.

Wilke has been behind the lens at thousands of photoshoots for celebrities, fashion brands, products, travel, architecture, and commercial events. Her work has graced the covers of over 200 magazines throughout her career spanning 20 years.

“A professional can really bring out somebody’s personality, and they know how to make you look your best,” said Wilke. “Professional photographers will understand optimal lighting, take the best camera angles, will direct facial turns so your face is angled properly and will show you how to pose properly. For example, if I shoot up at somebody a little bit, it gives them a little bit of a pop and makes them look more powerful.”

Why are headshots so important? Wilke says headshots are a visual handshake and that a professional headshot can make an important difference in the appeal of applicants. “Profiles are 20 times more likely to be seen with a headshot. And so not only does it help the person get their selves out there and market themselves but it gives the person confidence  


The other Delaware photographers taking part in Wilmington’s 10,000 Headshots include Don Mann of Don Mann Photography, Inc. and John Yeatman, Jr. owner of Trident Image Group.

Anyone currently unemployed simply needs to visit https://headshotbooker.com to book their 10-minute one-on-one session at the Christiana Mall. Signups started last week. But there are still plenty of time slots available between 10 am and 7 pm on July 22. People who sign up will receive an email confirmation with information about where they should go at the mall.

10,000 Headshots is the brainchild of Headshot Booker co-founder Tony Taafe and ​Brookfield Properties, with shopping centers across the nation, including the Christiana Mall.

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About the Contributor

Christy Fleming

Christy Fleming

The managing editor of TownSquareDelaware.com, Christy Fleming also supports a variety of non-profit initiatives in Delaware. Her background includes positions in public relations, advertising and journalism.

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