Those updating their resumes might consider adding a professional portrait.

Although the idea remains a debated topic, career coach Janice Worthington, executive director of Worthington Career Services, called a professional photo "critical."

"The more you can see, the more an individual will be able to impress," said Worthington, whose offices are in Powell and northwest Columbus. "We see before we read."

The more people can see, the better the chance an applicant has to make a good impression, she said.

Columbus resident Aaron Mackey is convinced. He said the first impression prospective employers have of him likely wouldn't come in the form of a handshake, but rather a picture of his beaming smile and freshly cropped hair.

"I think it's definitely going to open up doors," said Mackey, who's halfway through a software-development class at Rev1 Ventures on Kinnear Road.

His professional portrait was taken courtesy of Matt Reese, founder of Commons Studio, a social enterprise that is helping such people as Mackey put on their best face.

"That's what we base our gut instinct on," Reese said.

Reese, whose studio is at 199 S. High St. in Columbus, is trying to help those in workforce-development programs get professional portraits to be used on such social-media sites as LinkedIn, which had 467 million members at last count.

Reese recently established Shot For Shot Portraits, where he charges other professionals $99 so he can "give away" a photo for free to those on the struggling end of the socioeconomic spectrum.

Reese also has launched a crowd-funding platform on Indiegogo to raise money for the initiative.

To date, it has brought in $4,900 -- less than half of the goal of $10,000, he said. Fundraising on the site expires March 31.

Reese said he has partnered with career-development nonprofit organizations and career fairs in the region to offer his services.

Most clients typically are 20 to 40 years old in search of a professional job, he said.

Reese, 32, said he started the service "largely because I can sympathize with the struggle they're going through."

Before founding Matt Reese Photography in 2014, he said, he basically was a starving artist, often getting paid in food, drinks and the opportunity for networking.

"I knew what I was capable of, but it was difficult," Reese said. "I guess I was somewhat wealthy in social equity, but I didn't have any fiscal equity."

Reese said a portrait for those seeking employment could cost $60 to $250 at most studios. That price range is for studios that run the gamut, from chain department stores to professional photographers, he said.

He said he's able to keep his costs lower because he offers an apprenticeship-training program in which he pays emerging photographers to do yeoman's work at the studio. In other words, to help them learn the business, they are paid less than professional photographers.

Mackey isn't complaining about the quality.

"(Reese's studio) did a fantastic job on my headshot," he said.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary