LYNNWOOD, Wash. — Photographer Mike Nakamura has been hit hard by the pandemic. His business is operating at about 10 percent of where it was pre-COVID.
"When's the last time you had so much fun?" Nakamura asks the woman posing in front of his camera.
For this session, he's working for free, snapping photos to change lives.
"When someone gets a good photograph of themselves, it sort of boosts them up," he says.
Nakamura and 7 other Seattle-area photographers are part of a nationwide effort to take 10,000 professional headshots, for free, in a single day.
Nakamura says, "This is something that is important nowadays, more so even in the virtual world, because that photograph, that thumbnail, is what introduces you to people."
Furloughed IT manager Brent Diaz walks into the pop-up studio here at the Alderwood Mall.
"I haven't worked in a few months," Diaz says.
Another visitor, Linda Penner, runs hospitality, catering, and events.
"Literally, within three days, I canceled four month's worth of business," Penner says.
Like millions of other Americans, their careers have been put on hold by the virus.
"Hit by a tsunami," she says.
More than 200 people will come through here today, a cross-section of America out of work.
"Looking for the next opportunity," says Judy Robertson.
As a supplier to Boeing, Robertson's company was hit especially hard.
She says, "As Boeing slowed down, we slowed down."
Anthony Williams is looking for his next opportunity in commercial real estate.
"Stay on the course," Williams says.
All of them are getting a boost, not just from their slick new profile pics, but by reaching out in a time of need and finding a helping hand.
Robertson says, "People making time for one another and we're here for each other."