Digital Headshot Day

As more companies do their recruiting online, the awkwardly cropped profile pic of you at a college party trying to hide the red cup is going to be a problem.

Solution? Update your digital look with a headshot…on us.

Gangplank Studios will host a ‘Digital Headshot Day’ on Thursday, March 3rd from 6:00-8:00pm. Spots are limited to the first 20 sign-ups. Depending on demand, we may extend hours, but will also add events as necessary.

The event is free, with a suggested donation of $5. The donation will go towards purchasing equipment for a permanent photography studio inside Gangplank that will be available to the public.

To sign up, visit

Peter J. Hart is a photographer based in Chandler. He specializes in flash photography and covering events. Find him @peterjhart or

Jeff lives in Gilbert. He photographs events at Gangplank and participated in the 2010 Chandler Photo Throwdown. Find him @jeffrivers or

13 thoughts on “Digital Headshot Day

  1. Man, I hope we don’t have any professional writers who bitch this much about helping people for free when Moriarty and I host a storytelling event.

    And I’m glad that none of the speakers at ChandlerCamp or CenPhoCamp whined this much.

      • You and Bradford are being dicks. We get it. You’ve made your point. You are unwilling to donate time for this and you don’t think anyone else should, either.

        I get it. Jeff and Peter get it. Every person who read this comment thread gets it.

        And don’t worry, I certainly won’t ask for your or Bradford’s help on any event I’m ever involved with.

        • I’ll let my history of pro bono work at LaidOffCamps and SMAZ events (among several others outside the Gangplank circle) speak for themselves.

          The only other thing I will add is that Adam and I have both offered, in emails, to assist with this in the larger scheme.

  2. Just want to clarify a couple of things for Adam and Bradford both together and individually:

    I’m not a “professional” photographer and never claimed to be. Photography is something that I enjoy doing when I’m not working. My intention is to gain experience, start building a reputation, take photos that people will be happy with, and help build some momentum for Gangplank Studios.

    I may not be as familiar with Gangplank as some, but I see people doing this type of thing at Gangplank all the time – musicians and DJs playing, artists creating, technical professionals providing training, etc. While I suppose you could look at all of that as times where a more experienced “professional” was denied an opportunity, I haven’t seen any of those efforts fall under any scrutiny at all. Somehow, what started out as “that sounds fun, I bet people would like that, let’s do it” has turned into a more serious debate about race-to-the-bottom issues, quality, expertise, and value.

    I promise you that’s not the spirit of this event.

    What’s unclear to me is whether you’re worried about people not getting a photo worth $5 or if you’re concerned that this will be a success. If it’s a success, then people will have learned, shared, and connected (with a souvenir digital photo included). In this case, I’d urge you to view it in the same light as any other successful event at Gangplank (most of which are not for profit and haven’t destroyed any overlapping industries, AFAIK).

    And if it’s a failure, you can say “told you so” and look forward to lots more $1500 days (or equivalent value in professional services rendered).

    Adam: It’s true that $100 (if we only raise that) won’t be enough to complete Gangplank Studios. However, it is progress and could lead to more if we’re successful. Rather than be critical, why not organize the next photo event at Gangplank that takes the project the rest of the way? Sounds like you could’ve participated this time, but chose not to. If you don’t want to make it better, that’s fine. By why tear it down for those who are participating? Do you feel this benefits you somehow?

    Bradford: I don’t know who contacted you, but it wasn’t me. I have my own backdrop and lighting and I’ve invested time in learning how to use them.

    Regarding your definition of “professional photographer”, David duChemin – a pretty high-quality photographer in the eyes of most – recently addressed this very issue. You might be interested in reading an opposing view and one that I support:

    • Jeff,

      THANK-YOU for chiming in. It’s nice to have a productive discussion vs name calling & flaming. Also thanks for the link, awesome article!

      My biggest concern / complaint is you were marketed or sold as something that you never intended (based on what you’ve told me)

      If the event had been promoted as “Fun photo headshot day” with a “souvenir digital photo included” I would be A OKAY! Instead Katie, or somebody at GP decided to label you as something you never claimed to be.
      I emailed Derek and a few others privatly and expressed concern in the promotion of this. He agreed that the title / wording could (maybe should) have been different, and the donation was an afterthought.

      I hope you don’t take my dislike for how this event was marketed as disdain for you, or Peter, or for hobbyist photographers in general. Ask @jamesarcher, @brianshaler, @andyferra, or any of the old school Refresh Phoenix members if I’m “anti” any of them.

      (FYI, Refresh Phoenix is not really active now, but was a sister group to the Refresh Phoenix group which kind was a group of creatives before there was gangplank. (And I’d say the founders of GP met thru refresh) Refocus was a way for me to let my hair down and enjoy chilling with those developers / designers who also liked photography. Was a good common ground as I am a fan of good web design, and all things tech. )

      The post above mentioned a “permanent photography studio” and needing / wanting gear, but I’m sure you know that the art of photography is a constant thing one is constantly perfecting. I think that education is crucial to helping others learn about photography and anybody who knows me online will tell you I’m glad to share what I know with others.

      I don’t wish anybody to fail (the fall on their face kind) though I’m sure you will learn lots in this project which will help you in portrait photography.

      I’m by no means intimidated by free, $5, or $50 portraits.

  3. I have to say I’m with Adam on this and share his concerns. This seems like more of a disservice to those who are being sold on the idea of participating.

    The fact that I was contacted by Gangplank at the last minute for input or suggestions on a professional set up for a backdrop for these “pro” photos gave me pause. How professional can these be, if less than a week before the event they need to contact an actual full time working professional to guide them on something as fundamental as a background?

    A headshot is a specific kind of portrait; one that requires a knowledge of lighting patterns (on the face, not where lights go in a studio recipe), and a myriad of subtleties that takes scores of hours of training and countless hours of practice and experience to attain sufficiently well enough to go beyond “lucky shots” into consistent pro service that best suits each client.

    Gangplank does a lot of good for the community, and its DIY ethic is often to be applauded. Its support for art and hack nights are to be applauded. But I wouldn’t count on a $5 day at Gangplank to create the design for my business logo. I’d hire a professional graphic designer. I wouldn’t count on a DIY day at Gangplank to set up my business accounting methods. I’d hire a full-time professional accountant or CPA.

    Someone recently posed this question:

    When you simply purchase a piano, what does that make you? A piano owner.

    When you simply purchase a camera or some lights, what does that make you? A photographer?

    • Since the abrupt cut-off (due to it having been typed on a phone that didn’t allow me to reach the end of the text after fixing a typo in the middle) at the end of my original comment may have allowed some room for misinterpretation, let me fill in an important detail. My question about whether or not someone is or is not a photographer was not aimed at either Jeff or Peter. It was more abstractly aimed at the idea of the idea that equipment equals photography, which Adam and I both seemed to be concerned about when we heard that Gangplank was thinking of building a photo studio. As one who has taught (for nothing more than Jamba Juice or a bagel) fellow photographers, and aspiring interns, the ins and outs of exposure, composition, lighting, and more; I know the time and repetition that such an endeavor requires. What it takes very little of, is equipment.

      That’s all. Well, there’s more, but it looks like Adam and I are being received as villains here, so I’ll save further explanation for another time and place, if anyone cares to extend the benefit of an assumption of good faith.

  4. Tyler,

    You said nothing, but you can try again. ;p If the concept is “one step up from a party photo” then possibly the word professional should not be in the title. Is this in reference to the end use or the quality of the photos.

    Where did the amount of $ 5 come from. Why not $ 50, 25 or 10?

  5. I don’t know much about the new space of what the goals are for a photo studio, our what the mission is. Gear for the sake of gear is silly. If you need help in planning let me know, but there is no default for what a studio of or should be.

    I’m all for community and have helped gangplank with photos occasionally, fatoff, etc. I do feel a $5 suggested donation is selling everyone short. The donation fund, the value of photographers and the value of a good photo.

    I doesn’t see patrons of gangplank offering free websites for a $ 5 donation… they can use the money to buy a new computer and dreamweaver. As a creative selling photography, I think that this idea could be implemented better while helping everyone involved. Yes I have some ideas and am willing to meet to discuss.

    I’m also willing to put my “money” where my mouth is and am offering any creative firm or freelancer an offer to trade my creative services for theirs, but not entry level work, I mean $ 1500 + work going both ways.

    • I’m on the PodcampAZ committee, helped with WordCamp Phoenix, produced CenPhoCamp, ScottsdaleCamp (eh) and ChandlerCamp.

      All for free.

      While I certainly am grateful for the opportunity to get a pro headshot for free, your argument makes sense. That being said, I think, and those who run Gangplank may as well, that most of the people at Gangplank either can’t or won’t pay for creative services. This isn’t a judgment upon that, just an observation.

      You’re expecting everyone to behave as a good neighbor would and while I agree with your sentiment, the reality is far from it.

      I’m not sure anything I just said has a point.

    • This is merely a start! The new space won’t be open until the summer so we have plenty of time to raise money for an ideal studio. If you feel strongly about becoming involved and what equipment we should be aiming for, Gangplank Studios is always looking for volunteers.

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