Preparing for a future career can be a daunting task for any college student. The checklist of things to accomplish on the journey to success includes multiple tasks, one of which is an appropriate headshot.
Augusta University students now have access to a unique experience as AU has become one of only four institutions in the University System of Georgia to incorporate the Iris Air Photo Booth, a digital do-it-yourself professional headshot machine.
With a few touches to a screen, students can acquire high-quality headshots in minutes, including pose suggestions and editing capabilities, all for free.
Irielle Duncan, a second-year student at Augusta University’s Medical College of Georgia, needed a professional headshot in her white coat to submit for credentialing as she begins her clerkship in January. With little time to spare and no immediate access to a professional photographer, she took a friend’s advice to try the photo kiosk, which is located in the Robert B. Greenblatt, M.D. Library on the Health Sciences Campus.
“I took six pictures in total because I am a perfectionist and indecisive,” said Duncan. “Overall, the experience was very efficient and seamless. I spent less than 10 minutes at the machine and received my pictures immediately after. The prompts were very easy to follow, and the photos were well lit with nice quality.”
Iris Air, a funded partnership among the Division of Enrollment and Student Affairs, University Libraries and the Graduate Student Government Association, is available for use at no cost to students, faculty and staff.
“Prior to Iris, the only way students could get free headshots were from the Career Center-sponsored Augusta University Job Fair,” said Mehul Mehra, vice president of GSGA, who initially introduced the idea. “The problem was those job fairs are held at times that limited the potential outreach to graduate students. GSGA envisioned an easy, convenient and free method for any AU student to get the headshots they need for job and residency applications, interviews and other career opportunities. This would improve the academic experience, lower stress and erase the need to buy fancy equipment.”
“Thanks to the power of our students’ voices, we were able to take it from request to reality,” said Julie Goley, director of Career Services. “Students often lack financial resources to pay for a professional headshot. This makes it feasible for them to build their professional development image for LinkedIn and Handshake accounts, and for use when featured in scholarly publications, research conferences and more.”
Brad Warren, dean of libraries, said the Greenblatt Library was the ideal location due to its hours of operation and the availability of staff to answer questions about the process.
“More student-oriented services have moved into Greenblatt, like Testing and Disability Services, Academic Advisement, tutoring and the Center for Writing Excellence, so it made sense to also place the equipment and service there,” Warren said.
Faculty and staff are also welcome to utilize Iris, as it provides an alternative process for updating headshots for staff directories on websites and more.
“I found the Iris to be fun and quick. The lighting is perfect, and the instructions are easy to follow. I was very happy with the three-second countdown and the ability for editing and retaking. I would highly recommend it,” said Jenna Griner, health professions advising coordinator.
Iris Booth designers said their mission is to “reach, serve and engage students and alumni from all universities by providing professional quality headshots offered through career development offices.”
“It is very valuable because it is centrally located, free of charge and accessible to all students,” said Duncan. “Many students here are in professional school or on a pre-