MAPSO Installs Free Pop-Up Professional Headshot Studio for Women

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From the Maplewood Department of Community Services

Maplewood Department of Community Services, South Orange Village, and Joy Yagid Photography LLC are teaming up for Women’s History Month to offer free professional headshots to ALL Women who need them, including those who identify within the LGBTQ+ Community. According to LinkedIn, people who include headshots receive 21 times more profile views and nine times more “connection” requests. Thirty free headshot sessions will be available for Maplewood and South Orange residents. Registration will open Monday, March 8, 2021.

As part of the 2021 Women’s History Month focus of “Women Lifting Women Melissa Mancuso, Director of Maplewood Department of Community Services, wanted to offer something relevant. “Women helping other women is very important work always, and is especially essential now when women have been so negatively impacted by the pandemic, when we consider job losses combined with the demands of increased caregiving at home,” says Melissa. “We want to give women access to a part of their job-seeking process that sometimes feels vain or irrelevant, yet can open doors and empower women to reveal their best selves and show who they are.”

For two community leaders, Nancy Adams, the only woman presently on Maplewood Township Committee and Sheena Collum, the first woman to hold the title of South Orange Village President, this project is near and dear to their hearts. Nancy and Sheena created SOMA Celebrates Women and to help, support and encourage women year-round. This year’s list of activities and initiatives in the two towns for Women’s History Month has surpassed expectations with over 40 events, primarily virtual, through zoom or showcased in windows around town.

Covid-19 has sent women’s workforce progress backward, which not only undermines the economic security of families, but also has tremendous impact on the recent gains of gender equity. Nancy Adams, motivated by ways to help women get out from under the burden intensified by the health crises says, “Women have been doing the heavy lifting and focusing on everyone but themselves. For this moment, we encourage women to take care of and focus on themselves.” Heading up the Women’s History Month Day of Service: Food, Menstrual Health Supplies and Women’s Clothing Drive, Sheena Collum is excited about the Headshot Studio and adds, “I’m so pleased to partner with our South Orange and Maplewood Girl Scouts to highlight the basic needs of women and how we can help those who need a little assistance right now. I know this will be a successful event because our communities are filled with loving, compassionate and generous individuals that, when called to action, always deliver.”

Professional and local photographer Joy Yagid knows the value of a good, updated or first headshot, “More so than ever, a headshot is important as it puts a face to your name. It is the cover of your book and sets the tone of your story.” With platforms such as LinkedIn, indeed and Jobs opening spaces and outreach for job searches, a professional headshot is a clear benefit and can be a great first impression. A photo is a perfect way to create a visual connection.”

The Pop-Up Headshot Studio will be installed in the spacious halls of The Woodland, located at 60 Woodland Road in Maplewood between March 11 and March 22, 2021. Individuals will be booked back-to-back with sufficient time to minimize contact between sessions. To keep things as safe as possible, registrants will be asked to remain outside until the time of their scheduled appointment and will be required to leave their masks on until their photo shoot begins.

Headshot Photo Sessions are limited, by appointment, and will be on a first come basis via pre-registration through Rec Desk: ( under “programs” and then “special event” categories. Because the project is funded by Maplewood Division of Community Services and South Orange Village with generous contributions by Joy Yagid Photography LLC, the number of free Headshot Sessions is limited. Once the full capacity of 30 Headshot Sessions is reached, a number of additional slots will be subsidized so that the costs will be $50 a session, instead of the typical $150, with the goal of keeping it affordable for women and non-binary persons seeking jobs.

Each session includes the client’s choice of one file from a gallery of approximately 6. So that people may look their best, the session includes editing of photos to remove fine lines and wrinkles, smoothing the complexion, brightening eyes, and whitening teeth. Clients should come prepared for the headshot. Personal grooming, hair and makeup done prior to the appointment, clothes neat and lint removed.  

Women have played a critical role in leading, shaping, and enhancing our community, our country and humankind. Please join us as we celebrate Women’s History in March and always!

So that everyone may enjoy and participate in the Women’s History Month for 2021 with physical distancing and covid-19 guidelines established, the majority of events will take place online, via Zoom, in store windows, displays and installations. Detailed descriptions, additional information, updates and links to all happenings can be found at Weekly township email and social media campaigns will detail upcoming events.

SOMA celebrates women honors the lives and achievements of women all throughout the year featuring a series of events geared towards education, empowerment, support and solidarity as we amplify women’s voices to honor the past, inform the present and inspire the future.

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