Peter Hurley talks about the psychology of shooting headshots + demo

Nov 13, 2019

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Peter Hurley talks about the psychology of shooting headshots + demo

Nov 13, 2019

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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When you think headshot photography, it’s not long before the name Peter Hurley springs to mind. As an actor and model turned photographer, he’s become one of the go-to guys for headshot photography.

But shooting headshots is more than about just having a great camera or lighting, it’s about psychology and the connections you make with your subjects. We caught up with Peter at PhotoPlus 2019 to find out more about his approach to headshot photography.

As well as having his own successful headshot studio in New York City, Peter also runs Headshot Crew, which offers online coaching, workshops, tutorials and ways for the general public to find headshot photographers from a selection of over 16,000 in 132 countries.

We asked Peter what he feels are the three most important pieces of advice he could offer to headshot photographers just starting out.

  1. Consistency – Have consistency in your portfolio so that all of the images look like they were shot by the same photographer and your clients know what they’re going to get before they’ve even spoken to you.
  2. Good lighting and technique – Peter strongly believes in “Signature” looks for headshots to reinforce that point of consistency in your portfolio. Having a solid lighting style and technique will help to do this.
  3. Crank out expressions – Talk with your subjects, not at them. Build some rapport and shoot as many expressions as you can. Learn what expressions will make your subject look good. Peter says that the connection you have to your subject and the expression and emotion they show is the “final ingredient” in making a good headshot.

Even if your style is very different from Peter, or even if you’re not doing headshots, but just portraits in general, getting a good image is as much about psychology and connecting with your subject as it is about the gear you’re using, if not more so.

DIYP’s coverage of PhotoPlus Expo 2019 is sponsored by Luminar, Cosyspeed, PhotoPlus, and Spiffy Gear – check ’em out.

We’re giving away photo bags, software and lights – join the giveaway here.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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One response to “Peter Hurley talks about the psychology of shooting headshots + demo”

  1. Christian Lange Avatar
    Christian Lange

    Cool video interview. So true… you can know so much about technique and lighting ––but a great headshot is more about the human interaction between the photographer and his subject. https://www.christianlange.com/KnoxvilleHeadshots.html