Peter-Hurley-3Having built his career with a knack for making people look amazing using some subtle angling of the face and various lighting techniques, what makes Peter Hurley really stand out is his charisma and the way he can bring the best out of his clients in his images. As a photographer, getting real emotion and posing them to look their best is only half the battle (a tough half at that), the other half is the technical know-how to get the job done.

A few years ago, Peter Hurley teamed up with Fstoppers and released The Art Behind the Headshot, which focused on interacting with your subjects and how to understand the face to get the most interesting facial expressions for photos. He followed that workshop DVD up with ‘Illuminating the Face,” a comprehensive tutorial offering over 4 hours of instruction on lighting the face. In that tutorial, Peter took us into his NYC studio and showed us how to various lighting and light modifiers.


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Late last year, Profoto partnered with Peter to film a tutorial using the techniques taught in “Illuminating the Face,” and took it outdoors. In the following tutorial, “Illuminating the Face –  On Location,” Peter goes through various scenarios a portrait photographer might face while in a less controlled setting than a studio. He takes us on a rooftop with harsh midday light to photograph an actor against the backdrop of NYC. He takes us into the woods to create some dramatic images and brings us to open shade for a few more techniques.

There’s a lot of information packed into the 40-minute tutorial, but the most valuable thing to me in all of Peter’s videos, including this one, is watching him interact with clients. The confidence he exudes in his posing direction and in getting natural and real expressions from his subjects is inspiring. I picked up a few tips to use in my next portrait session in just that. Now I’ll have to watch it again for the lighting tips.

Watch “Illuminating the Face on Location With Peter Hurley

Peter uses some pretty pricy gear in the video – Phase One and Profoto B1’s, but as the saying goes, “The best camera is the one you have on you.”

If you are in need of a lighting set up, make sure you enter our Profoto Mega giveaway to help you get started.