Peter Hurley: The Art Behind The Headshot DVD Pre-Order Begins Now

Update: The DVD is now Available for purchase here.
A few months ago Patrick and I flew up to NYC and filmed our first ever full length DVD (dual DVD actually) with Peter Hurley. The DVD is still being edited but we can finally see an end in sight.

Initially we didn't plan on having a pre-order but when Peter Hurley decided to start teaching workshops, we decided to create a special pre-order deal. When the dual DVD is released, it will cost $300. If you purchase it before October 1st, 2011, we will give you a $300 credit towards any of Peter's workshops (and this can be used at any time) so you are actually getting the DVD for free. Peter is also going to personally sign all of the pre-ordered DVDs. Patrick and I are working as fast as we can to edit this DVD while managing and also shooting a wedding every weekend. Things are busy but we hope to have this DVD released sometime this summer. Head over to Hurley's website to sign up for "The Headshot Intensive," his new 2 day workshop. There are currently 4 slots left for his first workshop on May 21-22.

Click here to pre-order the DVD today
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Judging from all the comments it seems like you guys are pricing yourself away from your target market. Producing a DVD is expensive. Hell, just duplication alone can be a crazy expense and it's tempting to try to recoup all that expense as quickly as possible. I think that at the $300 price point you will find you will sell less than half as many as you would at the $150 range. And at $300 the video better kick some serious ass for both content and production value. If it's a 2 camera shoot in a conference room or studio with no cut-aways and bad sound you might want to re-think things.

I am so surprised to see people saying that 300$ is too high for a DVD. BUT often those same people upgrades from a D300 to a D300s even if they don't shoot any video, spend thousands of dollars on lenses/flashes that stays in the closet most of the time...

I would seriously suggest renting the episodes of this dvd. I paid $15 for a 1hr retouching video from a master and they have tons of them. Pressing and shipping this dvd will add to that cost but allowing rental on the ipad and android tablets might prove to be better..........AND COOLER.

I'm sure there is great value in this dvd but with sites such as your very own, people don't see the need to pay $300 when they are already learning so much for free from Youtube and Most people what to know light setups because there is no real HUGE technique in pushing the shutter button. Peter does well because of his personality and you can't teach that.

Rent this thing for $15 a pop and then do the same for Sean Armenta but charge $20 and I promise you will see tons of purchases.

Patrick Hall's picture

We are toying with this idea and we may offer this feature. The problem I see is this DVD might be the type that you want to watch over and over. 60% of what Peter is talking about and showing isn't something that you can just watch once and go "Oh, that's how he did it". Sure the lighting is easy and you probably don't need the DVD for that but how he can coach someone with an eye difference and a jacked up smile into getting an amazing headshot that makes the person look attractive is something people might want to watch over and over. It's the details that make this DVD so amazing.

Has Patrick or Lee ever put out a video with poor production quality? lol. As much info that gets doled out around this site... you can be sure that a DVD from fstoppers would be chock full of good stuff! I'm getting this video.

Patrick honestly I would look into renting segments. People will want to see the next segment if you just end it with a click to see the next segment. This will also cut back on people pirating your dvd. Honestly if I'm on a flight, I would rent stuff like this. Peter is freakin' so cool and his head shots inspired mine. I looked at how he lit everything and reproduced my own version that is out the lens pretty much perfect like his.

I seriously would love to see a Peter channel and a Sean channel. People don't realize how legit these two guys are. Peter learned from Bruce Weber. Bruce Weber is the man behind all the Ralph Lauren work and the ground breaking Abercrombie & Fitch work. Sean is one of the main photographers for Wet Seal clothing. When ever I see a Peter or Sean post, I stop what I am doing and watch.

These two provide a wealth of knowledge and are more creditable than most anyone that gets posted here. They also are kind enough to tell their successful techniques.

People see $300 and they are like, dude that mad money and they think about all the tanks of gas they could be buying or Xbox 360 games they could be buying. I would just sell it by the section. Then if people want to watch that same section over again, they pay that price again. I watched the same $15 retouching segment on youtube 2 times in one week just to see one part again because it was so detailed.

I look forward to seeing what is going on.

I loved the Peter Hurley BTS video. $300 is steep for me but may not be for others for this new video. I hope it is successful. I know Patrick and Lee create good stuff.

$300 wouldn't have hurt in 2006, but in 2011 it does.

Also, consider how much more money $5 apps in the iPhone App Store make than most $500 (or even some $50,000) apps make from traditional models.

The value of the content may be superb. But the pricetag IS high. It's more than 3 years of NAPP or WPPI membership, for instance. I know I get a tremendous value out of that. It's in line with one year of pro-level PPA membership. Are you saying that the value here is right on with PPA membership? I know how much PPA does for me as a photographer.

I've certainly seen more expensive DVD sets available from photographers, but not many. And considering the value I got from the Strobist and McNally DVD sets at a fraction of this price (each) it's hard to imagine that this would be that much better. (But I'm happy to be proven wrong!!!)

But maybe I'm reading too much from your outtake/teaser video? Again, I have to compare with the killer promo Joe McNally did for his set (and actually every other set I've ever seen, even while still in production; what's up with that???).

Can't wait to see some samples of actual content. Three-and-a-half minutes of laughing about ponytails didn't really do it for me. :)

Patrick Hall's picture

I don't know what to say Jon.  I'm convinced that this DVD will help every photographer who makes a living with photography (and those who don't too).  I have no doubt that the information in this set will increase your sales, the quality of work you produce, and the praises of your clients who will ultimately gain you more jobs.  I've never paid for NAPP, WPPI, or PPA memberships (I do pay about $300 a year to WPJA, hard to tell if it's making me money) but I have to believe this disk will give you real skills to make even more money at your craft.  $300 in training from someone at the top of their field seems way more useful to me than the $300 I pay to WPJA for advertising but that is a decision each person needs to make for themselves.  I hope everyone is making more money in 2011 than 2006...seems the photography market is only growing and your business should be growing as well.

Is it possible to get discounts as a student?

Seriously! I'm really looking forward to an answer!

Patrick Hall's picture

 Hey Jochen, we are not currently offering a student discount on this disk yet.  

Hey guys! Thanks for chiming in on all of this. I appreciate the feedback and am so glad I teamed up with Lee and Patrick to produce the dvd. My thought process when pricing everything out is based on what I believe the information could do for your business. If you aren't charging $300 for one of your sessions yet, then it might not be for you. That said if you want to get up to charging $300 per session then you shouldn't think twice about buying it.

I have no idea what stage of your photography career you are in, but if one of the best headshot photographers in the country put out a dvd when I started shooting I would've figured out how to come up with the cash to buy it in a heartbeat. At that time I was hungry and I was going to create a photography career for myself no matter what. There was no way I was going to go back into the bar and bartend until 4am in NYC like I had been doing for years. I was crashing in my brother's apt because I didn't have a job, had just picked up a camera and decided I had no choice but to make this work. I put my first set of lights on my credit card(Lumedynes) and began shooting in his 12 x 12 living room.

At the time the top headshot photographers in NY were charging $1000 for a headshot and I thought if I start really cheap I could raise my rates as I go. I began charging $25 per roll of film just to start shooting. No idea how to equate that to digital today, but it was a start. I remember how clueless I was and my headshots had plenty of issues in the beginning. If I had someone in front of my camera who was comfortable I could get a decent shot, but when someone was freaked out I had no idea what to tell them and my shots suffered for it. Unfortunately, about 8 out of 10 people I'd shoot would be horrible in front of the camera. This was probably the best training ground I could've had and since I was struggling I wracked my brain to figure out what to say to my clients to chill them out. I'd say 90% of them were just friends who wanted shots and they weren't paying much at all and they were still freaked out! I'm sure you deal with this on a daily basis and for me figuring this out went hand in hand with learning the technical side of it. I could go on and on, but the truth of it is that I was lucky enough to pick up a camera and ambitious enough to run with it. I look back now and at times am shocked that I pulled it off, but I know I'm not done and am continually honing my skill on a daily basis. I hope you are too.

For those that think this is utter crap, I know you are out there! Email me your best 10 headshots and we'll see where you are at in your career. I'll send you some tips to up your game and help you begin charging the proper rate for your work. The studio email is

I know you guys don't have a sense of what's on the dvd just yet. As you know Lee, Patrick and myself don't ever disappoint, so believe me I'm not putting something out there and backing it up with my reputation if I didn't believe this info can greatly advance your career. So if you think changing your career is worth $300 then pre-order this thing and send me your best 10 headshots. I'm fired up to get my PH2 team going and am looking for talent worldwide and am launching my revamped site soon. Would love to help take your career to the next level.

Best of luck to all of you with your shooting. My advice, just keep the shutter button firing as much as you can. I learned the most from having a human in front of my camera on a daily basis whether I was being paid or not. Just my 2¢. @peter_hurley:twitter

what kind of option will there be for people not in the US who wouldnt be able to take advantage of the $300 off the workshop?

Lee Morris's picture

Peter plans to do workshops for years to come and he hopes to one day do them in other countries. If you are serious about spending the $1500 to go to one of his workshops, I'm sure one day you could put the credit to use.

If going to one of Peter's workshops is not a priority for you, then the preorder may not be worth it for you.

Lee Morris's picture

I've I am not going to respond to every troll individually but I will simply say this; If you think we are simply trying to sell at "DVD" for $300 then of course it isn't worth it to you, hell Avatar is only $20 on Bluray, go buy that instead.

This "DVD" is the medium that we can share the priceless information that Peter has learned over the last 10 years. If you think $300 is a lot to learn all of the secrets of the most successful headshot photographer ever, then guess what... this DVD isn't for you.

If you do shoot headshots for money and this DVD helps you book 1 extra job in the rest of your career then you have more than paid for it. This DVD was created 100% with professional photographers (not just headshot photographers) who want to step up their game (and profits). If you shoot for fun, of course this is not worth $300.

$300. Man thats steep...but you know what? I'm gettin this DVD!!

William Jason Wallis's picture

Sorry WHO is Peter Hurley?

Patrick Hall's picture

 He's the most successful and desired headshot photographer in New York City.  Most of his clients are aspiring or established actors and Broadway performers. 

The irony is that you guys yourself called Mark Wallace's DVD's price steep and yet you refer to people complaining about this DVD's price as trolls.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think either of the DVD's prices are steep, it's just that I find it laughable that you guys defend your own stuff so aggressively while
you do the same "trolling" on other people's work.

Nothing against Peter, I will get this for sure to gain insight on his techniques.

Patrick Hall's picture

 Who are you referring to?  No one here at Fstoppers felt like Mark's DVD was steep.  If anything we thought it was reasonable at $150.  I believe Lee said college tuition for photography was ridiculously steep for what they teach and I said you could easily make back the $150 in a shoot if you learned something that eventually booked you a job.  No mention of Trolls here either

Lee Morris's picture

Ya, we promoted his DVD on Fstoppers... 

 Knock 'em dead guys! Looking forward to it!!!

I work for a production company that charges $500 per training dvd.  And those are normally 20 minutes or less.  And the company makes pretty good money from the sales.  $300 is nothing if you will learn from it and make more than what you were making before (which for a lot of people is next to nothing compared to peter hurley) to peter hurley)

Kent Meister's picture

As a headshot photographer myself, I'm really interested in what Peter has to teach.  Dude is top-notch and just from the 10 minute video that you guys already shot with him, you can tell what kind of passion he has for what he does and his personality and enthusiasm are pretty contagious. 

And to everyone being really snarky about the price point of this DVD---remember that Fstoppers produce and curate A TON of FREE content (pretty valuable content in my opinion) so if you're on the fence about buying then maybe think about all of the knowledge you've gained from this site already, if you need to feel better about it. 

I heard SCOOBY laughing at 1:23. haha

Aperture Land's picture

If you chopped $50 or $100 off the price for ordering by June 1 or something, then I think people would be pumped.

$300 is a lot to most people for a DVD when CreativeLive's doing courses for $149, and $99 if you pre-order then. Also, Joe McNally and David Hobby's new DVD sets are just $159 each.

Ironically enough, I'll almost certainly be buying Peter's DVD because he is a true specialist and he really knows his $hit. I learned a ton from that 10-minute video you guys did with him so I can't imagine what I'll pick up over a few days worth of content.

Good gracious.  I can't believe how much hate occurred in this comment section.
I AM attending the first workshop and I couldn't be more excited about the volume of information I'm going to learn from both the workshop AND the DVD.

Fstoppers videos have great lighting, sound, camerawork, and editing.  And they are all educational and informative.  The team clearly knows how to make high quality videos.  Pair their production standards with an amazing headshot photographer, and you are going to have an amazing video that is easily worth $300.

Reminder:  Peter Hurley's sessions start at $1100 and he's working all the time.  Don't you want to hear some advice from him? Online Shopping for Clothing, Shoes at low prices

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thinking the people who are responding poorly aren't really your target market?  If your photography biz is not enabling you to afford $300 to go to the next level, maybe this is not a DVD that is directed at you?  I for one wouldn't hesitate to spend $300 if I believed it would make a difference or if I believed in myself more specifically.