When I first met Anna Rowley while filming Peter Hurley's Illuminating the Face tutorial, it was obviously clear that she had discovered the psychological power behind Peter's headshot directing skills. That day she shared with me her belief that there might be a direct correlation between how a person reacts in front of an intimating camera and how they perform in their workplace. Everything she told me was extremely interesting, so I was pleasantly surprised when Peter texted me this TEDx talk yesterday. I'm curious to hear what you guys think.
Anna Rowley's background is in consulting therapy where she helps large companies discover and unleash the leadership skills within their own employees. Her list of accolades is too long to list here but after talking with her for just a few minutes you can tell she is an extremely brilliant mind. After working with Peter during a headshot session for Godaddy, Anna realized there was much more going on with Peter's quirky shtick than just getting a good headshot reaction. What he was doing touched so much deeper into the human psyche, and if his "coaching" could be harnessed correctly, perhaps it could have a much more substantial impact on an individual than just a single 20 minute headshot session.
I'm going to leave all the details to the TEDx video above because Peter and Anna explain their "Psyphotology" better than I ever could. I will say from my own personal experience is that Peter can connect with people in a much deeper way than most of us can. I first noticed this while watching Peter work with his headshot clients as we filmed our Fstoppers Original: Peter Hurley Shows How to Photograph Headshots. Neither Lee or I could pinpoint exactly what made Peter's work so special (I'll admit, even after that video I still thought it was the white background and square doorframe lighting), but we knew what Peter was doing was leagues beyond what most headshot photographers were capturing from an emotional level.
It wasn't until years later when we all sat down and started filming Peter's first educational tutorial The Art Behind the Headshot that it really hit me why Peter's images are so unique. It wasn't the white background. It wasn't the square Kinoflo lighting. It wasn't the makeup or styling. What made the subjects in Peter Hurley's headshots look so damn good was the confidence he instilled in his subjects. He made his clients FEEL like the best version of themselves. In other words, Peter made everyone who stepped in front of his camera BELIEVE they were cool, confident, sexy, and self worthy. Of course Peter also has a bunch of tricks up his sleeve like the Squinch and Turtle-necking your jawline, but the real power is in this psychological coaching Peter is so well known for now.
I'm super excited to see Peter and Anna teaming up for something that I truly believe will be ground breaking in both the photography and psychology fields. Some of what they talk about in the short TED talk seems obvious to us who make a living taking photos of people, but by exploring these ideas on a larger scale, we might be able to create a life changing moment for the average person who thinks they always look awkward in group photos or hates the way they look and feel in general.
If this stuff interests you (and it should), Peter Hurley is teaching all of his psychological coaching this coming May at The Headshot Intensive during our 2015 Fstoppers Workshops in the Bahamas. If you want to learn how to unleash his techniques so your subjects look more confident in your own photos, I would highly recommend attending one of Peter's workshops. I can honestly say that Peter's coaching methods have changed the way I photograph people more than any other single bit of knowledge I have picked up over the years. I have to thank Peter for sharing this knowledge to us so openly and I can't wait to see where this new venture leads him.