The Art Behind The Headshot

With Peter Hurley

Peter Hurley, one of the most successful and well known headshot photographers of all time has teamed up with Fstoppers to produce a 4 hour tutorial exposing all of his tips and tricks that he has learned over the past 8 years as a professional photographer. This video touches on all aspects of running a successful photography business but Peter's main goal is to teach the average person about the subtleties of the human face so that you can make any human in front of your camera look interesting.

Download this 4 hour tutorial

Back in 2010, Fstoppers teamed up with a relatively unknown photographer  who was completely crushing the New York City headshot market. The resulting Fstoppers Original video was an instant hit among our readers (you can see it below). The problem with the video was that it barely scratched the surface of Peter's technique for getting his highly recognized headshots. At the time, Peter was already one of the most successful headshot photographers in the world, but he had never shared any of his secrets on how he captures people looking their best in front of his camera. With a little persuasion, we were able to get Peter to finally share all of the lighting tips and coaching techniques he had been holding so closely to his chest.

Peter Hurley's The Art Behind the Headshot was history in the making as it was the first time Fstoppers ever produced an extended, professional digital tutorial, and it also was the first time Peter taught any of his techniques to the general public. Years later, Peter's career has reached unimaginable heights as he is now not only one of the top photographers in New York but he is also one of the most in demand instructors teaching photography. The Art Behind the Headshot has become on of the most popular tutorials ever produced by Fstoppers, and it continues to help photographers learn how to take better photos of people. Since 2010, Peter has produced two more tutorials including his intensive lighting workshop Illuminating the Face and his revamped coaching tutorial Perfecting the Headshot. If The Art Behind the Headshot captures Peter's techniques early in his teaching career, Perfecting the Headshot chronicles Peter's evolution as both a headshot photographer and photography instructor. 

Who Is Peter Hurley?

Peter Hurley, one of the most successful and well known headshot photographers of all time has teamed up with Fstoppers to produce a 4 hour tutorial exposing all of his tips and tricks that he has learned over the past 8 years as a professional photographer. This video touches on all aspects of running a successful photography business but Peter's main goal is to teach the average person about the subtleties of the human face so that you can make any human in front of your camera look interesting.

Peter Hurley spent the early part of his life traveling the world as a professional male model. During that time Peter was photographed by some of the top fashion photographers in the world. As a model Peter was forced to understand the subtle movements of his own face but he was also able to learn the technical side of photography from some of the best in the world. Peter moved to New York city and saw a nitch in the market that he thought he could fill. "I thought that if I could shoot actors headshots like commercial photographers shot celebrities I could be successful." Over the past 8 years Peter has become what many argue is the top headshot photographer in the world.

Learn how to create dynamic lighting for men

In this 4 hour tutorial Peter reveals everything that he uses to produce not just technically sound but "interesting" images day in and day out. Although this video does touch on a number of topics, this tutorials main focus is on coaching those in front of your camera into producing the best possible images. We have also decided to bring this tutorial to you as a digital download so you can enjoy Peter's lessons in 720 HD resolution without having to have a Bluray player! This video is suggested for those who are already professional photographers who want to take their portraits to the next level.

  • How To Make Anyone Look Their Best
  • Starting Your Business From Scratch
  • Natural Light vs Studio Light
  • The Peter Hurley Signature Look
  • Shadowed Lighting For Men
  • Alternative Studio Lighting (Strobes)
  • Tethering
  • Camera Gear
  • Understanding The Human Face (Mouth, Eyes, Eyebrows, and Body Position)
  • Coaching and Facial Expression
  • Creating Different “Looks” During Each Session
  • Marketing
  • Retouching/Printing
  • Makeup/Hair
  • Clothing
  • Pricing

UPDATE: Want a free 20 minute peek of a small part of the tutorial? Check out the Free Video below:

"I really enjoyed, and learned a lot by watching Peter interact with his subjects, which is really an art unto itself. He is fantastic at making his subjects feel relaxed and comfortable, which lets him draw expression and emotions out of his subjects that make a big difference. This alone was worth it for me."

--Scott Kelby, Author, The Digital Photography Book Series

"If you are a headshot or portrait photographer, this is a must-have tutorial, and will enable you to immediately take better pictures." Read Entire Review Here

--Pye Jirsa, Author, SLR Lounge

"If you haven’t seen Peter’s DVD I highly suggest it mainly to watch how he interacts with his subjects. He’s a master at that!"

--Zack Arias, Photographer

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Below we would like for photographers who have seen this tutorial to write there thoughts/reviews of it. If you have not yet seen it but have something to say please comment here:

First I wanted to say that I'm not a full time photographer. I do this on the side and I'm always looking to improve how I shoot. My main problem that I always seem to struggle with is the fact of how to get the "Look" out of the person that I'm shooting. I take nice pictures but that was it, just nice. Not amazing and it's not because I didn't understand the technical side. Set up lights and once you have them set, you are good to shoot. The problem was direction. When I saw the first video that fstoppers put up with Peter, I knew that his work was amazing. When I heard that you guys were making an instructional video of Peter's business, I was so interested in it.
At first I was thinking about the $300 and saying like many of you out there that this was a lot of money. After a lot of thought, I said to myself that the team at Fstoppers have NEVER let me down. They always post videos and instructions that are so helpful so would they actual put something out there that was not worth it. If you are coming to the Fstoppers website on a regular basis, you know that this is true.

I downloaded the video on Friday afternoon and by saturday at 12 I already finished watching it. I was SO DISAPPOINTED!!!! SO DISAPPOINTED THAT IT ENDED. I wanted more. Peter has tips that I have never thought about. There are photographers that teach in this industry that stand out. Zach Arias, Scott Kelby, Jasmine Star and now there is Peter Hurley.

Here is the best statement that I can come up with. This DVD has Changed the way that I shoot forever. I will NEVER shoot the way that I did before. I will never pick up another magazine and not think about what I learned from this video.After this video was over, I sat and looked at myself in a mirror trying the things Peter suggested. There are things that I never noticed and it was looking at a different person.

Is $300 worth changing your photography for a life time??? For me, it's worth every penny.

As asked and promised, I have now watched the new Peter Hurley HEADSHOT
DVD twice and want to offer my opinion...publicly. Sorry Peter, you
asked for it!

The "DVD" is actually a two file download so once you order, you can
enjoy instant gratification of watching the four hours of content. It's
also nice that you can load it on your phone or iPad for viewing on the
run. I don't personally know Peter, or the people at FStoppers, but I
enjoy what they do and in no way is this review tainted by prior
relationships. Personally, I find unbiased reviews extremely
helpful....just check my account!

Having never
watched anything specific to taking headshots, or having attended any
conferences on it, I thought it would be worth the investment as it's
something new for me. I wasn't disappointed.

What's cool is
that in the video, Peter is very approachable and friendly. It's as if
you're sitting there one-on-one with him and he's talking directly to
you. He's funny, full of knowledge, and can shoot killer headshots.
What I like best is that content was shot first then it was clearly
reviewed by him and the team, and then they interjected clips into it to
describe what he was doing and why. It's actually pretty
funny....especially a part where he makes up this BS movie casting to
draw subjects attention away from what he was doing. Queen Latifa in a
lesbian movie role with nudity, requiring flexibility? I was almost
rolling on the floor laughing, watching the woman reaction. I'm still
not convinced she believes he was kidding around....

This is an
excellent "DVD." Peter explains a lot and does it without holding
back. I learned more than expected as I got to see what he does with
many clients. He doesn't just shoot one!

So what DON'T I like
about it? Without sounding like too much of an A$$ kisser, there really
wasn't anything. Yeah, there were places where the video clips weren't
seemlessly blended and a shot or two of flare from window light, but
Lee Morris and Patrick Hall did an absolutely amazing job. I am simply
nit-picking as I have to say something critical, right? But, it was so jam packed with info that I didn't notice these things until the second viewing.

All-in-all, I love this purchase. Thank you Peter, Lee, and Patrick. This is an excellent investment.


Being a photographer this "DVD" (well not a DVD but two files) is a great source of tips and trix. The format of following Peter during some shoots is great, it gives you a hands on view and perspective of how to put the trix into action.

Peter shares the process in a very "easy to get" style, you have a lot of fun wathing it and that is the best way to learn. Overall a great product and a great 4 hours packed with stuff you want to know.

Well I am making my comment after watching the trailer. Even the trailer has a lot of info that Peter Hurley shares. What he is specific about is, if you dont have equipment like him, his point is bring/do something to make your own light. But DO observe facial expressions.

Beautiful job Lee Moris and Patrick Hall.

Also what was fascinating to me was, Peter Hurley himself was a model before. So its like he knows A to Z of facial and body expressions.

I scribbled a lot of notes down, and as noted above being able to watch on the iPad was great. 

Lots of good info in here (typing this as I squint - watch the DVD to find out why)

There's one shoot that was harder work for Peter as the model and I loved this for the insight into the way Peter kept working to get useful shots for the model. It was refreshingly honest and real.  Kudos to Peter and his model for putting this into the package - a lot of learning in that alone.

I deliberated for a few days after seeing the trailer.  Ultimately I decided to buy because:
1) I visit this site almost daily and feel I have benefited from and enjoyed all the original content.
2) For whatever reason I realized I had gone back and watched the original Peter Hurley vid several times.
3) One of my mentors is always beating the importance of dialog in to my head (also an Avedon fan).

I'm somewhere around 3 years in to portrait photography; I've done a few workshops, read several books and done a whole ton of online training.  Nonetheless, much of this content was brand new to me.  Eyebrows, eyes and lips, for instance... how simple and useful can you get?  I already put together an expression book to keep in my photo bag (and I really want that Brad Pitt progression!).  And I'm seriously considering investing in a durable portable mirror because I do a lot of random location work.

This thing is obviously a labor of love all around. On Peter's side; you can tell he really was craving the opportunity to teach.  Patrick and Lee (and whoever else) did a great job with the pacing in the edit.  There are some very minor (and totally forgivable) technical shooting issues but they didn't distract me from the content.  The sound is good throughout and it is overall a very enjoyable and engrossing experience on a 55" screen w/good sound system.

Next time (in the next few days) I will watch it with a notepad and a finger on the pause button.  And then I'm sure I'll watch it again 6 months down the road.  So I'm looking at a pretty solid 10+ hours of instruction for $300.  Even though $300 feels like a lot to spend on video instruction I have to say I've already gotten more out of it than a couple of workshops that took more time and cost more.

Watching Peter using different sets of lighting and getting amazing shots is great. The dealing with clients tips, the makeup and wardrobe tips, the money tips... and I still have lots of things to decode. 

Maybe the most important is to figure it out what Peter actually see when he look into a picture. Of course, as he mention, there's the light, background, composition, poses, but most critical in my opinion is the ability to see which shot has gold in it. The shot that actually gets a response from us. 

I do video and work with actress and models. Sometimes it's hard, in commercials, to have all the acting preparation for somebody to give you a good performance. This video is giving me great tips to add to my toolbox and I can't wait to use them. As a matter of fact, I already got my SLR, went to shoot some friends and guess what? It works!

This is not the typical classroom video. This is like the having the experience of being there as an apprentice, watching Peter Hurley do it's magic.

This 4 hours of tips and tricks are great. There is ONE thing you can not buy, and that is time.
By buying this "DVD-s/files" i actualy bought 10 years of Peters experiance. Now all i have to do is practice myself to perfection and once you see the path and you know where and how to get great results??? Whel it is all up to YOU!
The best way to learn what is Peter doing is to be there when he is doing it, and me being from Croatia this DVD-s alowed me to be there. Many thanks to Patrick, Lee and all the people from Fstoppers who helped make this video avaliable to photographers out side of US.
This is the best 300$ spent sicne i started shoting.

Best Regards


I thought I would add my full review of Peter's DVD!
But if you don't want to read it, just go ahead and buy it, the DVD is amazing!


I have no ambitions on being a headshot photographer. I shot actor headshots here in LA from '98 to 2001 and then moved on to shooting other things. It was a great experience and I learned a lot about the interaction between the photographer and the subject. I agree with Peter wholeheartedly that it's the connection between the photog & subject that is where the magic really happens...and he demonstrates this over and over again in this training video. 

His lighting is very simple and easily duplicated. His rapport techniques are easily the most important part of this video. How he interacts with his subjects, the rapport that he builds between then and how he twists & turns their bodies to find their best angles are all valuable assets to this video. 

BRAVO to Peter for sharing his years of experience and knowledge and DOUBLE BRAVO to the F-Stoppers crew for doing a wonderful job with the shooting & editing. Very very nice and I highly recommend it for anyone who shoots people. Even with over 20 years of experience shooting people, I picked up a few nice tips that I'll add to my toolbox : )

BTW, I have owned: domain name since '98 when I first moved to Los Angeles. I don't shoot actor headshots anymore but I've kept this domain name. If anyone is interested in buying this domain, hit me up. I've had several very nice offers over the years but the offers were never what I thought that they should/could be. This is a *prime* domain name and deserves a prime offer : )

Cool. It was like a crash course on photographing people. Many of these techniques can be used on any portrait shoot. Not just headshots.
I shot a medical staff after watching the video and found myself coaching people on how to hold their head, mouth and eyes with more confidence. Some of the things I knew all along were put into simple terms. Communication with subjects is much better.
The smallest movements in the eyes or mouth that can make the biggest difference in a photo. 
This takes it to a new level. Better than a new piece of gear!

What if you could pose people so they aren't looking at your camera but looking through the camera, right at you? Not only right at you, but right at every other person who ever looks at the photo? Peter Hurley has this ability. The Art Behind the Headshot will change your photography. You won't walk away frustrated that you have so much to learn or frustrated that you didn't learn anything new. You'll walk away wanting to shoot the first person you see. 

Check out my full review on

Pulled the trigger on this and very happy with it, cheers Peter and Fstoppers :)

As someone who has been an actor in New York for 8 years and spent the past year and a half starting my own photography business, I've been familiar with Peter's work for a long time.  When I saw this DVD for pre-order, I didn't think twice.  Gotta say, I'm not in the least bit disappointed!  

Like a lot of people are saying on here, this video has changed the way I think about photography, specifically photographing people.  I've always tried to coach my actors when I do headshots, or a bride for her wedding portraits, but I've always been mostly concerned with the technical side of what I'm shooting.  Technique is important, for sure, but Peter does a great job of reminding us that it all means nothing if there is no feeling.  

Also, kudos to Lee and Patrick on making this a digital download.  I've watched most of this on my iPhone just about every time I'm on the subway.  Perfect if you are busy.  

I also really, really appreciated the business info that Peter has to impart on here.  A lot of these things were the exact things I've been struggling with.  I've been one of those guys handing out all of my hi-res files to clients and leaving it up to them to print---mostly because I had so many people demand it and got tired of resisting!  Peter's thoughts on workflow and how it directly relates to quality control in this area was great, something I'm definitely going to implement.  

I'm realizing this is a long post so I'll wrap it up!  Just wanted to say great job, Fstoppers!  

Downloading now..  I am pretty picky with this stuff.. so I will be sure to add my review as well  :-)

Peter Hurley is a master people photographer. A live workshop with him is $1,500 and worth every penny. This video has enough material for two or three workshops and is only 1/5 the price.

I'm not a traditional headshot photographer, but I shoot plenty of portraits. After watching Peter's video, I'm looking at faces differently and also taking a more active role in posing my subjects.

If you photograph people, this video is one of the best investments you can make for your career.

Huge congrats to Lee and Patrick for doing this. I know how much time and effort they put into my fstoppers 11-minute Bon Jovi video. For Peter's four-hour video, I was expecting two minutes of rolling credits at the end. But it was just Lee, Patrick and the music credit. Amazing.

David Bergman

Definitely going to get this.. one of my biggest struggles has always been getting the exact look from a model or client that I had envisioned.. hopefully this will help me on that path!

Got it, watched it and guys, this tutorial really well done. Peter rocks, his technique rocks and that was a well spent four hours and $300 bucks. I am ready to sit down and do it again to see what I might have missed the first time. Fortunately, Peter is entertaining to watch. I am even more excited for my next headshot client to see what I can pull out of them. 

Thanks again, for a great tutorial. It was well worth the money.

I just love watching peter talk, he can make everything sound interesting! That's just his charme i guess.

Love the DVD, and love his facebook page for all the people who bought it!

I just wanted to say that I bought your Headshot Intensive DVD. HA! I
learned so much from that damn thing it's kinda crazy! Just wanted to
say that I've always liked your head shots but never really knew why...
NOW I KNOW! Thank you for sharing your knowledge, Peter!

Thanks for producing the DVD - "The Art Behind the Headshot by Peter Hurley."   I watched the DVD and the next day had one of my best portrait sessions ever. Peter included so many great tips! I will have to watch several times to absorb it all.

thanks so much for providing the best class on photography I've ever
seen! After immediately watching the DVD, I couldn't wait to put it to practice
and so I pulled my 81-year-old grandad aside for his headshot.

I'm just over half way through "the art behind the headshot" and I'm blown away it's fantastic, cheers!

Just finished the DVD.  It's really great.  I will definitely refer to it again as I move forward and practice what I've learned. 

Peter is fantastic.  Really shared valuable lessons from years of experience.  I appreciate that he chose to add value to this video by being extremely open and direct.  That's what you are paying for with this video, unfiltered Peter Hurley. . If you want to learn much of what makes Peter successful and have a chance of applying that to your work, this is the video for you.  Like the scene in the Matrix where he learns Kung Fu in three seconds.  This is sort of like that... with models.  

I just finished another DVD series that was very technical, so this was a perfect compliment.  On it's own, it won't help you very much with strobes and shutter speeds.  It says so very clearly in the trailer. Believe it.  Once you know that, it's still well worth the money.  Peter teaches you how to look at faces in a new way and work with models to get great results.  

The production values are good.  If I had to nitpick I would say that there are several redundant parts of the video.  It doesn't necessarily have a 'beginning-middle-end' flow.  It's more of a 'fly on the wall' experience of shooting with Peter.  Still, good job on the production.  You guys do good work. 

It's by far the most I've ever paid for something like this, but it's worth it.  It's like a four hour hi-def apprenticeship with a master.   

Thanks Peter.  Thanks FS.  

Great job all around.  

Fantastic DVD with priceless information for only $300! Production quality is top notch and the knowledge contained inside is found no other place. Highly Recommend for any serious photog.

This was the best photography resource that I have found in 5 years of looking for ways to improve my photographic eye. Working in the entertainment industry, and specifically in theatre for the past 8 years, I have taken to photography as a side distraction from the art-factory aspect of my career in theatrical lighting.  I come from a background in lighting, mostly for the stage, and have a large knowledge base of light and how light effects an image.  Peter goes beyond the instruction that most books and instructional videos seem to dwell on, and concentrates on what to do once you have an understanding of the fundamentals of photography, and how to work with the subjects of your photo to get the best out of them.  Through this DVD, he has opened up my eyes about how to relate to and coax a better image out of actors and people in general, and I look forward to seeing what I can do with this new skill set.  This is the perfect tool for anyone that wants to be able to improve the quality of their headshot and portrait work, and take it to the level of what is expected in New York or Los Angeles.  Truly a great DVD, and well worth the investment.  

I recently purchased and watched the DVD. Probably the best investment I've made in a long while. When watching the DVD, I felt like I was right there in his studio with him and he was doing his thing and also sharing his experiences. The way he talks to his clients, making them comfortable in front of the camera, how he manages to get the best out of them in just a couple of hours, his posing techniques, how he manages the business...all were extremely inspiring. I couldn't wait to get back to the studio and start shooting.
The next day, in the studio, I first rearranged my lighting and tried out all the tips I learned from the DVD. I am already very happy with the results. And the bonus came when I checked my e-mail. Peter adds each purchaser to a closed discussion group in facebook where we can share our work and receive critique from Peter and other group members.
I look forward to getting more surprises

Imagine having the ability to pose your clients in such a way that they
look straight through your lens and connect with every person looking at the
image; Pete Hurley does this with his headshots! Whether you are a headshot or
lifestyle photographer, amateur or pro, this DVD will change the way you
approach your subjects. Pete's style of teaching will mean you walk away from
this DVD with amazing new techniques and the confidence to put them in to
practice. Buy it; you won't be disappointed!

Buying this DVD was a great investment. I had a lot of 'A-haa' moments, laughed a lot and most of all I feel inspired. One thing I really like about Peter's approach is that he believes everyone is unique and special. That's what I believe! There's a beauty in everyone. Now that I've watched this DVD I can make my clients believe that even more by applying those techniques I've learnt from the DVD. I can pull that beauty out of my client even more now. :) Thanks Peter and FStoppers for a great DVD!

This guy shares knowledge not just information. It is worth it !

This guy shares knowledge not just information. It is worth it !     

What Peter Hurley does well is take excellent Headshots. We all know this.

I can tell you I was a bit hesitant about spending money on another photography DVD, but am happy to report that The Art Behind the Headshot is well worth every penny you spend, and highly entertaining to boot. This DVD is jam packed with information ranging from equipment, to being a therapist on set, to the business side of photography. Watching this DVD, it was nice to learn how much information I already knew, but what was more impressive was seeing how much I didn't know. There are so many tips and tricks in here, just one alone is worth the price of admission. 

Peter Hurley teaches you something no one ever has before…the human face, and how to get the best look from your subjects. Imagine being able to convey a powerful expression through a photograph. You'll learn that here! Pulling a great expression from your subject should not be as painful as pulling teeth. We're photographers people, not dentists!

As an aspiring headshot photographer, I found the information on this DVD to be absolutely invaluable. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to become a headshot photographer, or just up their game to the next level.

The Art Behind the Headshot - Peter HurleyAll I can say is, wow. This DVD is not only informative, but inspiring as well. What I learned in this DVD changed the quality of my images overnight and made me a confident headshot photographer who now feels comfortable charging higher rates.My photography literally went from decent to awesome (if I don't say so myself haha). I always knew that it was important to direct the client's expression, but what I didn't know was exactly how to do it. What's cool about this DVD is that for about the price I charge for one headshot session, I was able to learn the skills Peter Hurley has been developing over the course of 10 years. I've been shooting headshots for only a year and a half, but my work has increased substantially in quality very quickly because I've been desperate to learn the top tips and techniques that most headshot photographers try to hide as best as they can. When I saw this DVD for sale, I knew I had to get it.I was inspired a long time ago when I initially saw the first F-Stoppers video done on Peter Hurley. It was called “Peter Hurley Exposes the Perfect Headshot.” After seeing it, I learned how important it was to direct the client's expression to bring out powerful and confident looks. I realized that casting directors don't care how beautiful the lighting is or how blurry the background is. What they care about is whether an actor looks like they can act.It's funny, because while I was still a student at NYU, one of my professors brought in a pile of headshots and showed them to our class. She was trying to teach us what to look for in headshots before bringing in actors to audition. She showed us a series of shots one by one and asked if we thought the person would be a good actor. As she showed us more and more images, I began to realize that the people who look like they could act were actually the ones who showed the most confidence in their face. They didn't look like they were trying too hard, but they also didn't look like they were scared of the camera. They looked extremely confident, and they had this "look" like they were already famous."The Art Behind the Headshot" is a DVD that explains exactly how a photographer can bring these expressions out in their clients, in turn getting them as many auditions and bookings as possible. I've only had the DVD for about a week and a half, but literally overnight the quality of my photography changed. First, using some of the lighting techniques Hurley shows in the video, I learned how to make use of my already-owned lights to make the quality of my images look much better. Then, based off the secrets of how to direct the clients, I suddenly felt much more confident as a photographer. I could get them awesome images now 95% of the time, as opposed to only 10% of the time.The clients who walk into my studio no longer think of me as a young 22-year-old who is just starting a photography business. They now look at me as someone professional and skilled, who can really get them excellent headshots. I've already raised my rates and am getting more calls, and agents are referring actors to me. All within a week and a half of watching this video.I'm excited to watch the video again and again, because each time that I look at it I notice new tips and insights and exactly how to bring out the best looks. I honestly can't believe that Peter Hurley is giving this information away for only $300. The value of this DVD could easily be priced at over $2000 in my opinion. Even at that, I still think that it would be worth it.Remember, $300 is only a quarter of the price that Peter Hurley charges for a headshot session. Don't even think about it. If you're a headshot photographer and you want to be able to charge a lot more for your photos, buy this DVD right now.Martin Bentsen

I will be honest, I didn't know Peter Hurley before purchasing his DVD, or the fstoppers crew before a few months ago. I got a link from and watched the amazing video they made about Peter's new DVD. My reaction was instant, the video finished, and I purchased the DVD thinking to myself, this is gold my friend, I need to get this DVD before anyone does, I need to be ahead of the game with my photography and I got a really good vibe from just watching the presentation video. I just learned a few tricks with the promotional DVD! Common! this is a win win situation! Congratulations to the fstoppers guys that put together the promotional video and all the best to Peter Hurley. During 4 hours, he hides nothing, he welcomes you into his studio, he let you see how he works, the amount of information he conveys in 4 hours is so large that you have to watch the DVD over and over to get it! He is 100% legit,  this DVD opened my mind and made me feel more comfortable behind the camera.  Peter Hurley is approachable, a great speaker, goes to the point, enjoys what he does, and makes you build confidence towards obtaining a great headshot. I was so stock after learning from him that I decided to start making more headshots and less family and children photographs. Thanks!

Peter's DVD does what no book, blog post, or short video can do -- it immerses you in the art of headshot photography. Those other learning tools provide concepts, diagrams, images, tips, and advice -- all good stuff -- but after I watched the DVD I realized how much I had been missing. Having the DVD is like getting a chance to apprentice with a master to learn not just the big things, but the myriad of subtle things that are just as important, perhaps more important. Peter will be the first to tell you it's not about the lights, or the camera, or how big your studio is. It's about you and how you interact with your subject. Nothing else I have seen or read made that so clear or demonstrated it so well. Is this a good investment of your time and money? Absolutely!

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“Peter Hurley:The Art Behind the
Headshot”   ...The Review Intensive:

The old saying “Those who
and those who can't...teach.” was probably first asserted through
sarcastic tones of cavalier-ism by someone threatened by the
willingness of another to explain the tricks of the trade to those
desiring to learn. One thing however, is for sure; whomever it was
that coined that wasn't Peter Hurley.

From the opening minute to the final
minute of this four hour DVD, (and trust me; we'll get to that
initialism shortly) Peter Hurley dispels that myth by explaining
and/or teaching every aspect of his business and the steps he took to
become one of the leading headshot photographers in the industry.

“The Art Behind the Headshot”
created and produced by's Lee Morris and Patrick Hall,

is an excellent, in-depth and
inspirational video tutorial, designed specifically to help you
create and capture the most compelling and visually interesting,
people-imagery possible. In other words...if you have any interest in
photographing people (for any reason) then this video is for you!

By the way, before I go any further;
allow me to set the record straight for those who insist on
complaining about the fact that this video is not (yet) on a physical
disc despite the other fact that Peter, Lee and Patrick have each
explained in detail why this is the case.

The project was originally intended to
be a physical DVD (Digital Video Disc) with cool graphics on a box
and everything but in an effort to eliminate the extra cost and time
to produce, inventory, handle and ship such a product, it was agreed
that a downloadable version would be best. Additionally, Peter, Lee
and Patrick have also explained (several times) that there may be
future updates with additional information and footage that can be
added to the download and offered for free to those who already
purchased the original. Plus, they have still not completely ruled
out the possibility of producing a physical disc sometime down the

So, why don't we all refer to this as a
Digital Video Download!! or video for short?

The quality of the video is very high
and the style is almost editorial/documentary at times but the beauty
of their concept is that Peter will stop and speak directly into the
camera whenever he feels there is something of educational value
regardless of how small or even unexpected the point may seem. Doing
this allows him to work as he would on any given day without having
to script or stage a "realistic" scenario thus offering the
viewer better insight into an actual photographer/client experience
or situation. An interesting and much appreciated aspect to this was
the inclusion of a session with a less than natural client. A less
secure photographer would not have included this on his/her video but
I found this particular session to be one of the most educational of

In total, there are 7 actual client
sessions each offering various opportunities for Peter to demonstrate
techniques, tips and work-arounds. In between the actual sessions are
insightful and often humorous monologues of Peter describing the
previous session or preparing you for what to specifically pay
attention to in the upcoming session.

Peter shows you his methods by simply
allowing you to listen-in on his actual conversations with the
clients while watching the evolution of actual photo sessions. This
is where the value of the video becomes impressive. As a professional
photographer and perhaps more importantly, as a value-minded
consumer living through a difficult economy; I am very selective
about where I spend my money. There are many tutorials and workshops
that I have not purchased simply because I can not (at the moment
anyway) justify the price to immediate value ratio for my work/career
but "The Art Behind the Headshot" is education that I can't
afford to NOT purchase. Workshops range from $99.00 to possibly a few
thousand dollars and almost all of them walk you through rehearsed
and staged situations designed to re-create a photo session and
that's great but consider this... watching a professional
photographer working with a paying client and actually applying the
techniques they speak of in real time brings a whole new level of
understanding and value to your purchase price!

Peter not only shows you how he works;
he also explains (quite sincerely I may add) what he did in order to
get to that point. He describes how he started with ideas early on in
his career and what he learned from those mistakes or successes that
helped him hone his skills of today. Throughout the video Peter
discusses the details of how he runs his business, client
interaction, makeup, clothing, self promotion, lighting, retouching
and more. Most importantly, he explains why he makes those decisions
and how you can use them to begin or improve your own business. Make
no mistake, this video is geared towards being a better professional
headshot photographer but...the video has as much value for those of
you just starting to work with paying clients as it does for those of
you who are ready to produce your own instructional DVD. The key as
you will see throughout the tutorial is YOU! Not the lens, not the
light, not the model...YOU and your ability to create the dynamics
that produce intriguing imagery. Jay Maisal once answered the
question "How do I take more interesting photographs?" with
his answer..."become a more interesting person".

I found Peter's discussions of the
above mentioned topics to be very insightful and genuine and I place
great value on those facts. I also have a tremendous respect for him
being a working pro and still being secure and generous enough to
share his personal tricks. Peter's style of shooting is very laid
back and he seems to be having a great time while working. So much so
in fact, that you may not realize just how much information he's
actually giving you until you watch it a second, third or even a
fourth time...and trust me; you will. This video will be one of your
favorite references as well as one of your favorite motivators.

I would give the video top marks in all
categories with very few criticisms. I thoroughly enjoyed the music
of the original Fstopper's 10 min bio on Peter Hurley and was hoping
there would be a little more of that flavor in the background of
"The Art Behind the Headshot" not continuously of course
but at least a little music during the client sessions. I thought
the clients would bring in there own tunes to help them relax...and
maybe they did but perhaps for production sake, it was turned off.

Also, I think it would have been
interesting to see some of the first minutes of the client's arrival.
The meet and greet so to speak, hearing some of the initial
discussion of what the client expects and/or wants along with Peter
explaining his wants/needs from them. Hard to find anything negative
to say...other than, it seemed a little too short! I could have
easily enjoyed another 2 hours!

So, if you're tired of all the angst of
professional photographers claiming to bleed passion for their art
and you're interested in seeing how someone actually makes all that
work look easy (not to mention fun) then here's your chance. "The
Art Behind the Headshot" will inspire you and show you the
skills of understanding and directing clients to not only find but
bring out their best expressions and in the process, make you a
better people photographer. No model or peace of equipment will ever
improve your skills. Get educated. Get out and practice. Get this

"Peter Hurley: The Art Behind the
Headshot" ....looks like it really is possible to do...AND

One final note here:

For those of you concerned about the
price; consider this:

When purchasing the video through
PayPal you can choose the "Bill Me Later" option and "Enjoy
6 months to pay on purchases of $99+ ".


you just won the award of longest review ever!  Glad you enjoyed it

I have watched Peter's video twice through now and have this to say:

Buy.  It.  Now. 


-For $300, Peter is almost giving it away.  I feel he could charge far more for and it would still be a steal. 
-I went pro about 2 years ago and have been working as a headshot, portrait and event photographer in NYC ever since.  I wish this video existed when I started as it would have saved me tons of time, effort and trial and error. 
-This video is NOT just for headshots.  If you shoot human beings in any capacity, this is a must see.
-The format of the video rocks.  It's not just a boring 'how to' video.  You actually get to watch Peter working during actual sessions.  He also offers interspersed commentary throughout the video. 
-I don't know of any other product that you could watch and literally go out the next day and start building your own photo business no matter where you are in the world.  Peter teaches you how to be resourceful and work with what you have. 
-Lastly, Peter walks the walk.  He cares about his clients and fellow photographers and constantly checks in with those of us that bought the video for feedback.  He's one of the most consistent and interactive professionals I know who has helped to improve the quality of my work vastly. 

Michael Cinquino

I guess I'll be in the minority here and make that dreaded flop flop flop of a somewhat flat tire.

I have watched the DVD twice, and it feels to me that the main message here; The method isn't so much a technique or style really.. It's just Peter, being Peter.

So unless your able to create and extrovert from an introvert from within, that is to say 'your style' isn't that of an outgoing chatty guy, this isn't really going to work for you.

Personally, in all my years of shooting, meeting shooters, and working with others. It's a rare breed that can completely change the actual CORE style in which they appraoch people or their work. In a perfect world, wouldn't it be great to have some snazzy clientele, in a NY NY studio, getting a pretty good buck for doing what we all love to do...  Shoot.

I know that may change my style a tad !

But reality is that Mr or Mrs. shooter sitting in Rockton Ill. might not be able to actually put into place this high impact energy Peter places into making head shots of John Q Public.

On the other side of the coin, I could relate to him and his methods quite easily. Speaking for myself personally. And in some small way have always used this chatty, no rush, yakky approach to shooting heads and people. But he does have style and a great personality. I found it entertaining and nice to see someone is actually making a living ( and a dam good one ) doing his craft. We should all be as lucky.

For people with little personal skills and have been looking for that 'extra piece' of something missing in their work. This just could be that missing slice or pie.

Either way, it was nice work, And as far as a value goes, I would rate it a 5 or 6 out of 10.

I think at the end of the day, if you are trying to up your photography to the next level, you really have to become an extrovert and push your communication skills to the next level.  I can't imagine anyone who can't communicate well with other could ever get to the next level they aspire.  

What a attitude! WOW! Force your self to smile and soon you find something to lough about. Pretend you are a extroverted photographer and you will become one. It is your choise. If nothing helps to wake you up cick you in your a... and run 10 miles at 6:00AM. You can change everything in your life if you cick you self in your ... hard enough. If this video doesn't turn on anything in you, sorry but then maybe nothing can help. I watched this video 100 times in the car on the way to the studio just because it extroverts and it activates a few megawatts emotional energy that I can use to wake up my clients too. It changes my mood completely. Like going to a concert at the end of a hard day and come out as a other person. That is what musicans and artist are producing. They change the mood of the people and if they are good they do this tremendiously. And you as photographer are a artist who extroverts people in front of you and than photograph them. That is part of your art and craft otherwise you are a week (poeple) photographer. A 3.000€ canon L lens doesn't help you in this regard. But then crying about the digital cameras that kills professional photographers business hahahaha

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Best money I've spent. I did not buy this for the lighting info. A pro can reverse engineer that. I did not buy this for the the F/stops and shutter speeds. Really who cares? It's like asking a cook how much spice they use. I bought this for the human interaction between photographer and client. Much of the info on the DVD pertains to things you are subconsciously aware of, yet had not REALLY thought about. For me, there were many "light bulb" moments. Ah ha! Yes. I get it! The micro adjustments of the pose, turtling, the eye squint, etc. This is stuff you can use every time you shoot somebody. Very good value. Buy it.

I don't really what's interesting in that video, pictures are just average.

I've seen much better work from a lot of other photographer.
It's amazing to see that good promotion can do...

Fstoppers...Peter Hurley. Thank you! This DVD was soooo energizing. After reading all of the comments here, I decided to buy it. I didn't want it to take me weeks to decide because I knew I would always make an excuse about the money or prioritize something else.

First of all, Peter has a great personality which keeps 4 hours of information from getting stale. The way the DVD was laid out made great sense too. Having multiple examples with different levels of people or people with different strengths and weaknesses really reinforced all of the lessons. It left me energized. I'm glad the lighting was discussed BUT it's the strength of this is the directing. Peter teaches you how to direct the model and how to get the best results with anyone. 

I feel as though that I'm a pretty solid beauty photographer but headshots and portraits take a lot more work. Even with beauty it helps to be able to know how a model's face will photograph at different angles and how to talk to them. The one thing that resonated here is that clients expect YOU, the photographer, to get the best shot out of them and Peter shows you how to do that. I'm a little sad the DVD is over but so glad that I bought it. Can't wait to join the FB group.

A friend of mine bought it and I had the chance to see it.

I waited four hours of my time watching it.
In my opinion it's not worth $300, you can find a lot of BTS video on youtube for free.

I'm glad so many people got a lot out of this DVD but, as a seasoned photographer, i'm sorry to say, i didn't really learn much at all except that Peter loves being Peter.  Everything he says is pretty obvious if you know anything about people and/or photographing people.  If you've been photographing people for a year or so, i'd think twice before spending 300 bucks on this. I'm sure this post will be deleted but I think it only fair to post a non jumping up and down response.

I would have really liked to see him work with people who weren't completely gorgeous or incredibly photogenic to begin with and see THOSE results.  Photographing beautiful people beautifully is not that impressive. Photographing people who are not 'naturals' and/or are not perfect looking is far more interesting and challenging. 
I appreciated his energy and enthusiasm but also found his thoughts/views/interactions with/on women ('they go from cute to bitch and then a few things in between' or something similar) rather (insultingly) limited and even a wee bit patronizing.  But then again, he seems to think all women are either 'sweet and innocent', 'bitches' and/or 'hotties' and nothing in between so what's there to say. I'm sure that will solicit some sort of derogatory snide remark on his part but come on... you don't see him treating men that way.His 'i shoot the best headshots in the world' was also quite ridiculous.  It's obvious he cracks himself up but he's also alienating anyone watching this. I may be one of the few viewers who was not charmed by his sarcasm and cockyness but it seems that all his headshots look the same. He says 'it's not about the photographer' but ALL HIS HEADSHOTS LOOK THE SAME.  Squinty eyes, white background, similar body language... Again, just my opinion.I think this DVD would be great for people who aspire to be photographers and have little to no experience behind a camera and/or interacting with people but for anyone with any experience behind the lens this was not worth anything near the $300 he prides himself on charging.  

Not impressed, I don't think it's worth the price...

Currently if you are a NAPP member you can get $50 off. However, before seriously plunking down your money (I unfortunately paid the full $300), it looked like he was doing a Kelby Training series. Seriously, get it for under $200 plus all the other photogs on there. Another thing, if you search for his turtling short (I think it was on Kelby's blog) it is a much more thorough explanation than with these DVDS. I'm still trying to determine if he had no hard models to shoot or if he was being sarcastic when he was saying that throughout the photo shoots. So yeah, overall I'm a bit disappointed I spent that much on this. 

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