Trying to Capture the Peter Hurley Headshot Look

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uring this photography lesson we have some fun trying to capture the Peter Hurley clean white background look.  The white background headshot look was made famous by Peter Hurley and is a great shot to have in your took kit.

The SETUP:
Peter Hurley lighting setup recreating












  • White background – make sure you have a lot of light on the white background to make it “white out”
  • Constant lighting – Peter uses constant lighting as opposed to strobes.  I used 4 constant lights to create a square window similar to what Peter does.  The camera can then shoot through the open square to capture the headshot.  I found this to be a great way to be able to set up the shot from a technical perspective, and then with the constant lighting, I could just focus my efforts on directing the subject and helping them relax and have fun. 
  • Camera – I used my Sony a99, with an 85mm prime lens.  
  • Settings 
    • Aperture f 4
    • Shutter Speed 1/250th of a second (I knew my daughter would be moving around quite a bit)
    • ISO 400

Headshots
Headshot white background















  • Once I got the setup locked in, I just tried to have fun with my daughter to get her to relax and have natural expressions.  This is what Peter Hurley does best.
  • With my daughter, I just told jokes and tried to distract her from the camera to let her have fun.

PETER HURLEY CRITIQUES MY SHOTS
screen-shot-2016-11-13-at-12-23-43-pm








  • After I took the headshots, I had the opportunity to interview Peter Hurley.  During that interview I asked Peter to critique my shots.
  • Peter’s primary suggestion was for me to provide direction from directly behind the camera as opposed to being off to the side.  This was due to the fact that Hailey (my daughter) was looking off camera for all of my shots.

NOTE: I am not a professional headshot photographer, so this shows that you can have fun with this style and make it a DIY type project.

WATCH THIS VIDEO NEXT
FULL INTERVIEW with PETER HURLEY

Video Interview with Peter Hurley


  1. Good stuff! I hadn’t noticed the eyes not completely direct and would have come away with the same photos. The lighting was super helpful to know as well.

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