I have featured Peter Hurley’s videos and tips before and I am sure I will do it again in the future. He is a superb portrait photographer and a confident orator which makes listening to his advice nice and straightforward. Peter is also — as an aside — a master of marketing himself and his work which is something I am consistently in awe of.
This video tutorial shows a few photoshoots on location and Peter talks through the lighting set up, the camera settings and how manipulating the holy trinity (ISO, aperture and shutter speed) can affect the resulting images. It’s a nice tutorial, albeit the advice is probably of most use to newer photographers. Unfortunately for those newer photographers, a lot of the equipment used in the shoot is high-end and therefore expensive. Fear not, however, as most of the lighting arrangements in these shoots could be somewhat replicated with speed lights, umbrellas or softboxes and reflectors.
My primary motivation for sharing and writing about this video is not the technical tips offered. It is Peter’s direction of the shoots. If there is anything new and veteran photographers alike can take away from watching behind-the-scenes footage of Peter, it is how he orchestrates his shoots. He immediately builds rapport with the model and puts them at ease which has almost endless benefits. He encourages the model’s creativity with poses and ideas and creates and back and forth with them by showing them the successful images. It is very difficult to strike the fine balance between over-directing and stifling the model and under-directing to the point where the shoot’s merits are largely at the mercy of the model’s talent. Peter seems to walk the line between the two almost flawlessly.
It may not be the shortest of videos in an age of instant gratification, but there is a lot to be taken away from observing a highly successful and proficient portrait photographer behind the scenes and well worth your time.