10 Random Questions for Peter Hurley

January 18, 2017

By Interview by Libby Peterson

1. What’s been your weirdest meal ever?
At PhotoPlus Expo we went to a Japanese restaurant and ate live sea urchin. I liked it! It’s such a strange texture, there’s really nothing to compare it to.

2. What music/background noise do you like to listen to during work?
When I’m doing a shoot I’ll ask the person what Pandora station they like and I’ll put that on low, but in general I’m not very musically inclined.

3. Where did “SHABANG” come from?
A while back I got really excited about a photo at a shoot that I was videoing. When I saw it, I was like, “Sha…shaboom!” and then I thought, No, that’s weird, shaboom? So then I went, “Shabang!” That felt better.

4. What’s your morning routine?
Well, I get woken up by my children because they have to go to school. Then I see if something happened social media-wise overnight. And then I really just start working. I’m more productive in the mornings because it’s quiet and my shoots usually start at 10 a.m.

5. What’s been your favorite and least favorite thing about 2016?
I’ve been growing my group Headshot Crew and traveling with them around to different events this past year, including a cruise from New York to Bermuda in April. It’s this core group of people that I get to travel with, and it’s been really fun, it’s like this little community. But then it ends and everyone goes back to their normal lives, and it’s like, “Oh…”

6. What does 2017 hold for you?
I think anyone with a career needs an outlet, and for me that’s sailing. They’re holding the World Masters Games in Auckland, New Zealand, in April. My goal is to get on the podium, to win a gold medal. While I’m down there I’ll be teaching workshops in Melbourne and Sydney. That’s what I love about my job: I can do both of these things that I love.

7. What’s your go-to Halloween costume?
I’ve been the knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail for five years. But now I should come up with something different. [This past October, he was a hippie.]

8. Who has been the most influential photographer to you?
Bruce Weber, by far. When I was younger I was training for the Olympics in sailing. Polo wanted real sailors for a campaign they were doing, that Bruce was shooting, and I went over and got the job. I didn’t know anything about photography at the time, or who Bruce was, but from there I got into modeling and one day Bruce was like, “Why don’t you pick up a camera?” He was one of the people that really encouraged me. I value that immensely, but I also just love his work.

9. What do you wish people understood better about shooting good headshots?
That they have to make a connection with the subject. A lot of people don’t take responsibility for the expression. They focus on the technicalities of the image and then just take it and think it’s good, but it’s not good. You really have to dig into someone’s personality and bring that out—that’s our job as photographers.

10. How much to shave your head?
If I sell ten Westcott Flex kits in two weeks, I’ll shave my head. No, no, ten kits in ten days. Oh my God, I really don’t want to do that. I love my hair now. No, I’d do it. I’d do it live.

Peter Hurley is a master headshot photographer, founder of the coaching and referral platform Headshot Crew and the brain behind HURLEYPRO gear.

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CreativeLive Video Tutorial: How to Take the Perfect Headshot, by Peter Hurley

Related: 10 Tips from Headshot Master Peter Hurley on Shooting Female Faces