NYC Headshot Photographer
If you speak to Peter Hurley, you’d know that he feels like a guy just lucky enough to have picked up a camera. His pivotal moment came in 1995 when he met the designer, Caggie Simonelli Bradford, who took him under her wing to help with sponsorship opportunities while training for the 1996 Olympic Games. During that time she discovered that Ralph Lauren was interested in using real sailors in their Polo Sport summer ad campaign and orchestrated having Peter sail his Laser in front of Bruce Weber’s lens forever changing the trajectory of Peter’s life. The Styles section of the NY Times on December 3, 1995, documented the story.
After his Olympic dream ended, Peter moved to New York to try his hand at what became a short-lived modeling/acting career. Around that time, following Bruce’s encouragement, he picked up a camera. He started out by convincing his model friends to let him photograph them, then landed his first commercial job shooting sneakers for Reebok, and grew into shooting actors in need of headshots. Peter even had a little stint shooting for Levi’s on Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice.” However, it was Peter’s signature style of chopping off the top of people’s heads on a clean white background in landscape format that became all the rage and he was recognized numerous times over the years by Backstage magazine as the best headshot photographer in New York.
Peter was in his own little world shooting out of his New York studio for years when the Fstoppers walked in his door. Their interview sparked something that flipped his world upside down. He began doling out tips for how to look more photogenic in front of a camera. His YouTube videos titled “It’s All About the Jaw” and “It’s All About the Squinch” went viral leading to appearances on Good Morning America and Good Day NY. The New York Times has featured Peter’s techniques in their articles on “6 Tips for Better Portraits” and “How to Pose for a Photograph.” Popular Photography dubbed Peter “The Headshot King” in their. Speaking offers rolled in, and since his first talk for Google at the Google+ Photographer’s Conference in San Francisco, he has now spoken for Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, GoDaddy, Allergan, and Canon to name a few. Through his work at Microsoft, he met Dr. Anna Rowley, a psychologist, and began delving into the psychological impact a camera has on those in front of it. Together they gave a TEDx talk at MIT called “Bridging the Self-Acceptance Gap.”
Based on his process and techniques Peter founded the Headshot Crew in 2011, a referral and coaching platform for headshot photographers worldwide that is now more than 14,000 strong. His desire to document his theory on photographing people propelled writing a book, The Headshot, which shot to #1 bestseller in photography on Amazon upon its release.
Peter isn’t quite sure what the future holds, but his love of photographing the human face will always be at the forefront of his work. When Peter doesn’t have a camera in his hand, you’ll still find him sailing away on a body of water somewhere in the world or traveling with his beautiful wife and precious twin daughters.