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Build your Lighting Knowledge

Lesson 9 of 32

Peter Hurley Signature Lighting Overview

Peter Hurley

Build your Lighting Knowledge

Peter Hurley

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Lesson Info

9. Peter Hurley Signature Lighting Overview


Class Trailer
1 Class Introduction 10:34 2 Natural Light Overview 30:31 3 Live Shoot: Maximizing Window Light 15:51 4 Live Shoot: Use Reflector to Enhance Natural Light 22:12 5 Live Shoot: Back Light Your Subject 19:59 6 Live Shoot: Back Lit Subject with V Flats 19:26 7 Live Shoot: Utilize ProBoard with Natural Light 23:27 8 Continuous Lighting Overview 21:45

Lesson Info

Peter Hurley Signature Lighting Overview

So my signature headshot lighting setup is basically the same. It's the four-light setup, which you see here. All right? It's two 1x3 lights and two 1x2 footlights. We did the four. So I have, So I have this. I like the compressed, I like my light very close to my subjects. So, that's why I didn't do four 1x3s, 'cause then it would be a bigger square. I like it, I like it jammed in. A lot of times if you see me working, you'll see my lights in the frame. And everybody, if they see me, and they're online, and they're in a chatroom or something, they always go, well, why are all the lights in the frame? And I'm like, well, I got a guy that's got a program that he opens up, and he uses something, and it goes away. That's what I do, all right? I'm like, I could get the lights out of the frame very easily. All right? So with women, the concept was shadowless as possible. Fill all, everything, for beauty light. Fill everything. Same as what this light, this light does for us. It's gorgeous l...

ighting. For men, and you can see, there's a handsome gentleman right here. So I accentuate the jawline with a little kick from the back, right? And I create this shadow by using a three-light setup with guys. Which I'm gonna show you. We're gonna do it. Aiden's here. He's ready to roll. Are you ready to be shadowed up a little bit? Here we go. Not yet. Settle down. Not yet. We'll get to it. We gotta do, We gotta do Leandran's first. Ladies first, right? I gotta do the ladies first. So let's talk about the women's lighting. All right? So, This was the setup. And that's how I'm gonna start. However, and everybody asks me this. I get asked all the time, why the square or why this one? Why the triangle? Why the square and why the triangle? Why do I do the square? Why do I do the triangle? And I get it all the time. And I like, the answer is this. I like the catch light on the triangle a little better than the square. And I also like to just maybe possibly get a little bit of shadow detail on one of the, on the, on the jawline. Just maybe a touch of definition. With the square, you're filling everything. And I always use the square with couples. 'Cause there's gotta be even lighting. Right? And I use the square if I've got somebody who's really, I happen to like wrinkles. I like them. But on women, I still wanna fill them. But if they, If somebody's really annoyed by them, then I'll put the square up. And I'll blow them out a little bit more so that they're less concerned about their wellbeing in there. That's about the gist of it. But I'm usually, if you see me, you'll usually see me shooting the triangle setup. All right? So here it is. Look at those suckers. Look at that light. Unbelievable. Triangle setup is, this is all triangle. You can see by the catch lights. It's all triangle. One of my favorite things is called conquering BPS. Right? Who knows what, Who read my book? Who knows what BPS is? You're not allowed to bring, John, you're not, both Johns. Don't say it. Who knows? Nobody. All right, say it. Get the mic and tell 'em what BPS is. In the chatroom, are they, Do they know what BPS is? It's in my book. You want me to tell 'em? Yeah, tell 'em. Big Pupil Syndrome. That's it. That's it. But look at this eye color. I did not enhance this. This girl's eye color was like that. It was crazy. Right? And I'm thinking, real estate in the eye. If the pupil was big, how much blue would we get? A lot less. A lot less. So now, I'm gonna tell you the whole story. Because some people are gonna say that, well, it's more attractive to have a bigger pupil than to have a small pupil. So you wanna have a big pupil. Because in the 1800s or something, people used to put stuff in their eyes to dilate their pupils to become more attractive. They say, Stuff like that. Anyway, for me though, I care more about the color of the eye. What color are your eyes? Leandran's eyes are brown? You're brown? Are you brown? Good, we don't need you. No, but brown eyes are fine too. Still, the color of the eye, with the brown. My daughters have brown eyes, and they have really, really light color brown eyes. Like to get the color out of there when I shoot them. You know? So even brown eyes, it's gorgeous. But still color-wise, you still wanna pop that, pop that brown. I can't stand those fake contacts. With the color in the eyes? I won't shoot it. I'll tell the person, I'll be like, Can you take those out? Like, you either gotta take 'em out, or I'm, I'll shoot it, but I'm not, It's not, like, a Peter Hurley approved operation. It's not my thing. I just can't stand it. I like eyes, I really key in on the eyes. I get work just off of what I've done with the eyes. It's really important. And I don't, And people will say, and I'm sure there's gonna be a discussion online that people don't like my catch lights. Well, guess what? I'm the artist. That's my answer to you. Beat that. I mean, that's really what it is with all of us, right? We're an artist, and we like our, We like the work we do. I like the work I do. All right? I think it's way more important the light on the face than what a catch light looks like. And I think the average person out there probably doesn't even look at catch lights, right? No, I think, I like to have a little catch light in the eye. You know? But, Photographers care way more about catch lights than my clients ever did. So for me, it's more about the light on the face than it is the catch light. Now on occasion, I'll get an annoying catch light that bugs me too. Or if I see a funky lighting setup that the person looks like an alien. It just throws me off. Then I'll switch my lighting. But with this, I like it. I'm happy with my, I'm happy with the way my catch lights look. It doesn't bother me at all. And it's very prominent because I'm shooting it right in their, they're close to these suckers. They're very close to these suckers. Right? I mean, look at this. Look at that thing. To me, it's beautiful. The pupil is as small as it can possibly get.

Class Description

Understanding how and where light is found when taking a photograph is one of the most essential learnings when taking a portrait. It's easy to spend a lot of time working on complicated lighting set-ups when your best light is often right in front of you. Join well-known portrait photographer Peter Hurley as he simplifies the process by walking you through the fundamentals of lighting. He’ll explain natural light and how to work with what’s available. He’ll discuss how to work with continuous light and the best way to use strobes. Over the course of this class you’ll be able to photograph a portrait using: 

  • Natural Lighting Continuous LIghting 
  • Strobe Lighting 
  • A mixture of variable lighting to create a dynamic portrait with a simple set up


Hannah Walker

I truly enjoyed this amazing lighting class. Peter Hurley shows you how he achieves his signature look using all forms of light shaping tools from natural light, to speelites and high end strobes. Seeing first hand how the placement of the subject to the light source and your lightning set up is so important to avoiding the hazards of flat light and haze. He teaches you his unique methods and secrets on how to make eyes pop and get the best color contrast without harsh shadows. You will leave this class energized to hone your own creative vision with light and shadows using the methods taught by Peter. It was a privilege to learn from a master like Peter Hurley. Thank you Creative Live for another amazing class!

pete hopkins

Peter Hurley is the real deal. Not only does he know and share a ton of really practical knowledge of studio lighting for headshots and fashion, but he cuts through the crap and tells it like it is. He is very encouraging and serious at the same time. He had our attention from Day 1. and never lost it. *Bonus Gold - You've got to check out his Hurely-isms. They are priceless! Aside from the new bag of industry tools to work from, Peter gave me a real, sober perspective on what it takes to be PROFESSIONAL fashion photographer! And CreativeLive provided the perfect setting as well. The whole CL staff were warm and inviting and the food was great! I highly recommend CL and P. Hurley to anyone who wants to learn from the best of the best! I can't wait to start shooting with my new skill set. Sign up for CreativeLive! Take advantage of all that they have to offer! Build a foundation, own your light, and Shebang!!! You'll be at the top of your game in no time!