About Peter Hurley

To this day I just feel like I’m a guy lucky enough to have picked up a camera. It still amazes me when I think back to how it all went down and where I’ve come since walking into that used camera shop back in 1998. 

The real unfolding of it began while I was in the midst of training for the 1996 Olympic Games. I got a call that Polo was interested in using real sailors to be part of their summer ad campaign. Next thing I knew I was out on Biscayne Bay sailing my Laser in front of Bruce Weber’s lens and the trajectory of my life forever changed.

For the next few years, I roamed the streets of New York from casting to casting as I tried my hand at a short-lived modeling/acting career. During that time Bruce encouraged me to pick up a camera and I found myself walking into that little shop on 17th St. 

For the first few years, I found myself photographing anything that came my way. It started with my modeling friends, then my first commercial job shooting sneakers for Reebok, and next, actors in need of headshots. I even had a little stint on Donald Trump’s The Apprentice, shooting for Levi’s. I was milking my camera for everything it was worth, but my headshot work always garnered me the most attention. My signature style of chopping off the tops of people’s heads on a clean white background in landscape format became all the rage, and I was recognized numerous times by Backstage magazine as the best headshot photographer in New York.

I was in my own little world with blinders on shooting out of my New York studio when I got asked to be interviewed by Fstoppers, one of the largest photography blogs in the world. My foray into teaching my craft was born. I began doling out video tips for becoming more photogenic when in front of a camera. “It’s All About the Jaw” and “It’s All About the Squinch” went viral and now have nearly 6 million views. Speaking offers began coming in and since my first talk for Google at the Google+ Photographer’s Conference in San Francisco, I’ve now spoken for Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, GoDaddy, Allergan, and Canon to name a few. Through my work at Microsoft, I met Dr. Anna Rowley, a psychologist, and began delving into the psychological impact a camera has on those in front of it. Together we gave a TEDx talk at MIT called “Bridging the Self-Acceptance Gap.” 

In 2011 I founded my referral and coaching platform for photographers, Headshot Crew, that is now more than 13,000 strong. Having a strong desire to document my theory on photographing people I also authored my first book The Headshot and it hit #1 in photography books on Amazon.

I’m not quite sure what the future holds, but my entrepreneurial spirit remains in high gear. I cherish the fact that I get to use a camera and the medium of photography to do all the things I’ve been able to do in my life. When I don’t have a camera in my hand, you’ll still find me out on a body of water racing somewhere in the world, or traveling with my beautiful wife and precious twin daughters.

Photo by Bruce Weber for Polo Sport
Photo by Christy Usher