The Story Behind My New Headshot Photo By Peter Hurley


I’m extremely psyched to have had my headshot photo taken this past week by none other than the headshot-king himself, Peter Hurley. Now, keep in mind that you will rarely EVER see a full size headshot image of me at the top of a post again. But I thought it’d be cool to write a quick post about what it was like on the other end of the camera.

Why I Needed A Headshot?
The last headshot I was using was one that Scott Kelby took of me 5 years ago this month. Scott has been the “unofficial” Matt photographer for a while now :) I never seem to like photos of myself (I’m sure I’m not the only one right ;) ), but I always like the ones Scott takes of me. The photo I’ve been using as my headshot is below. I’ve always liked it, and it’s been hard to give up. But my wife keeps telling me that I needed a new one since it’s 5 years old. Plus, I think everyone is about tired of looking at it :). But she’s right. People change a lot in 5 years so it was time for something different.

Arriving At Peter’s Studio
My friend Dave and I arrived at Peter’s studio last Thursday afternoon. It’s got a great, comfortable casual feel to it. It’s in a way-cool building in Manhattan, and has that New York City studio feel to it. If you’re from New York then it’s probably something you see every day. But if you’re not, then you’ll probably know what I’m talking about. Plus he’s got a killer view!

Peter’s Setup
Peter’s setup is fairly simple but VERY high quality. He’s got several rolls of different color seemless paper. He uses Kino Flo lights which are constant lights. They have a great look to them and since they’re constant, it let’s Peter monitor exactly what the lighting is going to look like. Everything is shot tethered and you see the photos pop up on screen as he’s taking them.

The Experience
All I can say is wow! Now, I’ve watched Peter’s DVD (The Art of the Headshot) before so I kinda knew what to expect. I know from watching it, that he’s masterful behind the camera in getting the right expression on his subjects. But I was still blown away at just how good he is. I’m not used to being in front of the camera but he totally makes you comfortable.

First, he got me in front of the camera and started shooting. It was kinda like warming up. Then he pulled me over to look at a few of the photos, and showed me some magazines/covers with examples of how he wanted my expression to be. He’s even got a mirror for you to practice in front of. What I realized is that, like anything else, you can’t expect to be good at something without practice. In this case, you can’t expect to be good at getting yourself into a good expression for a nice headshot, without practicing exactly what you’d like your smile, facial expression and eyes to look like.

But what’s really amazing is how he interacts. Chances are that most of those reading this probably won’t have their headshot taken by him right? And maybe you don’t even need a professional headshot. That’s not the point. The point is, if you’re some one with people in front of their camera on a regular basis, he’s an EXCELLENT person to study from. Peter has a way of making you totally comfortable in front of the camera. The way he talks, what he says, and even how he shows you (with his own face) how he wants your expression to be. It’s something that’s really hard to put into words, but he just has a talent in how he sees your expression as well as how he gets the right expression for each person. It’s something that you only get from many years of hard work, practice, and having just an overall fun personality.

All totalled, I think I was in front of the camera for about 10 minutes and he took about 30 photos.

The Post-Processing
Peter doesn’t actually do the post-processing on the headshots he shoots. He’s smart. He knows exactly what he’s best at, and does a lot of it. He has another company he works with for retouching. But seeing as I know a bit about Photoshop, he gave me the photo to retouch. And let me tell ya… I did some post-processing on this one ;)

So Did Scott Lose His Job?
Nope, Scott didn’t lose his job at all. I’m thinking of holding tryouts once a year for those that want to shoot my headshot and he’s welcome to try-out whenever he’d like ;) (TOTALLY just kidding!)

I wanted to say a big thanks to Peter for being so kind. I’m actually REALLY happy with the photo he took of me (and that doesn’t happen often). If you haven’t seen Peter’s DVD yet then you’ll definitely want to check it out. He also did a guest blog post over on Scott’s blog a while back and it’s been one of the most popular posts on that blog all year. You owe it to yourself to at least go see that video. Trust me, you’ll love it :)

Thanks for stopping by today. Have a good one!

  • http://photoopolis.com susan

    Yeah Pete’s a legend, and he’s got you doin’ the macho eye-look’n’ all, but I gotta tell you, you look better, more relaxed and more natural in scott’s shot. sorry dude.

  • http://gravatar.com/wgchinn William Chinn

    Does this mean you’ve fired Scott as the official Matt photographer? Does he know he’s out of a job? Times are tough.

  • http://gravatar.com/scottking Scott King

    Awww so we don’t get to see a re-touching video?

  • Dennis Zito

    Matt, actually you haven’t changed all the much … with the exception of the scruffy beard look! :-) Oh, that’s right … lot of post processing. :-)

    Dennis

  • Jan Hill

    Can’t say I like this better. I like your sweet self, not this scruffy escaped prisoner look. I know, I know…you think it’s “todays” look, but its just not YOU.

    • http://mattk.com Matt Kloskowski

      Thanks Jan. I’m actually kinda scruffy in the other photo too. Its just not as close up of a photo :)

  • Lisa Peckenpaugh

    Great photo! I love the scruffy look! :)

  • Peter Nord

    What a jaw line! Did you have trouble keeping a straight face?

    • http://mattk.com Matt Kloskowski

      OMG!! Yes!! I kept laughing :)

  • http://williambeem.com wbeem

    I think that’s a damn fine headshot. Never thought about whether you were scruffy-looking or not. I just like the angle, the expression and the lighting. You’re right, Peter rocks at this stuff.

  • Jen Scarr

    Well the scruffy look is in, but hey, I just watched the Peter Hurley guest blog spot vid on Scotts site and it was great – I understand a little about the pose now :)

  • Julie

    I love the new “you”. I think you look infinitely more approachable now, more earnest, ready to help. :)

  • Joseph

    I think this is an absolutely awesome headshot, and I love the glimpse into how Peter works. I think it is super smart to grab some magazine covers to show someone some direction for great facial expressions. And having you practice that in a mirror is brilliant! I am going to download some magazine covers on my iPad to help people see the kind of expression they should be going for. I need to buy Peter’s DVD to learn more from this guy.

  • http://www.stevewyliephotography.com Steve Wylie

    It’s great fun to be photographed by the best in the industry. I was lucky enough to have a headshot done by Joe McNally at Photoshop World in Las Vegas this year; it’s an experience (and a photo) I’ll treasure for the rest of my life.

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