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Continuous Lighting Overview

Lesson 8 from: Build your Lighting Knowledge

Peter Hurley

Continuous Lighting Overview

Lesson 8 from: Build your Lighting Knowledge

Peter Hurley

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Lesson Info

8. Continuous Lighting Overview


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Natural Light Overview


Live Shoot: Maximizing Window Light


Live Shoot: Use Reflector to Enhance Natural Light


Live Shoot: Back Light Your Subject


Live Shoot: Back Lit Subject with V Flats


Live Shoot: Utilize ProBoard with Natural Light


Continuous Lighting Overview


Lesson Info

Continuous Lighting Overview

So I wanted to talk to you guys about a couple of things I have going on and I do do some lighting stuff in here too. I wrote this book. It's called The Headshot. I have trained for two Olympic games making this was harder. It was like really, really tough. It was like the hardest thing I've ever done. I put my blood sweat and tears into this so I know a lot of you have it. I know a lot of you love it and I hope you're getting a ton out of it. This is called The Headshot but it should really be called direction in portraiture, right? I mean, it really is about taking people and directing your subject and how you would do that. And right now, if you wanna get it you can go to forward slash gear and it's on my gear page. But even better, I'm doin' a deal where you can get it for free. You buy two months of coaching on my website you get a third month free and you get the book signed and I'll send it to you. Doesn't matter where you are, alright? And you'll get the book a...

nd I'll sign in personally and it's amazing. So I hope you guys check it out if you don't have it already. So that's the deal that's goin' on. I also, this is it. I had a think for a minute. Or if you just wanna try my headshot crew coaching. So my coaching site is called There are over 12,000 photographers on it. If you haven't hear of it, then I have no idea how to help you. (laughs) It's an amazing site and it's a directory of headshot photographers worldwide. There's a photographer search there. You can check it out. And there's also my coaching. And in my coaching program, we do weekly videos. I have associates. I have almost 80 associates now worldwide. We're almost in every country. We're in over a hundred of them or something, I don't know. But we're looking for you anyway. We're trying, we've created the largest group of headshot specialists in the world. So I don't care if you specialize in headshot or not I care that you photograph people. So check it out. If you use the code creativelive, usually it's a just a one month free trial to get on the site. You get two months free if you use the code creativelive today so definitely take advantage of that. And with that, well this is actually the site. I took this screen shot. There were 11,184 photographers in it but you can see all the blue little check marks, that's all our photographers around. I feed referrals through this system. It's an engine for that, some people get referrals. I can't guarantee anybody's gonna get a referral on it but what I try and do is I have more and more headshot work coming my way and I get big companies that ask me, hey, we have an office here and we have an office there and I'm like, oh, I got that covered. Yeah, I got that covered. I got that covered too. And these associates, I do these portfolio reasons every Tuesday I am live at 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. eastern doing my portfolio reviews, answering any questions. You have complete access to me every Tuesday at 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. And then at 4 p.m. on Thursdays we go live and we talk about, it's an open mic for people to talk about whatever they wanna talk about photographically. So here's a little video clip about it. Take a look. (guitar music) I just have to say I'm so psyched to have the biggest community of headshot photographers in the world assembled in one place, right here. We get weekly tips from me, you get coaching then you can submit a portfolio to me of your best work. If you get a portfolio to me of solid shots that meet my criteria you are propelled into associate status stardom and this is what headshot crew's all about. We're building a community here people. we have over 6,000 photographers now. What do you think of them apples huh? If people Google themselves what images come up? Should be one of yours. Get in get involved feel free to ask any question you want. We are here for you. We need you in here because you are awesome (laughs) Shabam! (guitar music) I did 52 videos, I did 52 videos for an entire year so every week that you're in the crew you get a video, an extra video. And I don't know if you noticed by now I attempt to be entertaining when I'm teaching. I just think it's, for me it's part of it. I like to have fun when I'm shooting. My clients have fun. If I'm gonna, whatever I'm doing in my life, you know, I wanna be having a good time while I'm doing it. So I have fun with the videos and we just have a lot of fun with it. So I'm always joking around a bit, but teaching at the same time. So this year we're gonna do another 52 videos and really be crankin' so I don't know if I'm gonna do 52. 52's a lot. So here we go. We're gonna dive right in. We're diving. Can you feel it? I'm gonna dive. We're gonna dive. Finding your signature lighting or what I call your Go-Pher light. I make up stuff like I said. Go-Pher light. Light you're gonna go for when you know you're gonna shot something specific. Like right now I am staring at the Peter Hurley flex kit, right, that I designed with Westcott. It's been just amazing because I was shooting Tinos and their big and their bulky and I can't take them out of the studio and my business changed. Now I have this corporate model where I'm goin' around to companies a lot and I need to be on the road and I need to travel. I did this, I've done big jobs where I couldn't bring my lights with me. I was really upset so I brought this here in a luggage that is just a check bag which I love. And I did it by myself. No one assisted on this one. Myself, check bag, no problem. Brought everything I needed. I brought a Hurley Pro bag, which had the pro board in it and my olfront back drop which I'm gonna show you in a little bit and this amazing. So when I go on the road I have a kit that I go with so I know that if I'm shooting corporation, my Go-Pher light is the flex kit and the pro board and that kind of thing my light it the flex kit and so this particular flex kit configuration is the square light which I use with women. If I shoot a whole corporation and I want everybody to look consistent I'll shoot everybody just like this. If I'm ever shooting couples, I like nice even light I'll shoot like this. It's my Go-Pher light when I do that. My Go-Pher light when I shoot guys in the studio I need to have a little bit of definition on the face so I go for a little shadowing. I like shadowing a lot. So I'm gonna set my light up differently. I have a Go-Pher light for when I'm shooting somebody that's moving really quickly and I need more light that throws a little bit and I'm gonna go for strobes and umbrellas and stuff like that. Gotta Go-Pher setup for that. I want you to get a setup that you call your Go-Pher light so that you know exactly what you're gonna go for as soon as you get that call. You get the call, boom, you know what's in your kit. And you go and it's set up and you're not questioning yourself when you get to a location. It doesn't matter what environment I'm shooting in. I know how to handle it. I know space restrictions that I might have with my light. I know, you know, low ceiling situations or anything that could come up I've got covered because I don't worry about it. I got my Go-Pher light with me. So once you find what this Go-Pher light is for you you have to own it. You have to own your light. I don't care if it's natural light you have to own it. That could be your Go-Pher light. How many of you guys is your Go-Pher light natural light right now? How many are most comfortable, if you're gonna go shoot a portrait right now, who's Go-Pher light is natural? Right? You're most comfortable with that, that's what I want you to go for. Alright? This one, let's say you're fortunate to have a flex kit in your life, this says Peter Hurley flex by Westcott. I don't care. When you shoot it and it's yours, you own this. You own the light coming out of that. You decide where it goes. It's your light. It's not my light anymore. It's your light. I don't care if it's for a photo, I don't care if it's a speed light, any manufacture. It is your light and you need to take ownership of it. You need to decide where it's going, where it's pointing and how much is hitting them. You need to decide what shadows are hitting them. It's your light. And I was forced to create a Go-Pher when I moved into my first studio. To change my Go-Pher light. So when I first started shooting when I first started shooting what did I shoot? You've already seen me if you've been on this thing at all. What did I shoot? Where did I shoot? Windowsill. Natural light, right? Well outside of that window, and if I lose it on this it's because I worked really freakin' hard to get where I am. Outside of that window it faced south and the Starrett-Lehigh Building was there and there were flashes going off in it all day long. I modeled so it's the biggest building full of studios in the city. Takes up a while city block. Windows are huge just like this. Beautiful light, everything. And I was dreaming of my first studio space and I saw flashes going off in that building. And I was like, one day I'm gonna be there. That was what I wanted and I don't know how stuff happens guys but one day I got a call from a friend who I did a job with and she said, I have this little office on the side of this big studio and I was wondering I need to rent this little office out and I thought of you first. I know you shoot out of your apartment. Would you be willing to move into a studio? And I was like, where is it? And she said it's 601 West 26th Street. And I was like, what? And that was the building. And this is the studio. (static) Purespace and I'm going inside. This is my old studio. This is where it all started. This is just the entrance but this is the big studio in the back and this is my wife and my friend but this was the office, my first studio. This is it. I mean, it's a mess in here but this is where I was, jammed in this little room and this is where I shot. This is where the first headshots were taken. It's about, what is it? That's about a 10 by 10 foot square. And I used to bounce light off all the white walls and I had a pretty tall ceiling. No windows. But this is where it was done. This is where Peter Hurley headshot photography pretty much got started, tiny little room right here. So you could do it anywhere guys is what I'm sayin' anywhere, anywhere. It's only, that square is 10 by 10, I'd say this room is another maybe 20 feet, so 20 feet by 10 for this square. So it's like, yeah, it's tiny. It's tiny. What is it? 300 square feet. Unbelievable. Shoved a lot of people in this freakin' tiny room. So do it anywhere. Get it set up. Look at this. This is great I mean I did it in this little box of walls all together and that was where it was done. But don't think you can't do it in your small little tiny apartments people. I was just fortunate enough to have this right outside my door. Look at this. Unbelievable. This is Purespace people. Anyway, we're doing a casting today so I'm here with my friends What are you doing? I haven't seen in a while. I'm filming! For what? For me. People are watching. Alright, I'll see you guys later. Alright, I apologize for the production value on that. (laughs) But I don't remember when I recorded that or anything but I went back there for a little casting and I went in and I was like I just have to record this to show what happened. So you saw the back room. So a lot of my learning, although it's all self-taught, a lot of my learning was just spying on other photographers. You know, and the thing that I really realized is that even though I was spying, I wasn't spying, but they were shooting in that big space. A lot of photographers came through that space and I had my chance to duck my head in there and see what they were doing I would. But the thing that I realized was that it was application. Like I might've seen what they were up to and I had to try it. I had to kind of get a sense of what they were doing so it really didn't sink in and gel with me until I actually did some of the things I was trying to observe and I would just go in on the, they might be eating lunch or I'd go mosey in there and just see or they might be just shooting over a number of days and I'd go see what they were doing so one day, fortunately, this is another thing that happened to me. I'm in that room. I started shooting in that room. And I knew I couldn't do natural light but I had to create this look that I had already created with all my clients up to that point. I had done the natural light look. I decided, I'm not gonna shoot at that window anymore. I need to further my career. I need to be in this studio. I needed to be in that creative environment which was amazing to be there. Just to be there was amazing. But I didn't I didn't have the awareness or the feeling or the sensitivity for strobe. So and then in that room you saw it was all white. It was like a 10 by 10 and I saw blowing strobes off in there and I just didn't know what I was doing. Like, today I'd be fine probably with strobe I'd be good, but I also was used to natural light. I wasn't used to having a strobe go off between me and my subject when I'm shooting headshots that close, you know. I was still using strobe for other things and I was proficient at strobe, but headshots I couldn't do what I could do today with strobe which was make the light look similar to what it is that I was doing then. So I had no clue. So I'm freaking out because my pictures for about, and it's crazy, I moved into that studio in like January of and in February of 2004 this photographer shows up and he's shooting for like a week and his assistant and I were friendly. We started talking and I saw these crazy lights and I'm like, what are those? And he's like those are kenoflows. They were continuous fluorescent lights and I was like, really? Those look really cool. And I was looking at the Polaroids and they looked really cool. The photographer's name was Perry Ogdy, he's amazing. He was really cool. He was just renting the space. So he leaves and, by the way he doesn't know this I don't think, but he left and the lights were all packed up on the floor and I was like, I asked the studio manager, I was like, what's goin' on with those lights? And the studio manager was like, well, they're being picked up by the rental house on Monday. This was Friday. I was like, really? (laughs) I was like, hmm. What am I doin' this weekend? And I instantly called some, I tried to get a client, I got a client and I was like, I just gotta try, they just looked so, the Polaroids they were stickin' them on like a board and I was lookin' at 'em and I was like that light just looks amazing. And I set 'em up and I don't, nobody has seen what I'm about to show you. I dug deep for you guys, I like dug into the archives to find this, to find the girl that I brought in on a Saturday to show you this. So, I started doing this. I started to do, I thought I was doing a window but I looked at the catch lights in her eyes and it's not exactly like this. I was just thinking, I don't know how to set these up but if I do it like a window, it's kinda like I have to shoot through it and they have to be like, they have to obviously be in front of me I think, and I just put 'em around her, and I started shooting and I developed this and it was like, it was like gold to me. That was my moment. (laughs) That was my moment. I was like, I looked at this, so if you look at the catch lights, and they're really small. I didn't dig into my archives and get the high res files, sorry guys, you'll live. It's just this little tiny jpeg that I found in my, I keep all my small jpegs in a folder so I can access them quickly rather than dig in my hardrives and stuff and this was back in 2004. This is all I had. But there it is. There's the kenoflow setup that changed my life. I went to BNH on that Monday and I fired up the whole kit and I still have those kenoflows in my studio. People keep trying to buy 'em and I can't let them go I can't seem to let 'em go. I don't use 'em anymore so maybe I will sell 'em. But that started it for me. However, there's a couple things with the continuous light that I had problems with. One is they're really bright and they weren't dim-able. So I didn't have the control I needed over the light. They're big and bulky and I couldn't travel with 'em. The baluster's enormous so that's why I started working towards producing something like this. But I thought that this, look at this picture. This was 2004. And it blows me away to see that. So what's the bottom line about all this? Right? What is it? I needed to do this. You needed to do this. You need to own your light. I was, I was petrified that I wasn't gonna find the light because I was like, I have a studio. Should I go shoot the window today? I don't have, the windows in that studio, that studio was a rental studio. So to get to the windows, first of all it was north light, I was used to shooting south light, and north light's great I coulda done it. But I was like, I can't because I can't book a client and know whether the studio's rented or not. I couldn't use the studio if it was being rented. It was only for my use if nobody was using it. And I was renting my little space. So I decided to make the change and this was it. I needed to own this light. So I took ownership of it. And then I started to design my own light because I was so frustrated with the fact that I couldn't bring these things on the road and I spent a gazillion dollars, not a gazillion, I spent a ton of money doing, making some of you if you've followed me for any extended period of time, there was a Hurley Prolight called a medusa. You remember those suckers? (laughs) They were bright. They were prototypes. I started and we dunked a bunch of money into it and it was frustrating and I was like, I need help. I need help. And I reached out to Westcott and Wescott and I teamed up and we decided, they came up with this flex panel which was revolutionary. It won like the best product of MAB a couple years ago, right? And it was a little 10 by 10 and I looked at it and my eyes got real big and I was like, oh my gosh, wait a minute. Can we just make it a little longer, a little wider, can we put this little frame rack so, can I get my diffusion, can I do this, can I do that, can I make it more portable? And Kelly's like yeah, yeah, yeah, we can do all that. And I was like, I think we can do it, we can do it? You mean we can do it? And I was dying because now I have my Go-Pher light which I never had before. And I teach the headshot intents of all over the world. And I have to bring it with me. And now there's flex kits all over the world that people are using and it's just amazingly gorgeous light which you're gonna see.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with RSVP

Gear List
7 Peter Hurley Discount Codes

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Setting for Peter Hurley Westcott Flex Kit

Ratings and Reviews

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!

Student Work