Video: Peter Hurley shows how to capture great headshots without expensive gear


posted Friday, April 29, 2022 at 12:00 PM EDT


Here at Imaging Resource, we get to test out a lot of amazing cameras and lenses, so we know all-too-well how easy it is to become afflicted with what's known among photographers as GAS, or Gear Acquisition Syndrome. Jokes aside, it can feel like you need to get a new camera, lens or other expensive gear to capture great photographs. That's simply not the case. As portrait photographer Peter Hurley shows in a new video for B&H, you can do an awful lot with a somewhat basic setup.

Hurley was challenged to use entry-level gear to capture a great headshot. If you're not familiar with Hurley's work, he's especially well-known for his headshot photography. He is the founder of the Headshot Crew, an online community dedicated to developing great portrait and headshot photographers. Canon sponsored the video and sent along a Canon EOS M50 kit with a zoom lens and a single $99 Generay light to see what Hurley can do.

Hurley has never used an M50 before, so as he came to grips with the kit, he mentioned that he tends to shoot headshots between 85mm and 105mm on a full-frame camera. The 15-45mm kit lens that comes with the M50 maxes out at slightly under 70mm when accounting for the APS-C sensor crop factor. Hurley usually works on a tripod, but he primarily handheld the lightweight EOS M50.

Hurley also started the photoshoot using natural light, which is how he started as a portrait photographer. Sitting on a window sill with the light coming from behind him and his subject in front of a white background took Hurley back to his early days. It's also a simple, straightforward setup that you can use without breaking the bank. Plus, as you'll see, you can get nice results using only natural light.

In the full video above, Hurley discusses a wide range of helpful topics, especially for those just getting started with portrait photography. You want to shoot RAW, make your subject feel comfortable and be confident. After using natural light, Hurley adds the $99 continuous light source, so he's now working with two light sources. This opens a lot of additional possibilities, and you don't need a lot of lights to create a great portrait setup. You can also see Hurley's typical setup in the video, but the primary takeaway is that you can get your feet wet without diving into the (very expensive) pool.

(Via B&H