Photographer Peter Hurley on the Importance of Self Portraits

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Photographer Peter Hurley is without a doubt the king of headshots, and his biggest skill that every photographer needs has nothing to do with what’s in his camera bag. It has to do with his personality skills and how he deals with people. So when he talked on creativeLive recently about the importance of self-portraiture, he was actually making a very big point that will probably go over the heads of so many photographers.

If you’re a budding portrait photographer, what you’re saying may not make sense immediately, but the experienced veterans will probably agree.

In the video, he talks about paying attention to your face and noticing flaws–then finding out how to correct them. For years, people have been doing this with selfies. It started with the Myspace days and catfishing to make oneself seem much more attractive than real-life actually presents. But selfies and self portraiture are different things.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Eli Samuel Portrait sample (1 of 1)ISO 4001-250 sec at f - 1.0

So what’s the point of all this? If you can find your own flaws and find out how to correct them in a portrait, then you can learn how to find them in so many other people, correct them, and then deliver a portrait that makes that person feel better about themselves because you did the work to capture how incredible that person looks. Then the only step is learning how to communicate with a portrait subject, saying please, teaching them visual cues to move a body part, and demonstrating to them how they can look better overall. What Peter is overall trying to say (and always does) is that it’s all about your own humanity.

By practicing on yourself, you’ve got a model that’s always available.