Illuminating the Face Peter Hurley and Fstoppers

May 01, 2014  •  1 Comment

So I've just finished watching Peter Hurley's and Fstoppers newly released video "Illuminating the Face". It went live for purchase and download on the  Fstoppers store today, however, I had the distinct pleasure of purchasing it a few days ago before the official release, and have been watching it over the course of these last few days.
I was actually first indirectly introduced to Peter by the Fstoppers guys a couple of years ago. I was on my FB page (I think) when an ad popped up from Fstoppers advertising a video for purchase called "The Art behind the Headshot." I viewed the trailer, considered it interesting enough to invest some money into, and as they say, the rest is history. I joined Peter's PH2 Headshot coaching network, and a few years on, I am proud to be a PH2 Associate photographer and Mentor. Peter has since become good friend of mine, I've assisted for him here in Dubai at last year's GPP where he presented a couple of Headshot Intensive's and Environmental Portraiture workshops, we've shared meals and beers, and let me tell you, it's always good to see him in action as on this new video.
I have also had the absolute pleasure of meeting Lee Morris and Patrick Hall of Fstoppers fame. What these guys and their crew have done, and are doing for photography is phenomenal. If you're not following them or their work, well, you're missing out. The Fstoppers blog is something you have to read every day if you want your nuggets of photographic gold.

So what do I think about this new video that Peter and the Fstopper's have put out? I'm not sure if anyone actually asked what I thought, but since I don't care if they did or not....
The video is available as downloadable content from the Fstoppers store as mentioned above. After completing your purchase ($300), you are given download links to the video which comprises of four chapters. The total size of the video (all 4 chapters) is 7.3GB, so you'd better have a good internet connection when you wait was luckily only 45 minutes.
Total viewing time is about 4 hours and 50 minutes, so you're getting something that at least has enough running time to have a lot of information packed into it. And it does......
So in the first three chapters, Peter discusses the Inverse Square Law, which us photographers should have a very firm grip on. He discusses Hard vs. Soft light- small sources of light vs. large sources of light, how the utilization of the Inverse Square Law affects falloff, etc. Basically a 101 on lighting. Then.....he gets into demonstrating different modifiers -

Bare bulb Monolights
Beauty Dishes
KinoFLo Lights

and how they work, what type of light they produce (silver vs. white), how the light to subject distance affects the final outcome, how changing the positions and angles of the lights affects the outcome, feathering, etc.

He explains key lights, fill lights, kicker and hair lights, Gobos, Cucoloris (cookies) and Flags. Now where this tutorial really shines in these chapters is that Peter has two models, one a dark-skinned male and the other a light-skinned female, and he demonstrates each and every modifier on these models using the same setups and the effect that they have on these individuals, and how some modifiers will work for both of them and some only look good on the male model and not the female model or visa versa, and how to tweak the setups to suit.

Chapter 4 is where he puts all of what he has demonstrated in the first three chapters into practice, setting up beauty shots, fashion shots, catalogue, etc using all the techniques and modifiers to light and sculpt the images. Real craftsmanship and a pleasure to watch.

So - is this an advanced lighting video tutorial for the Heisler's and Liebowitz's out there? No. Are there other good video tutorials out there at the moment that are cheaper? Yes -  (check out Zack Arias's "One Light 2.0" for $75). But they deal with different things. Both are good, each will attract their own market.

But you ARE going to get your money's worth in the long run from this video if you fit into the market the video targets.
So if you're wanting to learn studio lighting, wanting to know what modifiers do, what light they produce, or if you're a professional wanting to brush up your lighting techniques and have a handy source of very good reference, then this is definitely for you.  If you've been wondering how a specific modifier works or compares to another modifier and what types of light they will produce, then this is for you.
I only have access to some of the modifiers demonstrated in the video - there are others that I could only wonder how they performed and modified light, so seeing these ones in action has been gold for me. After watching the video, I really don't need (I didn't say want) a Mola anymore, my Octabox will do just fine. Pay some to save some.

My opinion - it's another great tutorial. Definitely one to add to the library!



Joshy George(non-registered)
Good review! I found "The Art behind the Headshot" to be quite pretty sure there are some hidden gems inside this video as well. Thanks for summarizing it all out :)
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