If you are a professional photographer, at one point or another in your career someone will ask you to shoot something outside of your regular genre. Whenever this happens to me I always take an online class relating to the new genre before ever taking on the job. Creative Live was, and still is, my first stop. I learned to shoot weddings using off camera flash from Vanessa Joy and Zach and Jody Gray. Once my wedding couples had little ones and asked me to photograph their bundles of joy, I learned to shoot newborns from baby whisperer, Kelly Brown. So in 2018 when someone asked me to do a headshot for them, I went to Creative Live and watched every class they had on headshots. This is how I was introduced to the world of Peter Hurley, one of the top portrait photographers in the world, and a Canon Explorer of Light.
After that first headshot session I was totally hooked. The more headshot sessions I did for clients the more I realized that this was going to be the new focus of my business. I loved the ability to work one-on-one with the client in a relaxed studio environment. To have the time to really pose my subject in the most flattering way possible and to tweak my lighting to perfection felt like such a luxury after all the hustle and bustle of shooting weddings for 8 years. Also I found shooting headshots had an unexpected amazing redeeming quality. It allowed me to take people who believed themselves to be totally unphotogrenic and get them to see themselves in an entirely new light, both figuratively and literally. Seeing people’s self-confidence swell after seeing their session images is so rewarding.
I wanted to provide my clients with the very best images possible so I decided to finesse my photographic headshot skillset by investing in more online learning. I joined Peter Hurley’s Headshot Crew, the world’s largest team of headshot and portrait photographers, in January of 2021, to get some direct feedback on my work. Since then I have tried to soak up every bit of knowledge I can from Peter and the members of this incredibly talented group. Each week the Headshot Crew has a contest for best Headshot of the Week during which Peter Hurley or one of the other group mentors goes through the images and critiques each one. The best of the best make the poll and then the group votes on the winner at the end. I found these critiques extremely helpful and they allowed me to step up my headshot game quickly. From the time I joined it has been my goal to win Headshot Of The Week and to become one of Headshot Crew’s Associate photographers. You might be wondering what an associate photographer is. Peter Hurley’s Headshot Crew Associate Photographers are highly skilled photographers that have shown their ability to produce consistent imagery culminating in a well-rounded portfolio filled with exemplary work. They have gone through an extensive vetting process with Peter proving their ability to create captivating headshots whenever someone steps foot in front of their lens. This status has earned them Peter’s trust as he relies heavily on the Associate Photographer team to handle client referrals that come through Headshot Crew on a global scale.
So when I won Headshot of the Week this past Tuesday I was ELATED. I did happy dances all over the house! Seeing my image on the homepage for the group was phenomenal. It gave me the courage to change the main focus of Vail Fucci Photography from weddings to headshots and portraiture.
Soon after Peter suggested that I do a portfolio review with him to see if I was ready to go associate status. On the 10th anniversary of the creation of the headshot crew, December 9th, 2021, I got my review and Peter Hurley gave me my official “SHABANG!” This felt like as big an accomplishment to me as completing my Ph.D. in bioethics! I am so excited for this new chapter of my business journey!
I am incredibly thankful to Peter Hurley for creating this wonderful group. He has shared his beautiful triangle lighting pattern with the members of the headshot crew as well as so many other important facets of headshot photography. Additionally the crew is an amazing community of photographers. We support each other. I am proud to be a member of this group of kind and talented photographers and to support others on their journey of becoming the best headshot photographer they can be.
The image for headshot of the week was shot on my Canon R6 and 70-200 F2.8 EF lens with RF to EF adapter using 2 Flashpoint XPLOR300 Pro (AD300 Pro) units with 2 1’x3′ EZ Lock strip boxes double diffused and 1 Flashpoint EVOLV200 Pro (AD200 Pro) unit with 1 10″x24″ EZ lock strip box on the bottom edge of the triangle.