IN FOCUS: Spotlight on Kenneth Dolin

We asked Kenneth Dolin a few questions that will help us get an idea of who he is and what makes him click (pun intended).

You can learn a lot more about him from his website.


What is the most important thing an actor can do to prepare for a headshot session?  

Take the pressure off yourself to “get it right” and arrive with a willingness to PLAY. Don’t think of it as a photo shoot as much as a chance to do the work you love, which is acting. Don’t try to be what you’re not. To quote Dr. Seuss,  “Today you are you, this is truer than true, there is no one alive, who is Youer than you.” If you can embrace that, you’ll rock it.

How would you describe your approach to shooting headshots?

Laughter is an integral part of the process. It makes you breathe. It relaxes you. And it feels good.  But while the shoots are fun, they’re also very focused. I ask the actors I shoot to work as hard as I do.

If you could photograph one actor, who would it be and why?

Multiple Tony Award winner Mark Rylance because he’s the best stage actor alive yet professes to hate the camera. I’d enjoy making him eat his words and LOVE the camera.

Describe your Best experience with a client.  No names please.

I have so many good experiences. I work with so many smart, talented, funny, quirky, wonderful people. My best experiences are when someone leaves my studio feeling empowered, alive, joyful AND gets great shots. And of course, I love when a client tells me that they’ve  found better representation after shooting with me, or seen their auditions increase. And I simply adore working with young people. They remind me to keep playing, and of how rich the work is with the filter of ego removed.

Describe your Worst experience with a client.  No names please.

Fortunately, they’ve been few and far between. When they have happened, it’s generally when a client has no real interest in the real work of acting. We once had cheesy reality show “star” show up in total diva mode. I’ve shot Academy Award nominees and Emmy Award winners who were joyful and sweet, and this . I suggested that she shoot with someone else.

Describe your Strangest experience with a client.  No names please.

More of a strangest day. My morning session was a professional MMA fighter trying to get into acting and my afternoon was a drag queen Judy Garland impersonator.  Both were absolutely wonderful and lovely people.

What is your favorite movie?

So many, ranging from “Wings of Desire” by Wim Wenders to “Harold And Maud.” I love film. And I love theatre. I go to NYC twice a year just to see theatre.

What sets you apart from other photographers?

They’re them. I’m me. …There are so many great photographers in this town. We’re each unique.

Are there any other projects you are involved in that you’d like to share with us?

I’ve started a “Masks of Comedy & Tragedy” project, where I’m shooting actors in black and white, truthfully expressing both comedic and tragic moments. I shoot them REALLY laughing, and REALLY crying. Both images are put side by side, with a simple line of text describing the “trigger” that brought out each emotion.

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As actors you have one opportunity to make a first impression. It is a lot like online dating. If you send out a picture that is great but doesn't look like you, your date (casting) is gonna be disappointed. You won't get a second chance. But if you are able to capture your personality and the strongest aspects of your talents in that one frame, you'll find that there are a lot of people out there looking for someone just like you. SO, this blog is dedicated to getting you more dates, or rather auditions. We leave your actual dating life up to you. With over 30 years of experience in the photography and headshot business, I will keep you posted on the business of acting with an emphasis on photos.

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