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Meet Kenneth Dolin of Kenneth Dolin Photography

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kenneth Dolin.

Kenneth, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I had a unique background that gave me insights into creating compelling visuals, as well as the ability to work with and understand actors. After film school, I had a successful career as a producer of countless TV commercials, and of a couple of movies. Working on TV commercials gave me the opportunity to become an Associate Creative Director with a couple advertising agencies, where I honed my visual sensibilities.

Then I decided that I’d rather act than work behind the camera, and created an acting career with some success. I did a bunch of TV’s and a lot of stages. But acting didn’t take me as far as I wanted. I didn’t want to back to film producing. So, I thought long and hard about how I could combine my acting experience and background with my visual side. And the answer hit me: Photograph actors.

That was 14 years ago. In the time since, I’ve been blessed to become one of the top headshot photographers in the country, and have expanded that into celebrity photography and also into photographing behind the scenes talent as well. I worked with numerous Academy Award and Emmy Award nominees and winners, as well as people just starting out.

I’ve also been blessed to have the ability to mentor photographers and actors through a coaching practice, and through public speaking, including TED talks and frequent public speaking engagements.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Nothing great is accomplished without a struggle. I like to say that the “Three T’s” and the key to success: Talent, Training and Tenacity. Tenacity has been key for me. But I think it’s key for all artists. Keep going when it feels like you can’t. On the other side of that is magic.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Kenneth Dolin Photography – what should we know?
Kenneth Dolin Photography has a primary focus on “working actor headshots.” Most of our clients are working actors who come to me through agents and managers. But I call it “working actor headshots” because my job is to create imagery that gets actors auditions so that they can work.

Over the last 14 years, I’ve photographed a clientele that’s included multiple Emmy, Golden Globe and Academy Award winners. My work has been featured in People Magazine, US Weekly, Angeleno, Beverly Hills Magazine, Closer, LA Stage and more. Entertainment Tonight called me “The go-to guy for great headshots.”

Most people pose for the camera. I get them to STOP posing. I do this by being a part photographer, part life coach, part clown and part provocateur. It’s an unusual approach. It can be very intense. But it’s also fun. I believe that my job is to help people find their INNER beauty. To this end, I often remember the words of Gibram: “Beauty is not in the face, beauty is a light in the heart.”

My job is to help people access this light because when they do, they shine in photos, and they KEEP shining, long after the studio lights are off.

What sets me apart, I think, is that I use portraiture as a route to empowerment, helping people know that they are enough and that the essential qualities that make them unique, are what make them beautiful.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I’ve had few mentors, and this is something I wish I could go back and change. As one who currently mentors others, I think that mentorship is huge. I’m blessed to have a great team working for me, from my amazing and bright spirited studio manager to my key makeup artist who has been working with me for over 8 years.

I’m also blessed to have the continuing support of agencies, management companies and publicists who often believe in me more than I believe in myself. Without them, I don’t know if I’d still be doing this. Mostly, I’m blessed an honored to have a clientele of actors, creators, and artists who come back, year after year, to allow me to attempt to capture a small part of their beautiful souls.

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