203: DARING to Create Authentic Art & Step Into Your Truth with John Dolan

November 10, 2021


On today’s episode of Dare to Develop, we’re really excited to have John Dolan with us. John Dolan is a legend in the wedding and film photography community, and just has so much insight on how to not only create beautiful photographs, but how to truly interpret and present what a wedding day looked like after the fact. So we cannot wait for you to hear this episode and just hear him teach us how to lean into our art and our truth.


Find a wedding, you can go to by yourself, I think that would be a really interesting thing, and if you already do that then find a friend’s wedding to just do for free. Just show up and tell them that if they give you total creative license, you’ll give them a set of prints. I’m sure, if I say something like shut down social media, that doesn’t really work and it’s not realistic. I think you just have to get yourself in a new head space and have a glass of wine at a wedding and try it. Just try new things, try experimenting in how you are at the wedding.


What do you shoot with? 

A Rolleiflex, some toy cameras, super eight cameras sometimes for fun. I usually have a closet full of cameras and I’ll bring a surprise camera for myself just to shake it up.

What’s your favorite post-wedding or event snack? 

I’m Incredibly strategic about my food on a wedding day. Because as we all know, sometimes we don’t get fed for eight hours. So I’ll get a breakfast burrito and then get lunch right before I go.

What’s your favorite wedding/creative pump up jam?

I don’t get pumped up because I do the empty thing. I try to get in this Zen state of mind, but at the wedding, when. When Daft punk comes on with “Get Lucky”, somehow that song just gets me on the dance floor.

What is your favorite thing to do outside of your business?

You know, last year we were all locked down. I started going on these evening walks on the same road. It’s like, three mile walk or something, but I go every night an hour before sunset and that’s been an incredibly great thing to do each night and see how the leaves change and see the animals. 

What is one daring the leap you’ve taken in your business?

This may be a cop-out, but I think every wedding is kind of a miracle the way I shoot it. I used the trapeze metaphor earlier, but I think it is a high wire act because I don’t have a net.

You know, I’m in balance up there and I’m experienced enough not to fall or I wouldn’t be doing it the way I do it, but each wedding I’d take a lot of risks and I just look at myself like, what the heck are you doing? But the results are so thrilling when I get the film back. 

What is one thing you feel like you’re really great at in your business?

I think the skillset is reading the room. I can walk into a room and feel I can almost see little thought bubbles over people’s heads at this point, and know who to give space to.

Where can our listeners find you?

Website: https://johndolan.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/johndolanphotog/


The Perfect Imperfect Book Launch: https://john-dolan-photographer-inc.square.site/ 


We dare you to check out the other Dare to Develop Podcast episodes including 000: Welcome to Dare to Develop where you get to meet your hosts Kristine Herman and Ashley Baumgartner. Also check out our Season 2 Opener, where we’ve been and more in Episode 201
A student of John Dolan, Danie Kim discusses the shift in wedding photography in Episode 008.