Behind the Frame with John Dolan

In this episode of the Behind the Frame podcast, I had the pleasure of chatting with the esteemed photographer, John Dolan. John’s career spans over 30 years, working in advertising, editorial, and wedding photography.

We delved into the fascinating world of luxury wedding photography throughout the decades, exploring the delicate balance between art and commerce. John shared his journey into shooting wedding photography, highlighting the importance of finding one’s unique artistic voice in a competitive industry. We discussed the differences in our styles and approaches and being a collector vs a director of moments.

Throughout our conversation, John’s wisdom and expertise shone through as he discussed the challenges and rewards of photographing weddings. We explored the art of creating commissioned work while staying true to one’s artistic vision, a delicate balance that John has mastered over the years.

One of the standout moments we discussed was John’s iconic photograph of Naomi Biden at the White House, capturing a poignant and emotional image moments before she walked down the aisle. John’s meticulous preparation and keen eye for transitions and light played a crucial role in creating the powerful image, showcasing the depth and thoughtfulness behind every frame.

As we wrapped up our conversation, I was inspired by John’s dedication to his craft and his commitment to elevating the genre of wedding photography. Join us on this enlightening journey into the world of luxury wedding photography with John Dolan, where artistry meets commerce, and every frame tells a unique story.

View more of John Dolan’s Work Here.

Follow John on Instagram here to keep up with his work and for more news on the release of the next edition of his incredible book, The Perfect Imperfect.  

View the Richard Avedon Image of Marilyn Monroe we discussed here.

2018: A Year in Review

Working on my year in review is always one of my favorite and most dreaded tasks of the year.  I love looking back at all the incredible events I had the honor to document, but I always end up with 1000 photos and editing it down is way too difficult- especially this year with all the beauty I had the joy of photographing! I got it to just about 300 photos and there’s so many more from weddings that are waiting to be published at Martha Stewart that I can’t share just yet- so stay tuned in early 2019 for some more amazing weddings! 2018 was a BIG year for me in so many ways both personally and professionally. It was the year I really dove head first into education.  I’ve been mentoring photographers for a few years now and my amazing lab, Richard Photo Lab, asked me to teach again at WPPI and then I was asked by my followers to turn it into an e-course.  I loved the experience and saw an exciting opportunity to bring a new type of education the wedding industry and I’ve been testing out new ideas and have some big plans for 2019! 2018 was unintentionally the year of the flat lay for me! I saw flat lays as a great way to enter the education world because I love doing them and when you break them down they’re all about the basic elements of composition and I realized how easily teachable they could be.  It was incredibly exciting to build my flat lay community and I’ve loved seeing the transformation in my students work!  Another fun bonus is also all the flat lay photography I’m doing outside of weddings and have some fun projects in 2019 for some big brands outside of the wedding industry- so stay tuned for that! Once again, I spent a lot of time flying back and forth across the country quite a bit once again, as well as two trips over to Europe, which included celebrating my 30th birthday with friends and family on Lake Como before a month of travel in Italy, France and Norway for weddings and a very special engagement session.  2018 had me shooting in New York City, Connecticut, Big Sur, The Loire Valley, Dordogne, Pennsylvania, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Santa Ynez, Santa Barbara, Palm Springs, Ravello, Como, Norway and Napa! I’m so happy to be home for the next month before 2019 starts with a bang in Sri Lanka!

2018 started in a scary place for me. I injured myself in 2017 and after months of doctors appointments I started the year still not knowing what was wrong or why I was in so much pain.  Luckily after 6 months of being misdiagnosed I finally figured it out and got myself to the right doctors and physical therapist and am feeling great! I started the year barely being able to walk without extreme pain and I will never forget the feeling of accomplishment after reaching a waterfall in Norway after a 9 mile hike in July.  I share this with you because I know many start out the new year setting goals for themselves and so many of us are self defeating. We never even start on the path to reaching our goals because our heads are filled with thoughts of “no, because” instead of “yes, and.”  As we head into the new year I encourage everyone to stop their own self-limiting beliefs of: No I can’t do this because of X.  Instead, focus on Yes I can find a way and here’s how I’ll do it and here’s what I’ll do next!  Whether you’re a wedding industry professional looking to grow your business and afraid to chase your dreams or you’re a bride or groom just engaged and worried about where to start planning your “perfect wedding” or worried about looking perfect at it- push aside those limiting beliefs and just focus on being your most authentic and happiest self and the rest will fan into place.  I can’t wait to see what 2019 has in store for me, I’m shedding my own limiting beliefs and hope you all join me in celebrating a wonderful new year full of BIG things! Congratulations to all the couples out there planning your 2019 wedding! It’s going to be a great year!  Sending a big thank you to my incredible assistants and second shooters who I could not live without!

Happy New Year!



Planners featured in this post (in alphabetical order): Amorology, Callista & Co, Ebb and Flow Events, Elegant Ninja, Encore Events, Kate Siegel Events, Mark Kintzel Events, Matthew Oliver Weddings, Ro & Co Events, Shannon Leahy Events, Simply Troy Events, Simone Lennon Events, Toast Santa Barbara