The Wedding Biz – 467 JOHN DOLAN/Photographer: “Unpredictability Is What Makes It Memorable”

 In All Network Episodes, Photography, The Wedding Biz

Andy is so happy to welcome a first-time guest to the show – John Dolan! John is a professional wedding photographer, and as someone who developed an interest in photography at a very young age, this interview is especially exciting for Andy. John truly stands out as a pioneer in contemporary wedding photography, having woven a career out of advertising, editorial, and fine art photography.

For over three decades, he has redefined the genre by blending the honesty of documentaries and the grace and beauty of fashion photography. John’s clients include magazine art directors and editors as well as celebrities such as Jerry Seinfeld, Ben Stiller, Kate Bosworth, Bridget Moynahan, Will Smith, Rosanne Cash, and Gwyneth Paltrow, so he has quite the reputation behind his name!

You will definitely want to listen to John’s story as he shares what makes him stand out as a wedding photographer, including the surprising fact that he has only ever done photography as a profession. He also explains how photographing is, for him, a way of collecting, how and why he thinks of weddings as plays, and how he goes about establishing trust between himself and prospective clients.

He also weighs in on the film vs. digital debate, explaining that he brings lots of cameras to a wedding and intuitively uses a hybrid of both film and digital based on the lighting situation. With John also being the author of the book The Perfect Imperfect: The Wedding Photographs, we also learn about what inspired him to write the book and what went into publishing it, and he closes up by offering some incredibly insightful tips and advice, including his belief that the most important person for a wedding photographer to please at a wedding is yourself.

This interview has been a true pleasure for Andy, and he really hopes that you enjoy listening to his conversation with John Dolan as much as he enjoyed having it. If so, then please be sure to share this episode with at least three people you know who might also enjoy it. It would be great if you were to also subscribe to the podcast if you aren’t already so that you never miss a new episode and to leave a top review wherever you listen. That really helps out Andy and the show!

This episode is sponsored by Zola, the fastest-growing wedding platform that connects today’s couples with the right planners and vendors. Zola gives wedding professionals more control, better exposure, and higher quality leads – all with competitive pricing and no annual commitment. Create your free listing at


Have you heard about Stop and Smell the Roses with Preston Bailey on The Wedding Biz Network? Listen as Preston shares the secrets, tools, and technologies behind his extraordinary ability to create a theatrical environment out of any space. Also, don’t forget about Sean Low’s podcast The Business of Being Creative, where Sean discusses the power of being niched, pricing strategies, metrics of success, and so much more. You can find both shows on The Wedding Biz Network.


Become a patron and support Andy and the show! If you are so inspired, contribute!

Time Stamps

[0:00] – The sponsor of this episode is Zola.

[1:39] – We learn that today’s guest is wedding photographer John Dolan.

[2:35] – Photography has always been John’s only job, and he shares what drew him to it.

[4:06] – John gives insight into what he means in his book by, “Unpredictability is what makes it memorable.”

[5:42] – A wedding photographer is, in a sense, a live performer.

[7:33] – Learn about John’s standard process.

[8:46] – John shares what makes his business model seem counterintuitive.

[11:19] – John incorporates both film and digital.

[12:27] – How does John approach lighting, composition, and style?

[13:47] – John addresses some of his biggest challenges and how he overcame them.

[17:03] – Hear about how John approaches celebrity events differently.

[19:04] – People who hire John usually expect him to be understated without much intervention.

[20:51] – Photographers have to be able to adapt to unexpected weather problems.

[22:36] – Does John feel more pressure when he knows that his work will be published?

[23:40] – What does John still struggle with?

[26:22] – John explains what compelled John to write his book.

[28:11] – John argues that weddings aren’t just about the couple getting married.

[30:40] – There is a difference between how younger and older people approach weddings.

[32:17] – We are treated to some tips and advice from John.

[33:32] – John discloses what gear he currently uses.

[34:32] – Andy gives us John’s contact information.



John Dolan – The Perfect Imperfect: The Wedding Photographs


Find John:

John’s Website
John’s Instagram Page


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Title Sponsor: This episode is sponsored by Kushner Entertainment & Zola.

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