The uniqueness of Jinsey Dauk’s
headshots is quite obvious.
Each photo emits a spirit, a personality, and a feeling. Jinsey uses a naturalistic approach in her photography. Instead of a studio with high powered lights, fancy cameras and the customary backdrops, Jinsey’s Tribeca studio is simple and welcoming. For light, she relies on sunshine streaming in from two nine-foot-high windows with a view of the Hudson River, and for a backdrop, she simply uses the decor of her apartment. Jinsey tells her clients, “The only way you know I’m taking your picture is from the sound of the shutter clicking.” Jinsey’s naturalistic approach produces flattering, relaxed, and true representations of each person. “With a headshot you want the casting director to look at a picture and feel something — the life and the spirit of the actor,” says Jinsey.
“By all accounts, Jinsey Dauk is one of the most successful headshot photographers in New York City.”
– Eric Rudoph, Photo District News
“Because I don’t use flash I’m able to catch action a lot faster, and catch a lot of spontaneity. That’s why every one’s eyes are so alive and awake. A flash makes it really difficult for people to feel at ease. They’re sitting there with a smile thinking, ‘Okay, when is she going to take the picture, ‘then there’s the flash, and they think, ‘Phew it’s done.’ “The way I shoot, it’s a succession.”
–Jinsey, Backstage/Headshot Annual
Meet a Top Casting Director, Manager, and Photographer. Get Invited to More Auditions by Improving Your Resume. Your headshot and résumé are your calling cards. A top-shelf photographer, manager, and casting director offer advice on getting the right shot and putting together the perfect résumé. Bring your current headshots and résumé for evaluation by these experts. Jinsey Dauk, Photographer Jinsey Dauk has been a headshot photographer in NYC for 25 years. An actor and a former Ford model, she studied and then taught photography at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. She collaborated with designer Vera Wang on the book “Vera Wang on Weddings,” and her work has been featured in Modern Bride; Playbill; Back Stage; New Canaan, Darien & Rowayton Magazine; and Photo District News, as well as in galleries and private collections around the world. She has modeled in Paris, Milan, London, Hamburg, and Munich and appeared in more than 60 commercials, including Coca-Cola, Nestlé’s Quik, Red Lobster, Aquafresh, Dimetapp, Easy-Off, and Palmolive. She believes in using natural light rather than flash in order to put actors at their ease and relies on up-to-date feedback from the casting directors and managers who recommend...read more
Jinsey was recently featured in an article from Backstage magazine about New York headshot photographers. It’s all in the eyes! Here in their headshots, actors Rhonda Jensen and Miguel Perez are both open, approachable, warm, and engaging. They emit a spirit, a personality, and a feeling. That’s exactly what you want in a headshot—you want the casting director to feel all that. Because I shoot with natural light and not flash, it’s easy for clients to feel more natural themselves; they are spontaneous and being, not posing. Their eyes are alive. Casting directors and agents like this because not only do the actors look like their headshots, but the CDs and agents get a sense of communication and honesty. Regarding the background, I always keep it out of focus to help the subjects become more three-dimensional, as if they’re jumping off the page. Regarding the clothing, I prefer that we keep the shot simple by going with mostly solid-colored clothing. That makes the eyes the most important thing in the shot. People feel they almost know these actors just by looking into their eyes. That’s the kind of connection to strive for in a...read more
Dr. Erin Walker, PhD www.erinwalkerphd.com Jinsey recently completed a photoshoot for a New York City based psychologist, Dr. Erin Walker, who specializes in psychotherapy for individuals, couples and families. The photos will be used on her new website and needed to portray her as professional, approachable and...read more
Jinsey and a few of her clients explain her process and what set Jinsey’s photography apart from the rest!read more
Inside Edition, the long-running television newsmagazine program on CBS, presented a segment about the popularity of online dating and how some users are having professional headshot photos taken to create a more successful online profile. Jinsey is interviewed as a photographer who specializes in headshots and has taken many effective shots for numerous clients to portray them in flattering natural light and improve their chances of finding romance...read more
If your Match.com date looks better onscreen than in life, here’s why When the first calls came in, says Jinsey Dauk, a photographer known for natural-light head shots of actors, she was puzzled. The clients were “sort of vague,” she says, about why they needed portraits. Eventually, the truth emerged: They wanted flattering photos for their Internet dating ads. Since then, says Dauk, it’s turned into steady work, primarily from professionals in their thirties and forties. “We mostly do big-smile shots—Here I am! Not so much come-hither. I guess they save that for in-person.” Dauk says she’s shot more than 50 in recent months (at $850 per head, or $650 if they come through her website). And even a cursory look at Match.com reveals far more obviously professional photos than, say, a year ago. Does it work? Ask John (first name only, he pleads), who posted an ad with a run-of-the-mill snapshot, then took the plunge and hired Dauk. The difference was “dramatic,” he says. “I got ten times as many responses.” Published in New York Magazine By Christopher...read more
By all accounts, Jinsey Dauk is one of the five or six most successful head-shot photographers in New York City. Of the roughly 150 photographers who work in this lucrative field – taking portraits of the city’s aspiring actors – Dauk is among an elite group. Just step inside her small apartment in New York’s Greenwich Village and the difference is apparent. While most head-shot studios are equipped with high-powered strobes, complicated gaffing rigs or backdrops in view, Dauk’s combination of home and studio is decidedly different. There are no lighting equipment, gaffing rigs or backdrop in view, in fact there’s not even a filing cabinet or a computer. That’s because during her shoots she uses little more than a handheld 35mm camera and light streaming through two nine-foot-high windows with an unobstructed view of the Hudson River. “Walking into a room filled with a lot of photo gear makes people nervous,” Dauk says. “The only way you know I’m taking your picture is from the sound of the shutter clicking.” A model herself, Dauk well remembers the day she had to pose for a shot on a Clairol box; already tired; Dauk found the rhythmic pulsing of the strobes put her in a stupor. As a photographer, Dauk strives to keep her subjects relaxed, so she’s banished blinding lights. She’s even eliminated seamless. She shoots at f/8 or f/4 with an 85mm lens, so anything behind the subjects’ ears goes into soft focus. Instead of the artificial backgrounds in most head shots, Dauk’s images show a blurred view of the entryway of her apartment. Dauk is also an iconoclast when it comes to film and processing. Most of the head-shot world is devoted to extremely slow film for its smooth, creamy look. Two of the best head -shot industry’s favorite films currently are Kodak’s Technical Pan and Agfa Pan (ISO 25); according to a leading head-shot lab, these films are often rated at around ISO 12 to 25. Dauk shoots only Tri-X, rated at 400 ISO. “Super slow film, especially when used with strobes, picks up every little detail, and people end up retouching forever,” she explains. “Tri-X with natural light is so much more forgiving and flattering. People don’t retouch my pictures because they don’t need to. Only three photos in my book of 50 pictures are retouched, and those only slightly.” Dauk’s naturalistic approach appeals to actors who want their head shots to come to life. Nicole Tocantins, a stage and screen actress now living in Los Angeles, says that when she started out she looked like a “bad teenage porn star” in her first head shots because she was wearing a “ton of makeup” and sporting a fancy hairstyle animated by a wind machine at the direction of the photographer recommended by her agent. Several years later, a new agent recommended Dauk, and Tocantins says her current shot gets a wildly enthusiastic reaction from everyone who sees it. “I’m wearing no makeup whatsoever and a leather jacket and it looks like me and casting people love it,” Tocantins says. “I keep asking my commercial agent if I need to reshoot because the shot is more than two years old. My hair is longer now, I look a little different. He says the picture is perfect;...read more
Dauk strives for the active rather than the passive at a shoot. “A lot of actors don’t like having their picture taken because they think it’s about posing,” says Dauk.”But it’s not like that at all; it’s doing and being. Actors are really at home with doing and being because that’s what they do on stage, and it’s what I’m trying to do with my head shots.” By Jill Charles All Photos by Jinsey Dauk Dauk’s method of getting an actors spontaneity stems from the fact that she never uses a flash, relying instead on the natural light in her studio (with perhaps some fill light). “Because I don’t use flash I’m able to catch action a lot faster, and catch a lot of spontaneity. That’s why every one’s eyes are so alive and awake. A flash makes it really difficult for people to feel at ease. They’re sitting there with a smile thinking, ‘Okay, when is she going to take the picture,’then there’s the flash, and they think,’Phew it’s done.’ ” The way I shoot,”she continues, “it’s a succession. I make them laugh a lot, because I’m goofy and so is my assistant, and when they break into that laugh, I just put my finger down on the shutter, and it will click five or six times. So from the beginning of the moment-whether it’s a sexy and seductive smile or a more serious or legit look–to the end where they warm into the big happy laugh, I get that progression of a laugh. And that’s why it’s so much more alive and awake, rather than having to stop and smile, stop and smile. That stopping, which happens with a flash, is the opposite of just being and doing.” A film major in college, Dauk compares her method of filming, only using a still camera. “If you saw a contact sheet of mine,” she says, “it’s sort of like watching a movie of somebody; you see it go from a small smile to a big smile for about five or six shots, and then maybe change the shirt and do something else. It’s a great way to put people at ease.” Dauk insists, “My whole theory is that the eyes are the most important thing in a head shot. You want to be warm and approachable. You want to grab people, to become three dimensional.” FOCUS ON SOUL, NOT STYLE Ever walked into a drugstore “just to buy toothpaste” and been overwhelmed by the hundreds of brands, types, styles, flavors, and packaging? Go into a photo reproduction house and look at the myriad of photos on display: head shots, portraits, three-quarters, full bodies; border less, narrow borders, wide borders, grey Backgrounds, mottled backgrounds; indoors, outdoors; smiling, serious, silly… you get the point. But stop looking at the packaging, and look at the “product.” Look again at those photos on display. lots of attractive people…Lots of happy smiles…some aggressive glares or broody stares. Look closer: which ones say more than just “this is my glamorous look” or “this is my smile for those commercial agents”? Quite simply, which one of those photos make you want to meet that person? That, ultimately, is what your photograph needs to do for your career: It must make the casting person or director who...read more