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PDN Magazine “Jinsey Dauk Brings Naturalism To Headshots”

Posted by on 11:15 am in Headshots, Recent Features | Comments Off on PDN Magazine “Jinsey Dauk Brings Naturalism To Headshots”

PDN Magazine “Jinsey Dauk Brings Naturalism To Headshots”

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;...

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Annual Headshot Issue in Backstage featuring Jinsey

Posted by on 8:51 am in Headshots, Recent Features | Comments Off on Annual Headshot Issue in Backstage featuring Jinsey

Annual Headshot Issue in Backstage featuring Jinsey

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...

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How to snap up a great photographer

Posted by on 11:07 am in Recent Features, Weddings | Comments Off on How to snap up a great photographer

How to snap up a great photographer

From Bride Magazine Excerpt from article: New York Photographer Jinsey Dauk also favors a loose documentary style, and uses natural lighting as opposed to strobes or flashes whenever possible. “It makes the photographs looks more authentic,” explains Dauk, who takes about 1,800 shots during the course of a wedding. “Then after a post-wedding consultation with the couple, i whittle that number down to an amount that works for them. Those are the shots I present to them in an...

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