Five Questions for Don Kinsella, Deputy Director of Photography

Five Questions for Don Kinsella, Deputy Director of Photography
Ever looked at a magazine's masthead and wondered just what do all those job titles actually mean? What does a photo producer actually do? Does a deputy art director get a shiny badge? And why are some people creative directors and others design directors? 
Our blog series "Five Questions for..."  is here to help answer those questions and give you insight into working in the world of publication design. Is there a particular job that you want to know more about? Email  us at and we'll find an expert who does it. They'll give you their take, and then it's up to you to put their advice to work. Read on to find out what being a Deputy Director of Photography is like for Don Kinsella.

This series is edited by Joseph Caserto

The Pro's Work




About the Pro
SPDU_5Q4_DonKinsella_01.jpgDon Kinsella
Deputy Director of Photography
Works for: Men's Health Magazine 
Degree Earned: BA, Photography
Instagram: @donkinsella

1. Imagine you're talking to someone who has never heard of your job. How would you describe it to them?
First I would explain that I don't take the photos for the magazine, which a lot of people who don't work in magazines assume. I like to think of my job as one that allows creative people to create, with guidance and art direction from me when necessary. In more concrete terms. I assign, produce and art direct photo shoots for Men's Health, staying true to the creative and editorial goals of what we are trying to accomplish for each story.

2. What about your job makes you love it?
Most of the time it doesn't feel like work. I love the relationships I have with the photographers I work with. When it's really clicking, you're part of a cohesive team, with the photographers, designers and editors sharing the same goal to create something special. Back in the days of film, opening a box of contact sheets made seeing the results of every shoot feel like unwrapping a present on Christmas morning. I still have that feeling.

3. What do you think of as the big break in your career?
It would have to be my first number one position at Runner's World. Robert Festino had just been hired as the Creative Director and was looking for someone to update the photography direction. I had gotten to know him when he worked with my wife at Entertainment Weekly. We met up the night he presented his redesign to the board at Rodale and I loved what he had done. We worked really closely and together learned that we could push expectations for the magazine and in the process have a really good time. I've tried to keep that spirit at every place I've been since.
4. What is your biggest professional mistake or regret?
I like to think that I've learned from my mistakes and have come out the other side in a better place. Whether that's completely true or not may be debatable, but it's how I look at it and allows me to keep moving forward and continue to grow.

5. What advice or parting words do you have for anyone who wants to do what you do?
Stay involved. Whether it's going to the newsstand every month to see what people are doing, visiting galleries, or looking at photo blogs and websites, it's important to take in what the creative world has to offer. This is a wonderful time to be in the visual media because there are so many outlets and means of seeing work. To sum it up, I would say be open to many different possibilities.

Is there a particular job that you want to know more about? Email us at and we'll find an expert who does it. They'll give you their take, and then it's up to you to put their advice to work. 

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