Catherine Falls photographer based in Northern Ireland with her husband and three children. Her work spans across the board from Weddings, Engagements, Newborn, Commercial, Portraits, Fashion and Family. She works in a studio or on location… anywhere! She has photographed Zoe Salmon, Chizzy Akudolu, Abz Love, Thomas Dominique and me Karen Bryson. We at Those London Chicks are pleased as punch Catherine has taken the time out to chat with us.
Had you always wanted to be a photographer or had you other ambitions growing up?
I have always known I wanted to be a photographer or videographer. I have had a camera in my hand since I was a child. I used to make my friends and siblings pose and act for me in little productions that I would put together. I remember I used to get quite passionate and obsessive, and that’s a quality that I still have to this day. When I got a bit older it was the still photography that really started to take my interest, and I have shoeboxes packed full of photographs that I would take of my friends. It was of course a very different process back then, as everything was based around film, but the underlying motive of wanting to document everything around me was just the same for me then as it is now.
What was your journey to get to this point?
I studied until I was 18, and went on to university to complete a degree in film and photography. However, I feel it was the experience I gained after university that was what was the most valuable to me. It wasn’t long after I graduated that I got married and had my first son, Jack, and I worried about what affect having kids would have on my career path. Looking back, I feel it has strengthened it in many ways. It gave me time and opportunity to practice my photography techniques on my little muses, and now it allows me to connect on a personal level with families, parents and children, who I work with regularly. You have to carve your own path and be proud of your journey. It will be different for everyone.
…On the shoot itself I try and keep things as relaxed as possible…
You work with clients documenting some important milestones in their lives. Do you feel the pressure?
I feel the pressure every time I photograph a wedding. It is so important not to miss anything. It is such a life changing day with so many special moments. But ultimately I really enjoy telling the story of the day through my photography. I think that goes back to the games I would play as a child – I just love telling stories, and photography allows me to do that. I don’t feel as much pressure during family / lifestyle shoots as they are much more laid back.
If someone were to book you for a session or event. What is your process?
They would get in touch with me via my website contact form / email / text / Instagram (I am very contactable!) and we would discuss prices, dates and the purpose of the shoot. If they want to go ahead with it, we choose a date and location. On the shoot itself I try and keep things as relaxed as possible, and put my clients at ease while I take the photographs,
working with the light and the location to get the best possible suite of images. Then I’ll go back to the studio to curate and edit the images, after which I’ll upload them to an online gallery where the clients, and their families and friends, can view them, download them or order prints from the fantastic lab I work with.
Your elegant, cinematic style is so distinctive. Has that developed over the years?
Thank you! Yes, definitely. My style has changed throughout the years, but I believe artists constantly evolve and improve, and I hope and believe I will continue to grow as a photographer.
Are there any life events that you draw upon as inspiration in your creative process?
I wasn’t pleased with my own wedding photographs, or the experience. So, I would always try to give my clients an amazing experience where they feel special and have fun. I have also recently lost my dear Grandfather. He allowed me to photograph him as much as I wanted. I think all of us our inclined to refuse to be in a photo since our hair / makeup isn’t perfect, or we don’t feel very photogenic that day. The many photos I took of my Pappy have turned out to be very special to us. I believe we should all photograph our loved ones lots and allow ourselves to be photographed. Because one day those memories will be invaluable.
What are your favourite type of shoots?
I really like family/newborn/lifestyle sessions. And I also really enjoy commercial shoots. Basically I just love taking photographs!
Who is your favourite photographer?
There are so so many amazing photographers in Ireland alone, and I’m lucky to count many of them as friends. I think it’s important and comforting to have a good community behind you to help one another and learn from each other. I am also fortunate to have been to a few workshops to hear some of the photographer greats. However, if we’re talking about all time greats then I think it has to be Annie Leibovitz – she’s so inspiring, both in terms of her collosal success and profile in what is usually a male-dominated industry, but also in how intimate and personal her photographs can be. For something totally different, I also really like Jan Svankmajer’s cinematic style.
Finally, what advice would you give to an up and coming photographer?
Decent equipment (At least one full framed camera body and a all-rounder prime lens) Hours of practice. I think ultimately it must be or become your sole source of income as you will only improve with practical experience. Arrange styled shoots with other creative individuals. Attend photography workshops to meet and learn from others. And finally, hustle.