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Meet BTP Team: Interview with Photographer Catherine O'Hara

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Meet BTP Team: Interview with Photographer Catherine O'Hara

We continue the series of interviews with Better Travel Photos photographers who share their knowledge and passion for photography with our participants in both Paris and London. This time we are excited to introduce our photographer Catherine O'Hara!

Born and raised in Ireland with a predominantly equestrian background, Catherine came to the City of Light to pursue her studies in the prestigious Speos Photographic Institute and a subsequent career in wedding photography. Her photography style can be described as photojournalistic, subtle, tasteful, and extremely elegant. So who is this girl, often seen in the streets of Paris with her trusty camera, accompanied by her dog Percy? Let's ask Catherine a few questions...

Photo by Catherine O'Hara 11

BTP: Catherine, how did you discover photography and how long have you been doing this?

Catherine: I was a relative latecomer to photography. My first love was horses and that is what I did in my “previous life” but it proved to not be a long term career goal. Photography had always been in the back of my mind for quite a few years and I got to the age where I thought if I didn’t embrace it now it might never happen so I turned a passing interest into an education! I moved to Paris five and a half years ago to study photography for a year at an international school here called Speos and never looked back. Sometimes I am lucky enough to get the chance to combine my two loves which is always a fun moment!

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BTP: What type of subjects do you enjoy shooting the most and why?

Catherine: As a wedding and lifestyle photographer I enjoy capturing those sweet and natural moments between couples. I like showing their relationship at it’s best and most authentic. As a girl who loves details I also enjoy shooting the bride getting ready and all the details like rings etc that goes with that. Part of photography is story telling and what better story to tell through the lens is one of the most important days of a couples life.

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BTP: What brought you to Paris? How did you start working with Better Travel Photos?

Catherine: I moved here five and a half years ago to study photography for a year and ended up staying, Paris seems to be hard to leave! I was introduced to Sophie by a mutual friend and my time with BTP just blossomed from there!

Photo by Catherine O'Hara 3

BTP: You have been doing photo tours and portrait sessions for three and a half years. How would you describe your current photographic / teaching approach?

Catherine: My photographic approach is quiet and photojournalistic mostly with some directing and guiding added as and when necessary to create the most authentic vision of the subjects personalities. My teaching approach is encouraging and step by step and rather than bombarding with information. The student learns with support and guidance to work through any photographic questions as they arise.

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BTP: What are your sources of inspiration? Which photographers most influenced you?

Catherine: The original master like Henri Cartier Bresson are always an inspiration to photographers. In my field of work I am inspired by Tanja Lippert and Ryan Muirhead for their emotive portraits and I also love the work of fashion photographer Paolo Roversi whom I was lucky enough to have had a lecture from when I was in Speos.

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BTP: In your opinion, what makes a good portrait?

Catherine: Good quality light and emotion are the most important elements for me in a portrait. Nice light can make anywhere look beautiful but bad light can make even the most amazing location look flat and not at it’s best, and the same with people.

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BTP: You are known as an avid Instagram user. What does mobile photography mean to you? In your opinion, does the type of the camera matter in photography?

Catherine: As they say the best camera is the one that you have in your hand. Sometimes I find that the best photos just pop up from nowhere when you aren’t looking to necessarily shoot. The newer iPhones have such a good camera that when I am not working or have something specific I want to shoot I just use my phone to document daily life. It also helps be discreet when you aren’t carrying around a DSLR too.

Photo by Catherine O'Hara 1

BTP: What is the photograph or a photo project that you are the most proud of?

Catherine: I don’t really have one, maybe/hopefully in the future. I am proud though when I finish a wedding with a great couple who has entrusted me to document their day and I am happy to be given that responsibility.

Photo by Catherine O'Hara 2

Thank you for sharing your insights, Catherine! For more of Catherine's travel photography and portrait sessions, see her portfolio on our website and follow us on social media.

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About the Author

Nadia Gric

Nadia Gric

Nadia is passionate about the visual aspect of life and the personalities she meets along the way. Living in the heart of Paris, Nadia never stops exploring the City of Light through her camera and readily shares her knowledge and love for photography.