11 questions for lisa o'dwyer: pull up a chair and pour some tea!


1. lisa, you have a unique style. i am able to pick out your images from other photographers. can you give me three words that describe your work. why these three words?

Artsy, fun, pretty. Artsy because I studied Art History at college and this is a major influence. I’m inspired by art that I’ve seen and consciously want to make my photographs art. Composing the shot so it’s just not a snapshot. Fun because we all want to remember the joy and laughter in life. During a shoot or wedding, I’m always looking for the laughs and genuine emotions. Pretty because I appreciate the details and efforts that go into weddings and events. I love making art of a bouquet or jewellery. I put a lot of thought into arranging these objects so that they are like a still-life in a painting. I also want to capture people looking their best….beautiful and happy!

2. i have been watching your work closely because of your move towards film. tell me more. i absolutely love film.

I love it too! I learned to shoot film in school back in the 90s on a manual Canon camera of my mom’s from the 70s. I learned how to develop and print B&W film in the darkroom and I really loved the process involved with shooting film. When I started doing weddings here a couple of years ago, I started with a digital SLR. I had to learn Photoshop and digital exposure on my own. For me, film is more natural and it’s what I started on. Film is able to retain highlights where digital exposure doesn’t without getting too technical. Now there are labs that are able to develop, scan, and print at the same time and do a better job than I can developing digital within Photoshop on my own. I love that I can send my film away and don’t have to do all of the technical work myself. I’m doing a refresher course in B&W developing and printing this summer though, an infared course, and also a fine art lithography printing course. I’d love to offer clients something really different and more custom than what a digital photographer can offer. I hope to fully transition to film by this time next year.

3. how do your brides feel about your move towards film? do they care? do they want digital work?

Most couples whom I’ve met with are intrigued by film. I attract an artistic clientele already with my digital work, and so they are open to the idea of film. I’ve found that most clients want their photos on a disc in digital form though. Some don’t even order albums, they only want the disc. But the problem with this is that those photos never get printed sometimes. Sure they may get facebooked and put into digital frames, but the client may never hold those photos in print form. With film, the client always get a print. The digital scans are extra. Prints from film, especially hand-printed ones from a darkroom are really beautiful. There is a dimension and beauty to them and you can see the difference. It’s not for the budget couple though. There is more expense in creating fine-art film prints and scans. It is defintiely for a more discerning client. Personally, I’m growing tired of digital everything. Maybe it’s the rebel in me. I don’t even own a smartphone or ipad.

4. we love the quirky factor here in WD HQ: what is one thing you do, that drives those closest to you mad?

Ha ha! Complain about the Irish weather? It’s probably asking for other’s opinions and then doing the opposite. That’s the rebel again. I don’t want to follow the crowd 🙂

5. what makes you happy, as in deliriously happy?

Sunshine! And cuddling with my kids in the morning 🙂

6. if you give yourself a day off, where can i find you hiding out?

Outside if it’s sunny and warm. I like to go to Pollardstown Fen near The Curragh where we live for walks with my two little boys and hubby.

7. cake or chocolate?

Tough one. Cake. Any flavour will do!

8. what is the single most important piece of advice that you can give to your brides and grooms about photography?

Too many people seem here seem to buy strictly based on price. It’s more important to find a photographer whose style you like and whom you get along with. Why get the cheapest photographer if you’re going to be too embarrased to show those photos to anyone after the wedding? And regret that you didn’t allow more in your budget for the photographer you really wanted? Also, let your friends and family enjoy your wedding day. Don’t put them under pressure to take your wedding pictures. I made the sorry mistake of thinking our friends and family could take shots at our registry office wedding using my slick SLR camera. The shots are simply snapshots that I’d be embarrased to frame. We have NO wedding photos that I can show anyone. I learned my lesson the hard way.

9. lisa, do you dabble in videography at all?

No. I don’t think one person can be skilled in both. They are two different art forms. I do love artistic cinematography produced with DSLRs and Super-8 like my colleague Rodolphe from Best day Productions does.

10. if you could pick any international destination to shoot in, where would you go.

I lived in Florence Italy for a couple months and would absolutely love to go back there. I can see the wedding shots already in my mind that I would create there! Also, I lived in Japan for 2 years and would love to go back there. It’s such a beautiful country and it would be so amazing to shoot a wedding there.

11. i love cooking for friends. what is that one thing that you love doing for others?

I’ve given myself totally to my children…two little boys who are 5 and 3. I love doing things for them like taking them to school and picking them up. Having lunch with them and having dinner together as a family. Reading them books and playing games with them. I’m so lucky that I’m able to be at home with them and also have a fulfilling job as a photographer.

connect with lisa today. you will not regret meeting the rebel in her. we speak from experience: 
Claire Burge
The Wedding Dates Team