Originally from Merseyside in North West England, Suzanne is a Director of Photography with over 17 years experience in the industry. She first moved to London to work for a camera and lighting rental house as an in-house technician and camera assistant, before leaving to work as a freelance assistant on high end dramas. Suzanne started shooting on documentaries, learning how to shoot quickly and work with natural light. She has regularly attended courses and masterclasses throughout her career and developed a striking and detail-focused lighting style through her extensive work on short films, as well as commercials, promos and publicity.
Suzanne studied Media Production in Liverpool and was encouraged to take on as much work experience as possible during that time. She worked for the BBC, Channel 4 and ITV as well as a number of independent production companies in documentary, studio, advertising and corporate. By the end of her time studying she had realised that her passion was camerawork, so she moved to London to learn and find work in this field.
Working for camera and lighting rental houses, she was able to learn the intricacies of how the equipment worked and how to fix things on location. She worked on set as a camera and lighting assistant and then later as a camera operator on a wide rage of programmes. Her main interest was in film and drama so, on leaving to be freelance, Suzanne pursued work as a camera trainee, starting again by learning to use a new range of equipment and a very different set etiquette. Alongside her work, she continued her study by completing courses at Arri Lighting, Panavision, the National Film and Television School, and regularly attended seminars with Cinematographers organised by BAFTA, the BSC and at the Bristol Cinematography Festival. In 2014 she completed the ASC Masterclass in LA, with classes lead by Paul Cameron ASC, Karl Walter Lidenlaub ASC and Bill Bennett ASC.
Over the course of her career, Suzanne has always worked on short films as passion projects to practice her skills and to stay connected to what first brought her into the industry. To date, she has DOP'd over 30 independent films, most of them scripted narrative shorts. Her films have been selected for a number of BAFTA, BIFA and OSCAR accredited festivals and she enjoys continuing to explore working in new creative styles in this area.
Suzanne has worked as a Camera Operator on high end drama, with credits including Tina and Bobby a 3 part drama for ITV and more recently on House of the Dragon for HBO. She has also shot a number of documentaries about the "making of" feature films, including Christopher Nolan's Tenet, Taika Waititi's Jojo Rabbit and Matthew Vaugn's Argylle, where she also lit the interviews with the main cast and crew.
Suzanne is a full member of the Guild of British Camera Technicians, a Friend of the Association of Camera Operators and a member of BAFTA Connect.
Suzanne was selected for British Cinematographer's "Meet the New Wave" Feature. The full article can be viewed here;
Her debut Feature Film Guardians was reviewed by Jane Foster for Britflicks, saying,
"Cinematographer Suzanne Smith gives the film a cinematic look that is precisely right for the piece and is super even throughout. Accurate, seamless photography that again obeys the first rule of film making – Cover the scene. Considering the complexity of the story and the miniscule budget, this was no mean feat. It just goes to show that no matter the restrictions, talent will always show, and GUARDIANS is a perfect example of what can be achieved with good communication, honesty and true collaborative spirit."
Please find a link to more information about Guardians here