Whether you are a parent wanting beautiful pictures of your children, an amateur photographer looking to learn more about portrait photography or somebody who just likes to read an interesting interview accompanied by pretty pictures, these posts are for you…
I am Catarina Zimbarra and since 2004 I’ve been documenting real life and real people. I’m a mother of a little girl, happy and so blessed to capture true moments of love.
When and how did you fall in love with photography?
When I was a kid, I remember my Dad always with a camera in his hand, trying to capture true and unique family moments. Soon I realized I was as crazy about photography as he was, and then my Dad taught me everything I needed to know to start composing, shooting and enjoying life.
Have you had any formal training?
Yes. I had photography classes during my high school (it was an Art School) and then at University when I took my degree in Graphic Design. Over several years I learned with the best teachers/photographers, learning all the basic principals, dark room revelations and history. And I still want to learn more!
How would you describe your photography style?
I don’t want to say unique, but I need to say true. True to myself, capturing those special and inspiring moments of happiness that are so spontaneous in life. My style is definitely contemporary, fun and real.
What inspires your work?
Mostly love. I live among people in love. In love with their families, kids, wives, brothers etc and that unique connection is where I find inspiration to capture true moments. It’s so funny when in a photo session I realize I’m doing amazing photos due to my state of mind. And I’m happy because they’re happy. So, definitely, my clients help me to give them the best of me.
When did you first start out in portraiture photography?
Back in 2004, I started my wedding photography business and in 2007 I started my project with babies and families. I thought it would be amazing to be part of so many wonderful families and join them through life.
Where are you based and how far would you travel for a shoot?
I’m based in Lisbon, Portugal but I travel as far as a client asks me. I love to travel.
How many portrait sessions do you shoot per year?
Around 60 portrait sessions, including maternity, babies and kids.
Could you please share some details of a shoot you particularly enjoyed capturing?
It’s always nice to shoot families and babies, tiny ones. But I remember one particular shoot at the beach I love. Loved because it was a kid I’ve been photographing since his first year, because I just love his mother and their bond. And most of all because he’s really demanding and a challenge for me in every photo shoot. He’s so much energy and never stops for a second definitely he challenges my skills, and pushes me to the limit. And seeing the result of such difficult time with him, running, jumping around, it’s the most rewarding thing. Beautiful images captured with so much love and happiness. Those are truly moments of inspiration.
What would be your idea of a dream portraiture shoot?
I’ve never thought of that before, but I could say it would be fun to do a big family photo shoot inside Versailles. I just love that dramatic feeling. ;)
What is your favourite age to photograph and why?
Babies are so cute, but I’ll say 4 years old. When they could interact and talk with you and we both could enjoy fun moments together.
What advice would you give to parents that want you to photograph their little ones?
Let kids be themselves. Don’t ask them for smiles and formal poses. Don’t worry about perfect moments because the most perfect are the true ones that you want to keep forever.
What camera(s) do you use for your portraiture work?
I use a Canon 5D Mark II.
And your favourite lenses?
50mm f.14, 16-35mm f2.8 and 85mm f1.8.
Do you use any lighting equipment?
No, I only use natural light.
What advice would you give to wannabe portrait photographers?
I think you should be true to you, to your heart and style. Don’t try to be someone you’re not because the most amazing photos and work comes out of your heart and inspiration. Of course you could be inspired by others but you really need to find your own style and talent.
What has been your proudest moment as a photographer?
I could say winning awards or big professional compliments… but I think I would say “where I’m today”. It’s not a “proudest moment” but it’s more like I’m proud of myself, my journey all these years and how much I’ve grown as a photographer and a person. And what makes me proud is knowing that I always have been true, studying hard trying to be better, giving the best for my clients. They are my inspiration and what I offer them makes be proud of myself
Out of all the photographs you have ever taken (professionally or otherwise), which is your favourite and why?
Oh, that’s the hardest question of all. I couldn’t pic just one but I could chose one from that photo shoot at the beach, (the hard one). Because of the challenge, I was running after him all the time, and seeing the result and the happiness of my client seeing his child like that…it’s priceless.
If you could capture anybody or anything on camera what would it be?
It would be amazing capture the first days of my grandchild. But for now, I stay with such precious moments of my One-Year-old girl :)
Just so we can find out a bit more about the person behind the lens, could you tell me 5 things you like that are completely unrelated to photography?
Besides my family of course, I love:
Coffee with Pão de ló (A typical Portuguese cake made with lots of eggs)
Travel (long ones)
Sew and make craft things just for fun
All day at the beach
And 5 things you dislike?
Rainy days when I have a photo shoot
Changing smelly diapers
What are your aspirations for the future, in photography or otherwise?
I know it’s a cliché saying I just want to be happy. Because I’m happy and I have a truly amazing life, but you always wants more. For me, it’s all about being recognized as a good photographer as also a good person. My aspirations are about growing as a photographer, doing what I love most in my country and abroad. It would be amazing if I could travel the world photographing happy families.