Suzie Lavelle grew up in Ireland. After leaving school, she travelled to Australia and through Europe working at a variety of jobs including grape picking and waitressing. Her travels inspired her love of photography. She took an opportunity to study photography at Stevenson College, Edinburgh. This led to art school in Farnham at SIAD where she specialised in Film in the Camera Department led by Noski Deville - a teacher who really inspired her. Noski helped Suzie get professional work as a trainee and loader, and introduced her to the Camerimage Festival. One evening there she plucked up the courage and asked Roger Deakins BSC for career advice on becoming a DOP - he said ‘Try and go to the NFTS’.
With her art school graduation film as her show reel and her first class degree, she took his advice and secured a place at the NFTS, learning her craft under Brian Tufano BSC.
She graduated in 2006 and began working with fine artists, shooting films for Rosalind Nashashibi, Charlotte Prodger and Zineb Sedira. These were predominately captured and projected on 16mm in art galleries around the world. At this time, she also shot many short form projects.
In 2010 she shot her first feature, 'One Hundred Mornings', which won the Irish Film and Television Award (IFTA) for best Cinematography. This led to her second feature film 'The Other Side of Sleep' which premiered at the Directors fortnight in Cannes Film Festival 2011 and was also nominated for an IFTA for cinematography.
Suzie’s TV career began in 2012 with an episode of Doctor Who directed by Douglas McKinnon, and she was asked back a number of times between 2012 and 2016. In 2015 she and Douglas collaborated again on Sherlock, The Abominable Bride, for Hartswood and the BBC. For this she won an RTS Award and received an Emmy nomination in 2016 for Best Cinematography in a limited series.
In 2018 she was invited to join the BSC, having been proposed by Andy Cooper at Movietech.
Since 2016 she has continued as a DoP in high end TV including Vikings, His Dark Materials and A Discovery of Witches. Her most recent work was Normal People with director Lenny Abrahamson and Element Pictures.
She has been nominated in 2020 for the BSC Award for Best Cinematography in a TV Drama and a BAFTA for Cinematography for her work on His Dark Materials.