March 23, 2021 | Awards

An Interview with Gareth Lima-Conlon — Wedding Photographer of the Year 2021

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Overall Wedding Photographer of the Year 2021 and winner of the Documentary Wedding 2021 sub-category.

a bride and groom hold hands as they walk down the tracks in a wheat field as the sun sets behind them
Gareth Lima-Conlon — Silver Award, Classic Wedding

Gareth Lima-Conlon is the other half of an IPPVA photography power-couple — we interviewed his wife, Lidi, last week — and this is his second time claiming 1st prize in the Overall Wedding Photographer of the Year, having previously won it in 2018.

The IPPVA breaks down the wedding photography awards into three sub-categories. This year, Gareth came first in Documentary Wedding, second in Classic Wedding, and third in Creative Wedding.

What draws me most to this job is the story and connections that will unfold on your wedding day. For me, having a front-row seat to witness and document the history being made is something that honestly makes me pinch myself every day. Marriage is all about love and family and I look to convey that narrative throughout all my images.

Gareth Lima-Conlon
bride and groom with guests and sparklers
Gareth Lima-Conlon — Silver Award, Documentary Wedding Category

Would you share with us a little bit of background on the awarded work?

Being awarded Wedding Photographer of the Year is an incredible honour for me and it’s certainly been great for marketing my business but most of all I feel it pushes me to create better images.

I’ve been incredibly fortunate to work with some amazing couples and although being a wedding photographer has taken me to some spectacular locations my biggest inspiration still comes from the people that I’m photographing and the moments that I’m witnessing. It’s a process that very much involves my clients having complete trust in what I do. 

Most of my approach on a wedding day is in a documentary style but there are certain parts of the day that might require a small bit of direction so having willing and trusting clients really helps to create natural-looking images.

a bride embraces her crying father
Gareth Lima-Conlon — Silver Award, Documentary Wedding Category

We know a lot of our readers will love to hear more about gear, equipment and post-treatment. Tell us more.

I haven’t made the jump to mirrorless yet but will probably do so at some stage next year. Right now though, I’m quite happy with my current setup although I do love the idea of a flip screen!

  • I shoot with a Canon 5d Mark IV and three lenses.
  • 24-35mm f/2.0 – I originally had a 24mm f/1.4 but recently swapped it out of this 24-35mm f/2.0. I just love the versatility and quality of this wide-angle lens. 
  • 50mm f/1.4 – This lens is a real workhorse for me and I have a good use for it during most parts of the day.  
  • 85mm f.1.4 – I mostly use this lens during the ceremony and speeches when I’m restricted from getting close but it’s also great for portraits.

In post-production, I use Lightroom to correct colour, exposure, and any local adjustments necessary. Occasionally I might need to take an image to Photoshop to remove something but I mostly try to get it right in camera. It saves me so much time.

a bride, with her back to the camera, faces her joyful parents, who are embracing while they look at her
Gareth Lima-Conlon — Silver Award, Documentary Wedding Category

What are you working on at the moment? Any personal projects or commissions you want to share with us?

To be honest I’ve been trying to make the most of the “downtime” and just get through this lockdown! I took lots of personal shots last summer when all this was still a bit of a novelty so hopefully, as the weather picks up again I’ll get back to it.

I gave some older cameras and lenses to my 5-year-old son so he has been busier than me shooting around the house. It’s actually inspiring to see him exploring and noticing things like some lovely light that might start to appear through the window in the evening. I’ll give I’m another couple of years before I put him to work.

bride and groom dance apart from each other during the first dace at a wedding reception. They are surrounded by a cheerful crowd who are watching them
Gareth Lima-Conlon — Silver Award, Documentary Wedding Category

Is there a particular image or artist that has inspired/moved you?

Oh god, the list is endless. I’m always discovering new artists and images that move me. I tend to draw a lot of inspiration from things outside of wedding photography funnily enough.

Recently every image by Michael Sidofsky (@Mindz.Eye) really seems to stop me in my tracks. I love cinematic movies and especially TV shows like Better Call Saul, The Handmaid’s Tale & The Crown, just to name a few. The lighting and composition is just incredible to watch.

dark image with faint light falling on a woman in a wedding dress, posed with flowers and in the center of the image
Gareth Lima-Conlon — Bronze Award, Creative Wedding Category

Have you had any other professions before becoming a photographer? Did you study photography or are you self-taught?

I worked as a manager in hospitality before this but as soon as we had our first child I knew it was time for me to find a new career as the late nights were never going to work for us.

My wife Lidi was just starting off her photography career so I came on board to work behind the scenes and manage the business side of things. She had aspirations of also doing weddings before she really found her feet and hone in on her passion for newborn photography. 

During that time she got booked for her first wedding and she needed a second photographer so she managed to teach me some of the camera basics and how to use manual control. I guess I must have been subconsciously picking up things as she spent many evenings listening to online workshops because it seemed to make sense to me from early on and after shooting the first wedding with her, that was it, I was hooked! 

Our business soon evolved into me taking over the wedding photography side of things and Lidi focusing on her passion for newborn photography.

bride and groom surrounded by out of focus lights
Gareth Lima-Conlon — Bronze Award, Creative Wedding Category

What would be your 3 main tips for a photographer with a strong portfolio of personal work wanting to start a business?

  1. Take a few free gigs first to get some professional images under your belt. Find a mentor who can help you curate these images to show on your website and social media. Don’t be afraid to approach other photographers in Ireland. If you can do this it will help you enter the market at a more sustainable price point.
  2. Invest in yourself. Attend workshops and online courses, get a strong website and consistent branding across all platforms. Try to set yourself apart early on. 
  3. Don’t dilute your brand with other genres of photography that you might also do. Create a separate place for them. For example, couples looking for a quality wedding photographer will be more drawn to a website that just focuses just on wedding photography. Show them that this is your specialty!
bride and groom embrace, outside on an overcast day with lush green hill in the background. The bride vail appears to be flowing with the wind
Gareth Lima-Conlon — Bronze Award, Classic Wedding Category

What would you most love to photograph right now if Covid restrictions weren’t a reality? What do you miss the most?

I’d actually love to photograph a music festival, especially one of the first ones back after the restrictions have been lifted. Just floating around capturing people reconnecting. I’m sure it would be beyond emotional!


Find out more about Gareth Lima-Conlon

IPPVA OVERALL WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2021 IPPVA WEDDING DOCUMENTARY PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2021 Gareth is an award winning wedding photographer who specialises on natural modern and elegant photography. Offering a unique and stre...

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