Talented wedding photographer Mairéad McDaid has become the first Irish woman to win this prestigious international award.

Congratulations to Mairéad McDaid of Remain in Light Photography, who was announced last week as one of Rangefinder Magazine’s 30 Rising Stars of Wedding Photography.

Mairéad, originally from Shantallow, Derry, and now based in Stranorlar, Co. Donegal, is the first Irish woman (and just the 5th photographer from Ireland) to be selected in the 10 years that this award has been running.

Every year, New York’s Rangefinder Magazine selects 30 photographers from around the world “who are creating an indelible mark on the industry and inspiring it to evolve aesthetically”. The photographers selected must have been working full-time in wedding photography for no more than 5 years at the time of nomination. 

Mairéad began Remain in Light photography as a part-time business in London, England, in 2015, before relocating to Bray, Co. Wicklow in 2017, and finally to Donegal in 2018 where she began working at it full-time. In late 2021 her husband Ciarán joined her, making Remain in Light a proper family business.

Remain in Light Photography

Rangefinder Rising Stars represents the highest level of international recognition for wedding photographers.

Mairéad said: “The wedding industry in Ireland is so vibrant, with all our beautiful locations, dedicated suppliers, and talented photographers. I feel very lucky to be the first Irish woman to win this award as there are so many Irish women who are doing outstanding work right now.”

“I love the northwest so much, it’s where I grew up and it’s my home again now – I know people from all over Ireland who have only started to visit this part of the island since 2020 and are blown away by its beauty. It’s a special place full of special people, and I’m proud to be able to represent it internationally.”

Portait of Mairead – Remain in Light Photography
Remain in Light Photography

In Ireland, the wedding industry is worth an approximate €2.3 billion to the economy, but has faced massive revenue losses since 2020 due to Covid-related restrictions.

Mairead said: “The last couple of years have been tough for weddings. So many small businesses in Ireland and abroad have been struggling, not to mention the financial and emotional cost for the couples and families who have had to change their plans. Weddings and celebrations are something we do well in Ireland, it’s an important part of our culture, and hopefully we can bring some broader awareness of what it takes to keep it going.” 

Mairéad is hoping that her experiences in developing her business over the years can be put to use to help other Irish women to follow their passions. In 2022 she will begin offering mentoring to other photographers and small business owners.

Remain in Light Photography Engagement Shoot