A Tauranga wedding photographer has won his fourth consecutive award in a prestigious nationwide competition.
Justin Aitken was named the Wedding In-Camera Artistry winner at the Nikon/NZ Institute of Professional Photographers Iris Awards.
It was the fourth year in a row Aitken has won one of the wedding categories, which he said was "very exciting" and the "icing on the cake" because photography was his passion.
"I'm also super stoked to win the Wedding In-Camera category in particular, as post-production changes to the images including photo-shopping are not allowed."
Aitken said his Wedding In-Camera entry included an image created using a 45mm tilt-shift lens shooting through a glass triangle prism and using chandelier lights for interest.
"It's all about my couples. It's totally their day, and I'm just super grateful to be part of it.
"If I can bring a positive and fun energy to their big day while capturing everything that unfolds as creatively as possible, I can then leave their wedding at the end of the night feeling stoked for them - that's my goal."
Aitken also won a gold medal in the Travel section of the awards for an image created from his trip to Ethiopia last year.
The Tauranga photographer also scored nine silver awards across the three categories - Wedding In-Camera, Travel and Documentary sections and was also a finalist in the Travel category.
The Nikon/ NZPP Iris Awards are the country's biggest print awards for professional photographers and judged over 12 categories, with 2740 entries this year.
Aitken, who photographs weddings all around the country, won the same category last year and was also a finalist in the Wedding Open category in 2019.
Aitken said 2020 had been particularly hard for wedding photographers due to the Covid-19 restrictions.
"Personally, I usually do about 35 to 40 weddings from October to April, sometimes two or three a week, but due to the restrictions, I've had about 18 to 19 postponements."
Aitken said it was "very uncertain" times, and while he had taken wedding photographs a couple of weeks ago and a few elopements in recent weeks they were much smaller affairs.
"I have several bookings later in the year, but it has been definitely been tough financially but I'm trying to stay positive, and I know other people are worse off than me."
Aitken said he was also exploring opportunities in the commercial photography sector and the wins would help him tout for new business.
NZIPP president Catherine Cattanach said Aitken had established himself as a
"major talent" in the New Zealand photography community.
"It was great to see him take away this title again ... His photos always show a beautiful use of light and a lot of honesty.
"Both categories are for non-composite images with very limited photoshop allowed, and I think the strength of Justin's imagery shows he's a true master of his craft."
Pāpāmoa photographer Rochelle Withel was made an Associate of the NZIPP and received her NZIPP Masters of Photography with distinction during the awards.
For more details about the other winners visit the NZIPP Facebook page.