Celebrating the year 2020? Yes, you read that correctly.
If you’re reading this in the future, you may not be aware of the pure, flaming-hot dumpster fire that were the 365 days of the year 2020. The year brought devastating brushfires and wildfires, record high temperatures, political and civil unrest (to put it lightly), the loss of important leaders, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and civil rights icon Representative John Lewis, and not the least of all, the global pandemic of COVID-19. If you’re a glutton for punishment, you can read more about the events 2020 on History.com.
2020 was a hard year for me. I’m sure it was for everyone. It was challenging personally and also challenging as a small business owner. But, I was inspired by some of my fellow photographers to take a look back at the year at the work I created and my top accomplishments. Admittedly, it wasn’t until I saw all this work compiled, that I realized just how much I did accomplish in 2020. It’s easy to forget to look back and reflect when life continues to rush you forward. While I take this moment to look backwards, I wish you and the world a better year in 2021.
It’s a Mood
In 2020, I had the opportunity to meet and work with many new people. I love creating moody, style images whether doing so while exploring the side streets of Downtown Lancaster, PA or in my favorite studio space Hingework. All these models brought their all to these shoots which resulted in vivid photographs.
Featured above in order: (Click to see their full shoot)
For the first time, I had the opportunity to photograph food—on two different occasions. My love for food rivals my love of photography, so this is really the best match their could be! These shoots were great learning opportunities, and I am really happy with the results.
My first food shoot featured the culinary artistry of Maritsa Cortes who prepared vegan versions of traditional Puerto Rican foods. Maritsa is really a master of her craft, and I’m really excited that she is pursuing her dreams with her own vegan butcher business—Lancaster Vegan Meats. I can’t wait to see her endeavor flourish. Check out my full photoshoot of her dishes here.
Additionally, I worked with home chef Sara to photograph her Italian dinners and drinks.
I am always thrilled to work with pets, whether I am photographing them on their own or they’re being included with a solo, couple, or family photo session. Pets are always welcome at Chris Corrao: Stories & Portraits, and I have enjoyed working with many clients who were specifically seeking pet-friendly photographers.
Just like humans, each animal truly has their own personality. So, it is fun meeting and working with pets during a photoshoot. I also appreciate that pets, and animals in general, always give unconditional love and gentleness. Some of my favorite pet photos of 2020 are above, and I especially enjoy the photos of T-bone the Corgi looking lovingly toward his owner with complete trust in his human!
Another “first” that came in 2020 was my first “Spooky Shoot.” Kelly and Tyler are big fans of Halloween, horror movies, and the spooky season. They wanted to capture some couple portraits that would show off their own style and appreciation for the season. I absolutely love when couples come to the table with ideas for how they want to bring their own personality into the shoot. This helps to create something unique and special to them. Check out the full shoot here.
Early in the year when we were all just starting to get used to quarantining, I decided to try to have some fun with what I had at my disposal—myself, my camera, my wife, and some props. The images turned out really fun, and I’d like to do more.
Events—but in COVID times
Thankfully, despite COVID, I still had the opportunity to photograph a few events in 2020. Some before the outbreak and some during it when it was safe to do so with the right precautions. Events are always enjoyable to capture. I love to move through the crowd and capture the genuine moments of enjoyment and fellowship between guests.
Among the events I photographed in 2020 was a special concert by Big Boy Brass at Pequea Valley High School, Lancaster Farm Sanctuary’s first ever Gala event to raise funds, and a special ‘Puerto Vegan’ dinner also hosted at the Sanctuary.
Dagen wins the award for coolest photo prop! He posed for his high school senior portraits with his grandfather’s stunning 1952 Dodge pickup truck. I travelled to the family’s historic Srasburg, PA home for the shoot which was just as beautiful. For more shots from this session (and to drool over more photos of the renovated truck) click here.
Grace & David wanted to celebrate their first wedding anniversary with a special photoshoot. I was honored to be asked to capture these special portraits with them! We explored the streets of Downtown Lancaster on a very cold December day. I think the best photos of the session took place in Steinman Park, especially as Grace looked lovingly into David’s eyes.
It’s hard to pick a favorite, but of all the amazing opportunities I had as a photographer in 2020 capturing my first wedding may be my proudest accomplishment of the year. Like so many others, Dennis and Jaclyn had to change their 2020 wedding plans. They had to give up the big venue and long guest list they had originally planned on. While that fact was disappointing, it did not stop them from having a truly beautiful wedding. They hosted a small group of close family and friends at the Nassau County Museum of Art—a place that holds special meaning to the couple. I was happy to be there and thoroughly enjoyed the experience of capturing these memories for them. See more photos and read Dennis and Jaclyn’s love story here.
Looking back on 2020, I am thankful for all the opportunities I had to continue doing what I love—photographing life’s best moments! I am grateful to all of those who chose and support Chris Corrao: Stories & Portraits, especially during what was an extremely challenging year (financially and otherwise) for so many. Putting this blog post together helped me to see that no matter how bleak things get, there are always things to be happy about and grateful for—big and small.
Wishing the world a happy 2021.
Chris Corrao: Stories & Portraits