Best 100 of 2020
If I had to pick a word of the year, it would be GRATEFUL! Looking back through these images, it’s hard to believe how many amazing moments happened regardless of the emotional difficulty and turmoil. And isn’t that the gift of photography? It reminds us to sit still and live in thankfulness. I’m looking forward to being off work the next couple of weeks and spending the Holidays loving on my family. But before I head out of the office, here are the Best 100 Images of 2020!
Okay friends, real talk. As soon as I captured this image I knew it would be one of my favorites EVER. We almost didn’t do a sunset session at this wedding because it was cloudy and there weren’t any good locations by the couple’s hotel. There was a small patch of grass near the hotel. By lying flat on the ground, the rise in the grass was enough to cover the houses behind the shot. I used a mirror under my lens to reflect the sky into the image and had my assistant light the couple with a simple diffused flash. Sometimes images are my favorite because I have to work SO HARD for them. Taking this photo felt like finding a magical butterfly hiding underneath a pile of rocks.Speaking of butterflies, this image required a lot of patience. I waited for the butterflies to settle….just….right…The way dad looks at his daughter! In 2020, actually GETTING TO THE AISLE was a huge triumph!
My focus at weddings shifted ever-so-slightly off the couple and on to the families this year. We are all part of a bigger story and I want my images to reflect that. This couple rode a very unique vehicle made by the bride’s dad to the cemetery to visit her grandma’s grave.
They boarded the Fargo trolley just as it started to rain. I saw them glance at each other through the rain splattered glass. In this candid moment, the windows frame them just right. I wonder what they were saying?
I launched a passion project with flowers this year, lovingly termed Florography. These are David Austen roses and I call this piece “Breakfast Flowers” because it’s so cheerful and sunny! The blooms remind me of grapefruit.
The way the trees kiss above their heads
A classic wedding portrait is one of my favorite things. In this shot, the roofline of the barn mimics the swoop of the bride’s dress and it makes my eyes so happy!
The flowers tangling through the picket fence is straight out of my dreams.
A new pastor walking out of a country church. With his wife. Getting pelted with birdseed! Is there anything more quintessential and classic?!
Dad’s busy talking and girl knows her priorities.
You call it rain. I call it sparkles.
I’m included branding sessions in this list! This image was created for the owner of a MN resort. The ripples in the water were a lucky happenstance – made by children splashing in the lake just outside the frame. I love how this image captures the feeling of a Minnesota getaway.
One of those lucky “extra shots” from an engagement session. Her dress caught on a twig lending motion to the frame. She grew up on this farm and it’s the place she calls home.
Another from my Florography Collection. Twilight Roses, lit by the lights from my Christmas tree at night.
I did a lot of work for a bridal store this year. In this image we were showcasing veil styles. The strength in her eyes!
The light, the light, the light!
This groom’s smile is genuine and full of joy
They have a significant height difference. As they walked, her head naturally leaned against his shoulder. I like the way he’s looking at her, protecting her. It feels so natural to them as a couple and I keep coming back to this image as an all-time favorite.
PUPPIES. I had to include this one. My sister’s family had puppies this year and I took this photo in their backyard.
When I shared this first look with grandma, the internet melted.
Seconds after being pronounced husband and wife!
Like many couples, their celebration was pushed to next year but they got married anyway! The light in this image tells the story of their happiness and contentment simply being together.
Mawwiage in a private movie theater.
Speaking of mawwiage…this is giving me ALL the Princess Bride vibes.
Winter session goldmine = 30 degrees and snowing giant flakes!
Mama wiping a tear out of her daughter’s eye.I hung a paper backdrop in a bedroom closet doorframe to create a studio portrait of this bride.
It’s all about movement and light.
The lights on the gazebo are starbursts!
Covid restrictions (notice the blue tape) and the joy of celebration all mixed up in one image.
Her hair is so pretty
This is a first for me: a cell phone shot made my list! *GASP* These are wild horses walking through Theodore Roosevelt National Park. This image of a mama horse and a foal means a lot to me because I was in that place to adventure with my own girls. I have a print of this in my dining room right now.
Another personal image of me and a few members of my family – this was taken the first day of the #StayHomeMN lockdown in March. A regular morning in our house with waffles and coffee.
Another from my Florography Collection. These poppies represent my two girls.
A mom and her two daughters. Family meant more than ever this year.
From a styled shoot in early 2020. This handpainted pink backdrop in my studio is one of my favorite things at present and I want to shoot more sessions with it!
This is a macro image of a pink ranunculus on a handpainted blue canvas. Another from my Florography Collection.
The sunset after a storm
Grandpa taking a photo with his flip phone!
More favorite commercial work! These are team photos for a men’s clothing store and a bridal shop!
This image showcases a bridal store’s custom jewelry offerings.
Her profile and grace
Really into black and white studio imagery this year
This portrait is of my daughter Anika, around her 13th birthday.
Shot through the reflection of a glass door
She prepared for her wedding day in her childhood bedroom
Kitty wore this bandana for the proposal!
I watched so many brides break down in tears after their wedding ceremonies, for the sheer joy of having MADE IT.
Candid laughter and a portrait by the lake
Don’t miss the scooters in this shot.
There are compositional leading lines all over this image. And the color simplicity is perfect!
When the shutdown happened, this bride adapted and we shot her portraits inside the entrance of a church where I set up a makeshift studio.
Her dad was giving a toast.
Thirty years from now, you’ll want to remember when your kids were small enough to snuggle.
I love the fall colors.
An in-camera double exposure layering the couple with the lights of their head table backdrop.
The trees form a natural, woodland frame around this bride. It feels like a 3D storybook scene.
Fall was AMAZING this year.
Brides and their mamas spent months working through changing restrictions and re-planning their weddings this year.
Another from my Florography Collection. This was shot during the first MN lockdown.
A self-portrait created during the first MN shutdown. In every difficult situation, I want to find gratitude and hopefulness and I hope you can see that in this image.
More than ever this year, we needed the support of those closest to us.
Dreamy details of makeup prep
He liked it.
A branding session for a wedding planner
A branding session for a resort owner. She collects antiques and uses them to create an ambiance of nostalgia and history. I wanted to create an image that would tell that story.
Love the color, motion and this GLOWING bride.
This shot took a lot of ingenuity.
The reflection of the tree
This is not photoshop, friends! Creating for my couples is a joy. Two different images from the same scene, both absolute favorites. Using the power of light, I created a silhouette of the couple at their ceremony space then reflected the lights from a chandelier above to create the sparkling texture.
Whew!!! That was a lot. If you made it to the end of this post you get a huge congratulations. Can’t get enough? You can see a few of my previous collections here!
Abby Anderson is a Photographer in Fargo, ND + Moorhead, MN
Vibrant Lovestories, Modern Fairytales // www.abbyanderson.com
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