15 Chicago Photographers Share Their Favorite Photo of the Year

As the year comes to a close, we asked some of our favorite Chicago photographers to share their standout image from 2019. No easy task—not only are these images some of the best we have seen over the last year, but the stories behind how they paint a beautiful picture of our city.

Shannon Kunce

Shannon Lynott

“I chose this photo because it really showcases Chicago’s endless beauty. The summer skies in Chicago can change so rapidly and beautifully. This was one of the most incredible skies I have ever seen and I am so thankful I was in the right spot at the right time.”

Tanja Mast

Tanja Mast 2019 Favorite Photo of the Year
Tanja Mast

“I am fascinated with the architecture in beautiful Chicago. Each building has it’s own unique personality. This is one of my favorite shots because of the interesting lines and the moody lighting.”

Kristen Mendiola

Kristen Mendiola

“I chose this photo for many reasons — Bad Hunter is one of my favorite restaurants in the city and they experienced a fire that forced them to close for seven months. They reopened in June and it’s been amazing to see how they recovered from that and came back stronger than ever with an even better food and beverage program. The relationships that I’ve built through photography and seeing how clients grow and evolve is one of my favorite aspects of what I do.”

Amit Thakral

Amit Thakral 2019 Chicago Best Photos of the Year
Amit Thakral

“This picture is so unique and dreamy, I can see a dreamland covered with the clouds of fog!”

Barry Butler

Barry Butler Photograph of the Year 2019
Barry Butler Photography

“Taken on January 20th, this photo is entitled ‘Chicago Ice Cave.’ Bad weather is great for photography. I love winter because it brings a different scene every day, if not every hour. Chiberia can be a good thing. High winds and high lake levels sent Lake Michigan’s water flying all over the lakeshore landscape. In this spot in Promontory Point, a small ice cave was created and out its “window” highlighted the greatest skyline in America.”

Evan Brightfield

Evan Brightfield 2019 Best Photo of the Year
Evan Brightfield

“This was taken during a rare cloud takeover of the loop. The glaring sun off of Trump Tower beams directly back towards the camera creating a heavenly looking pathway into Chicago’s beautiful architecture.”

Jaclyn Simpson

Jaclyn Simpson Photography 2019 Best Photo of the Year
Jaclyn Simpson Photography

“I shot this photo as a participant of Twice Nourished, a monthly meal series built around women, food, and connections hosted by Mandy Lancia of The Glossary and Chelsea Chandler of Lady January. I chose it because the space and lighting created a beautiful ambiance. More importantly, though, I believe the support I have received from other women in the creative industry has been paramount to my success as a photographer.”

Emma Petersen

Emma Petersen 2019 Better Photo of the Year
Emma Petersen

“I chose this photograph of the Polar Vortex this past winter. I remember that morning as being one of the most magical of my life. I dragged two of my close friends out at 7 in the morning to catch the sunrise over Lake Michigan. At -35 degrees it was definitely the coldest weather I had ever experienced, but man, was it worth it. We only had about 20 minutes outside before both my hands and my camera started freezing up. While the shoot was short-lived, some of the best pictures I’ve ever taken came out of those few precious minutes where Mother Nature was strutting her stuff for us.”

David Sowa

David Sowa 2019 Photo of the Year
David Sowa Photography
 
“My favorite photo of the year was actually the first one taken. The New Years Eve fireworks on the river was one of the best new events in 2019. It’s a celebration of our ever changing environment and a reminder to embrace the adventure that lies ahead.”

Arturo Gonzalez

Arturo Gonzalez 2019 Photo of the Year
Arturo Gonzalez

“The photo has so many beautiful components in it. It was taken during sunrise and the city skyline is in full view. There is still some fog viewable and the sun made the clouds look like cotton candy. It is a view that was incredible to witness.”

Neil John Burger

Neil Burger 2019 Photo of the year
Neil John Burger

“This was shot at Terzo Piano in the Art Institute Chicago to promote the new menu that launched to coincide with the current Warhol exhibit. This dish was created and photographed to pay homage to one of my favorite Warhol pieces — Warhols’s Rorschach. The dish was created by executive chef Carolina Diaz and styled by myself. To blend fine art with food photography has always been an ongoing personal project of mine, but to get to shoot this for the Art Institute was a dream come true.”

Matt Weitz

Matt Weitz

I knew there was going to be a snowstorm that morning so I woke up earlier than usual to snap some pictures before work. I really like how the train looks like it disappears in the snow and create almost a Sonic boom.”

Cheryl Mann Productions

Cheryl Mann Photo of the Year
Cheryl Mann Productions

“I love this image! Not only is the set design immaculate, but the timing of each and every dancer is impeccable. Shooting groups of dancers is an incredibly challenging task. It is extremely rare to have every dancer complete the height of an extension at the same time. I am extremely fortunate to get to photograph The Joffrey Ballet for moments like these. This photo never ceases to amaze me.”

By Bert Media

By Bert Media

“This is my favorite photo of the year. The Polar Vortex, while miserable, allowed me to turn the harshest weather into a peaceful moment.”

Christine Pejoski

Christine Pejoski 2019 Favorite Photo of the Year
Christine Pejoski

“I love this scene of beautiful Chicago. It is a view that includes the iconic Hancock tower, Lake Shore Drive and North Avenue beach. It’s especially stunning at dusk, the city lights glow vibrantly against the darkening horizon. I have many favorite scenes of the city, this view definitely tops the list.”

 


Macaire Douglas lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband and two sons. She proudly supports Save Abandoned Babies Foundation, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization that works tirelessly to prevent the illegal abandonment of newborns nationwide. Since its inception in 2000, more than 3,600 newborns have been safely surrendered and adopted into loving homes.