It’s very important in life to figure out what your true calling is. Sometimes this happens at a very young age while others discover what they’re really set out to do in this world later on in life.
For Christopher Correia, the man behind CJC Photography, it was something that he first fell in love with during a chance trip to New York City in his high school years. Time went by and his passion grew however he was still working non-related jobs to make ends meet that never made him “happy”.
Finally he decided to go full throttle with his photography career which has paid off for him in the years to come. He’s shot several fabulous book covers, photos of couples, gorgeous men, you name it. And he’s developed quite the massive following on social media as a result, proving that sticking with something you love can be worth it and then some.
He’s the latest to be featured in Instinct Magazine’s ongoing Photographer Series that highlights the beautiful work from many in our LGBTQ community. Check out our exclusive with him below.
How did you get involved in the art of photography?
Since high school I had a strong interest in photography.
During my senior year, my cousin Stephanie [who was a signed model] brought me to New York [we were both from a small town south of Boston, MA] along with her mother. We visited her agency and attended her first big photo shoot. I remember the photographer asking me why I liked photography and what I liked to photograph, and I was enamored and excited by the experience. I still feel that same sense of excitement every time I photograph someone.
My first job after graduating college was working as a temp doing admin work at an office and I decided during this time I wanted to buy my first digital camera. I really wanted to learn more about photography. I signed up for an online program through the New York Institute of Photography and completed and received my certification in 2010.
Learning what I liked to photograph was a process. I knew I liked to photograph people but in what fashion took time to figure out. I started with baby/bridal showers, family/maternity portraits, and then I started delving into model portfolios and I had my AHAH moment.
Romance author Sophie Monroe inquired about purchasing a photo for her novel “Afflicted” and in 2013 I started my journey of working in the book cover industry.
I have loved and been involved in that niche ever since.
Did you have any inspirations before getting into the industry?
During college my major was Communication Studies and prior to photography and even during my photography journey [I licensed my first book cover in 2013 and went full time with my business in 2018] I worked in the corporate field of Email Marketing/Social Media Marketing for a variety of companies ranging in the women’s fashion space, sports retail and office supplies.
While I pursued each of those avenues, I was never truly happy. I was thankful and grateful for the opportunity but did I feel truly fulfilled? Not really.
What made me the happiest was after my day job planning for a photo shoot or editing images and anything photo related. That’s when I would smile the most.
Photography is the only thing I have never quit. Growing up I tried sports and different activities, but I never stuck with it. I feel so blessed to say I still love what I do to this very day and I am so appreciative to my clients [authors, models, designers, readers] and my friends and family who have stuck by me. It truly means so much.
How would you describe your specific style?
I shoot primarily outdoors utilizing natural light. I love integrating a location and my surroundings into the overall feel of a composition to emote a specific feeling/theme.
You’ve shot some pretty amazing guys during your career. Do you usually search for them or do they come to you?
Thank you so much! It’s a mix of both actually. Models reach out via my IG DM’s and I am also constantly scouting for new talent whether it be via IG or Model Mayhem depending on what my clients/prospective clients are looking for.
What has been your favorite shoot to date and why?
OH WOW! That is such a hard question to answer. As I mentally scroll through the past 7 years or so, the first thing that comes to mind is the trip my sister and I took to London in 2019.
It had been on my bucket list since high school to go there.
I love visiting new places, and the churches and buildings in London were truly breathtaking. I have a collage of some of the sights from that trip framed on my office wall and it makes me smile thinking back on one huge bucket list item I was able to check off.
During that trip I collaborated with 5 different male models as well as my sister [who also models] and thus far have licensed 14 book covers from that trip. That made the trip even more special to know I will always have those memories.
If there was one event that you could cover what would it be?
I think photographing backstage at a concert would be so fun! Being able to capture all the special moments as a performer gets ready for their big concert or interacting with fans… being part of a once in a lifetime moment!
Do you feel photographers are not as appreciated these days due to so much of the focus shifting to social media selfies and filters?
I believe photographers are still appreciated and valued. While some trends lean to more over saturated use of filters for IG etc I think people still see the value that a photographer can provide in a multitude of mediums.
What does the future hold for you and what are you looking forward to the most in your career?
At the end of every year, I make a goal list for the following year. This ranges from personal goals for my own self-development I would like to accomplish as well as specific business-oriented goals. I think so often we compare ourselves to others and what someone else is doing but I really strive for self-growth and doing the best I can do.
I think 2020 was hard on all of us for a variety of reasons but I try and focus on the positive as much as I can.
In 2021, I hope to continue to grow my business and work with new faces as well as returning favorites and overall, just be happy.