*This is a paid post from an APW Sponsor*
by Maddie Eisenhart, Managing Editor
In the past (almost) two years working for APW, I’ve seen and worked with a lot of companies as they came on board and joined the ranks of our team of sponsors. But it’s possible that none of them have worked harder to ingrain themselves into the community as a whole than Sarah Hoppes (or as I like to call her, my East Coast doppelganger). You probably know Sarah from the zillion smart, kind, and encouraging comments she leaves here every day. Or maybe you know her from the wedding she planned in a day thanks to Hurricane Sandy. But, today I’m thrilled to announce that, thanks in part to the APW community, the artist formerly known as Sarah Hoppes is now the bigger and better Smitten Chickens Photography, serving New York City and beyond!
Formerly a one-woman show, Smitten Chickens Photography is now made up of Sarah Hoppes and her husband Chris Rizzo. (Am I mad at them for not listening to me and naming their business H to the Izzo? Yes, it’s possible.) Together they are a powerhouse of wedding photography, videography, and other cool stuff that’s going to blow your mind when we get to later. But for now, let’s dig into what Smitten Chickens Photography is all about, and why I’m really, really excited about it.
First things first, it should be noted that when I opened up Sarah & Chris’ new site, my mouth dropped to the floor. These guys have spent every second since their last sponsored post honing their craft, and the proof is all over the portfolio. It’s the kind of artistic development that makes me really want to know where their stuff is going to be in another six months, because I bet I’ll be floored in a totally different way.
Sarah says, “Our style is best described as ‘modern traditional.’ We balance getting the best images we can by being unobtrusive and letting you enjoy the wedding day. Our biggest focus is on people and authentic moments, but we put a lot of energy into making all our photos as good looking as possible. We both come from the advertising world, and Chris has worked extensively in documentaries as well, which informs how we work in a lot of ways. It’s made us militant about being reliable and overly prepared for any situation. We don’t boss couples around, put them in awkward poses, or ask them to do things that aren’t authentic to them, but we do offer direction on where to stand and what to do to make everyone, even the initially camera shy, look their best. We also have a deep appreciation for what’s real. We always do basic retouching if it’s needed, but we never make people look like anyone other than themselves.”
You can hire Smitten Chickens Photography for your wedding starting at $3200 for eight-hour coverage with two photographers, plus an engagement session. Weddings outside of New York start at $3900. But my favorite part of Sarah & Chris’ bullshit-free wedding pricing is that they offer tiered options for elopements, starting at $800 for two hours of coverage and going up from there. Plus, Smitten Chickens Photography always offers APWers a 10% discount on their services, just because they love you.
With Sarah’s husband Chris now part of their operation, Smitten Chickens Photography is excited to offer video this year! Chris’ credentials include a legit film degree from the New York Film Academy, plus experience working in advertising, reality TV, and documentaries, and you can totally see it in the videos these guys produce. (My reaction when I saw one for the first time? “Well, this doesn’t look like anybody else’s. And that’s a damn good thing.”) If you hire Smitten Chickens Photography as your wedding photographers, then video is only $1,000 more ($2,000 if you’re hiring them just for video). And what you get for that might just be my favorite wedding video thing ever: the 1–2 minute video highlight reel. If you ask me, less is more when it comes to wedding videos, and the highlight reels like the one above are always what punch me the gut the hardest.
Other Cool Stuff
Remember when I said that Smitten Chickens Photography does other cool stuff that would blow your mind? I wasn’t lying. When Sarah & Chris aren’t shooting weddings, they co-own another business making comics, and their personal work reflects this cool-kid-meets-geek identity in a way that makes me want to know what’s up their sleeve for next time. Recently Sarah & Chris executed a photoshoot inspired by one of their comics, which involved an all-girl zombie band (um…yes please?) And while the rest of the photography world is riding the natural light high (cough guilty as charged cough) these guys use their studio experience to create ultra professional, high-quality portraits that look like they could be part of a national ad campaign. (I’m in love with the photo below. Need to make it mine.)
On the wedding side of things, Smitten Chickens Photography is excited to now offer albums with their packages. Starting at $500 (for a 40-page 8×8 album!), these books are as beautiful as they are affordable.