Introducing Smitten Chickens Photography in NYC! (Formerly Sarah Hoppes Photography!)

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.

Evan and Rachel’s Brooklyn Wedding from Sarah Hoppes on Vimeo


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.

I am so excited for both Sarah and Chris and the work they are producing this year. These guys have a style totally unique to this community, and that’s something worth celebrating. Whether you’re hiring them for your wedding, or for a rad personal project, I can’t wait to see what Smitten Chickens Photography and APW readers cook up this year.
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    Thank you, Maddie! Being called a geeky cool kid and your east coast doppelganger is a pretty high compliment!!

  • Sally W

    If you are considering hiring Sarah and Chris, I say go for it! Sarah and Chris photographed our NYC City Hall elopement. We are absolutely thrilled with the photos and video and feel that they really captured the spirit of the day. The quality of the photos was even beyond our expectations.

    With the photos, we love so many of the candid shots as well as the ones that we knew Sarah was taking. We all felt really comfortable with Sarah and her directions about the shots were really helpful, easy to follow and not bossy at all (my friend had the opposite experience with her wedding photographer, so I know this is important). Neither of us have posed for photos before, so were surprised that we did not feel self-conscious with Sarah. We also appreciated that Sarah had already clearly put thought into the shots that work well in City Hall and other places that we had told her were going.

    The video that Sarah and Chris made for us was a perfect summary of the day, and was appreciated by all our friends and family when we announced to them all that we were married. Our friends were in awe of Sarah’s photographs and commented that they felt as though they could really understand how our day was, even though they weren’t there.

    We loved the way that Sarah and Chris fitted in with the day and our group and weren’t intrusive at all. We also appreciated their input and interest in the lead up to the day, such as making the effort to find out about our friends beforehand, and her advice about running the day (eg making sure we understood City Hall procedures beforehand etc as we are not from NYC or even the US for that matter!).

    Overall the whole experience felt very warm and personal and Sarah and Chris were incredibly easy to deal with. They were also very professional and thorough in following up after the event to make sure that we were happy with everything, and getting the photos and video back to us soon after the event.

  • Moh

    Lovely images!