I had the pleasure of meeting Rich Chapman at two of my friend’s weddings, which after seeing their amazing photos I recommended him to my sister. Two years later, I booked him and his son for my own wedding! I’ll start from the beginning… We live out of state and were travelling back to Illinois for our wedding. Rich was always very responsive to all of my emails and questions. He even travelled to Woodstock on a random Saturday that my husband and I were in town so that we could meet with him a few months before the wedding. Even though he was crunched for time that day, he went out of his way to make it work for us and did not make our meeting feel rushed. Woodstock is 70 miles from Chicago and he was willing to drive there in the morning, even though he had to be downtown by noon. Not something many people would agree to on their Saturday morning! Rich and his son were so easy to talk to. Just having coffee with them for an hour, you could feel their excitement and passion! They truly made you feel as if you were their only wedding and they wanted absolutely everything to be about YOU. We had such a great conversation and my next comment is just one example of Rich’s extreme attention to detail. During our meeting at Starbucks (I chose the place for the seating) we were telling Rich how our favorite place to get coffee was Dunkin Donuts. Less than a week later we received a card in the mail telling us how great it was to meet with us, and he included a DD gift card! I was floored at how genuine and thoughtful this wedding photographer was! Over the next few months, Rich and I exchanged emails as needed. He was always very prompt and would respond to any question I had within 24 hours. At one point we decided to add an extra hour to our contract. Within a couple days we had a new contract and all of the updated documentation in our mailbox. Very soon it was wedding week! At the beginning of the week Rich contacted me to get a “shot list” for the formal church photos and just the photos in general. This had been something that was on my list forever and I just kept putting it off. It was great to receive a reminder email from Rich to keep me moving. I encourage all brides to work on this at least a month before your wedding so you can write down ideas as you think of them. Rich is up for anything, so don’t be shy, tell him exactly what you want! On the morning of the wedding Rich and his son arrived about 30 minutes early, which I thought was fantastic. They got right to work taking the “detail” shots. These are often photos that everyone is glad they have in the end, but let’s be honest, we want to get to the good stuff! I really appreciated that he came a bit early to do this so it didn’t eat into “my” time. Another place where I encourage brides to be vocal – it’s up to you to say if you want more/less of the detail shots, so speak up! One thing I really loved about the detail shots is that Rich incorporated all of the typical items, but added my wedding theme as a finishing touch. He used a piece of burlap as the background (I had a more country-themed wedding), instead of just putting the items on the couch/floor. His son also hung my dress on the front porch and took a photo of the entire house with it handing there, which had this grandeur looking effect. In each of the photos my favorite part was Rich’s attention to every detail. He told you how to hold your head, your hand, cared if wispy hairs were in your face…the whole nine yards. I loved that on that day I felt like he wanted everything to be absolutely perfect. Also, I never imagine how chaotic the group shots were going to be…especially after the ride in that party bus. However, Rich was so calm throughout the entire day. I don’t know how he does it! He moved quickly to capture every shot and in some instances, had less than a second to snap the button, but he got it. One recommendation I have here is for the group shots, have someone in your bridal party stand with Rich to get everyone set up and make sure you can see everyone’s face (pick your most vocal, but trustworthy one :)). I always seemed to have that one bridesmaid or groomsman that liked to hide halfway behind someone else’s head! Looking back to that day, I’m not we kept everyone in line long enough to get as many shots as we did. However, every step of the way Rich was right there ready to shoot. He even came in the party bus with us, which I thought was awesome! Although informal, he got some really fun shots of the entire group and some great “in the moment” shots of my husband and me. For the shots that included just me and my husband, I do not have one bit of constructive criticism here. He was perfect! I loved how he told us how to pose, where to stand, and to even move my head or hand ever so slightly. I also loved that after the bridal party left and we were doing just the bride/groom shots, he had been taking mental notes of the grounds and insisted we go back to certain places because he had a photo in mind. These were things I wouldn’t have thought of, but are some of my favorite photos! (the saloon at closing time, the carousel). I wish I could attach photos to this review! To all brides…even when you get tired, keep taking photos! Insist that your bridal party hang around for “one more” (5 group shots later…) At the end of the night, spend more time than you want to taking sunset photos. Often by that time you are “done” and want to do anything but take pictures, but honestly, go do it! At the end of the day, the photos are what you have left. I feel like I have so many more photos than a lot of my friends and I am so grateful. Be patient and let Rich get that perfect shot. You won’t regret it. At the reception, Rich also did not disappoint. He did a great job of figuring out who the important family members were and focused on them during the general reception/dancing. Don’t worry, he got shots of almost everyone on the dance floor, but I was amazed when I got the pictures how he seemed to be reading my mind of who I would want more pictures of. Capturing people dancing in that perfect moment (when you don’t have a goofy smile on your face) is hard to do, and Rich did it! When it was almost time to go, Rich came up to me to let me know that I had about a half hour left, which I really appreciated. He asked if there were any last-minute shots I wanted (and there was) so I was really happy he gave me a heads up. (PS. Spend the money for the extra hour, the numerous dancing photos are worth it!) Several days after the wedding, when we were on our honeymoon, Rich sent us a special “sneak peak” slideshow of some of his favorites from that day. I almost cried! It was truly amazing. I think I watched it over 20 times on my honeymoon. It was honestly about 20 of the best photos from that day, capturing every part of the day. I forwarded it on to almost everyone I knew. I loved having this to give to people, as often your friends and family get overwhelmed when trying to view the 100’s of photos at the end. Exactly a week later, Rich had all of the pictures posted online and emailed us our proof sheets. The quick turnaround amazed me! Often brides wait months for their photos. What I also love about Rich’s wedding package is that you get the rights to ALL of your photos (with no branding on them). When we received our thumb drives in the mail…even more surprises! He had everything neatly wrapped in a burlap sack (again, so thoughtful!) and included another photo surprise. I suppose I don’t want to give away all his secrets in this review! Anyways, if you even made it this far in reading my novel of a review, you’ll see that my husband and I were 100% satisfied with having Rich as our photographer. We couldn’t have asked for anything more! Some people at work even told me that they passed on the link to our photos to their families and friends and told them that our pictures were “some of the best they’d ever seen!” I couldn’t agree more. Thank you again Rich – our day was captured perfectly!
This is the subjective opinion of an independent reviewer and not of Decidio, Inc.