Jessica Chapman's love of photography stems from realizing how important it is to document life. She didn’t have many pictures of her as a young child, and others she had were lost in a house fire.
“While I do understand everyone has an iPhone, there still is a nice quality doing something professional,” Chapman said. “I think it’s important to catalogue that kind of stuff. I love capturing the moments.”
Her passion for photography developed after seeing a high school friend launch a website mostly dedicated to maternity and newborn photo sessions. Chapman took up photography in 2008 and opened Brio Media Photography in La Grange in 2012. She said she also loves the creative process of editing images to make them look as good as possible.
For the year-plus she’s been in La Grange, the space she has at 26 S. La Grange Rd. has served as an office and gallery. Located on the lower level of the building, she doesn’t get much foot traffic, and for a time Chapman was considering leaving the space as she continued to support the business with money and time off from her full-time job in the city. But she wants to get to the point where she can focus full-time on Brio Media, and that will start with doing more studio sessions at the La Grange office.
“I’m just trying to think of as many creative ways I can do this,” she said. “It’s a dream for me.”
The business has grown from the idea of maternity and newborns and now incorporates a larger audience that includes weddings, engagements, travel and seniors.
So instead of using the space as primarily and office and gallery, she’s adding more opportunities for people to come inside the business. Chapman said she’s planning to offer portrait parties for children around their birthdays, add more backdrops and costumes and create specials around events and holidays.
She's also rebranding the business as "J Chapman Photography," though Chapman will keep the Brio Media name for certain commercial work and will be adding the new branding for weddings, portraiture and other specialized sessions.
One new session Chapman touted was the "Baby's First Year" package for $399, which will follow a newborn's first year of life, another callback to the lack of photos she had has a child. She said babies change so much in the first year that it's important to document as much as possible.
“I’d love to just jump in with both feet and move on to the next stage of my life,” Chapman said.