Meet Photographers, Peter & Emily!

Meet us - Peter & Emily McDonald, the faces and personalities behind Poppy & Sage Photography! One of our goals for 2018 is to share more of our stories. Our ideas. Our priorities. Our goals. All the things that make us tick.

Our holiday faces during a recent trip to Adelaide, South Australia


Tell us about yourself:

We are Peter & Emily, better known as Pete & Em. Pete is an engineer (BEngHons1/BSc) and Em is currently a fulltime mum. Pete works in Brisbane CBD and specialises in the water industry. Em has a MAppSc (Res) and has studied at and/or worked for the Institute for Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland Eye Institute, Translational Research Institute, and Red Cross Blood Service. However, our proudest achievement and greatest privilege to date is being Dad & Mum to our little girl, Chloe. (All wedding images below were taken by Lady Jayde Photography at Abbey of the Roses, Warwick.)


Why did you choose to become photographers?:

(Emily) For as long as I can remember, I have been drawn to photography. As soon as I could afford a camera, I made it a priority. It certainly wasn't a very good one but it allowed me to express myself and grow. As I saved up more, I purchased a better camera and continued to stretch myself. I dabbled with photoshop and lightroom. I played around with vignettes and mattes and saturated colours. As I experimented, my editing style matured and I discovered that simple and true-to-reality meets the timeless brief I wanted to achieve. Friends started asking us to capture their events and moments. Poppy & Sage Photography grew organically from these humble beginnings. In some ways, I guess you could say that we fell into the business. In other ways, we have been systematically (but unwittingly) taking steps in this direction over many years.

(Peter) Because I love my wifey.


How did your interest in photography start?:

(Emily) My father is an Art/English high school teacher. I grew up surrounded by literature and art (and National Geographic magazines). One of my passions is travel. My first overseas trip was to Fiji in 2009. I hardly put my camera down for the two weeks I was there. I didn't want to miss a single opportunity to record my travel memories. From there, I undertook more adventures both at home and overseas. Each trip has reinforced how much I enjoy being behind the camera recording the moments that I never want to forget. My interest evolved into a passion. I wanted to be able to provide clients with something tangible so that those fleeting moments become unforgettable memories for them, too.

First overseas adventure (Fiji, 2009)

Wild Horses (Fiji, 2009)

Off the beaten track (Fiji, 2009)

Still Em's favourite image from the trip (Fiji, 2009)

(Peter) My wifey.

Pete on the hunt for food so spicy he could not eat it... he is still looking (Bengaluru, India, in 2014)


Who inspires you in photography?:

(Emily) I adore the raw connection and emotion Twyla Jones captures. For me, Twyla nails the essence of portrait photography. I admire Colby and Jess' ability to intersect stunning landscape with bold portraits. Their resulting work is incredibly dreamy and full of gorgeous colour and adventure!

(Peter) My wifey.


Any misconceptions you would like to clear up?:

(Emily) There is a common assumption that if you have a camera, you can take pictures for free (or close to). It's just a camera, right? There are many associated costs with photography. Camera bodies. Different lenses for different purposes (macro, portrait, landscape, to name a few). Travel expenses. Continuing education. Legal paperwork. Software licences. Website host. Website build. Memory cards. Hard drives. Flashes. Batteries. Computer. Insurance. Registration. Marketing. Advertising. Accounting. Tax. And, of course, time. Planning. Emailing. Culling. Emailing. Editing. Emailing. (And this list is not even extensive!)

(Peter) You can pay for wedding photography cheaply. Any person can use money to purchase good equipment, claim to be a remarkable photographer, and just rock up on the day and take photos. Such people may even boast that their work is so good that it doesn't need editing. If you were preparing to drive through the arid inland of Australia where fuel stations and mechanics are few and far between and even to places where most telco companies don't get reception and any mechanical issue with your car could be certain death, would you let your car be serviced by someone down the road who thinks that they can do the job? Or would you get your car serviced with someone who specialises in equipping and servicing your vehicle for Australian outback conditions? Exactly.


Any tips you would be happy to share?:

(Emily) We actually love to help out with your shoot wardrobe. This is not an inconvenience for us at all. We know what colours shoot well. We know what patterns clash. We don't want to take over (it's not about us, after all) - we just enjoy helping to direct or be a sounding board for ideas. Feel free to message us with concepts or pictures. We have also set up a pinterest board with some suggestions (here).

(Peter) We recommend two photographers for your big day. While it is true to a degree that you can get the job done with one photographer, you can cover so much more territory on the day with two. You also have the ability to capture the unfolding moments from different angles. Different perspectives. Different heights even (6' 5"!). I liken it to composing a nature documentary. If you just send one person with a camoflage tent and a telephoto lens to get all the material you need for a series, you will be there for months - perhaps even several seasons. However, if you send a team with the appropriate equipment, you will be able to capture all of the spring, new cub material you need within a much shorter period of time and you won't risk missing those unrepeatable moments.


Why should couples choose you for their big day?:

(Emily) We get that your wedding day cannot be replayed in real life ever again. That unique magic cannot be recreated. We only get one chance to get it right. We want to deliver a product that you will want to look over in a nursing home one day. One that tells the story of your day. The story that makes you as a couple valued and important.

(Peter) Poppy & Sage Photography sets itself apart by ensuring that each client we take on board experiences what working with a photographer should feel like and receives a premium product to look back on for the rest of your lives. How does Poppy & Sage Photography ensure that this promise is delivered? We cap the number of wedding clients we take on each year. This is really important to us and we believe it is reflected in the quality of our work. We have more time to plan everything with you. We have more time to learn about your priorities. We have more time to get the resulting product tailored to suit you.


How do you set yourself apart?:

(Emily) We limit the total number of weddings we shoot per year. We cap it at 30. You cannot pay us more to be number 31. Even if it's our dream wedding in a dream location with a dream couple. Why? We want to ensure that every couple we work with has our time and full attention. Guaranteed. We value old-fashioned service and quality. We want to be available in the lead-up to get to know both of you and the things that are important to you as a couple and your story. We want to hear the details. We will actually stop and listen. We are happy to meet up for chai latte or coffee. If you prefer text messages or emails or skype, we certainly accommodate. The last thing we want you to feel like is an inconvenience. Working with Poppy & Sage Photography is a bespoke experience tailored to suit you as no two couples are the same.

(Peter) Your longterm memories will be, to a large degree, determined by the quality or otherwise of the images. When we were on the market for a wedding photographer, the tedious process of searching for the right fit made it clear to us that it's a very mixed bag. You really do get what you pay for; if you want white balance inconsistency, dutch angles and soft focus, you can easily find someone to do the job. The stronger the portfolio, the exponentially harder the photographer was to find - or from our experience, anyway. We were (and still are) thrilled with our wedding album. If you are looking for quality and consistency and a photojournalistic approach, we are here to deliver. We would love to share the same satisfaction and enjoyment we get from our own wedding album with you and your loved ones.

You will find our instagram here: www.instagram.com/poppyandsagephotography/. You can book us through admin (at) poppyandsagephotography.com.au or SMS/call on 0424263106.