Milestone <3

This is our 107th blog post.

Odd number, we know.

However, it marks 2 years of hitting ‘save & publish’ on our weekly blog. We have been shooting together since 2009 (10 years - what?!) but blogging for 2 years. Our first post (here) was from Terrence & Rebecca’s 2016 wedding.

We all know that we should slow down a little more than we do so, in honour of celebrating the little milestones, cheers to us!

Topics we have covered have included:

  • Weddings

  • Creative shoots

  • Photography tips

  • Travel (both domestic & international)

  • Brisbane (local events, our recommendations & so on)

Thank you for following along with us! We have appreciated every single one of you. Looking forward to the next 107 blog posts and the growth that comes with the journey.

Information :: Our Personalities

Pete & Em. We have already introduced ourselves here. We have shared our priorities in blog posts regularly (such as this one). However, there is a little more about us that might be of interest to our clients.

From our wedding by Lady Jayde Photography; the parent life means that we don’t often get shots of just the two of us these days ;)

Our personalities.

We are very different. Pete is the extrovert; Em is the introvert. Pete is driven by logic; Em is driven by emotion. Pete embraces posing & taking the time to set up the perfect shot. Em embraces photojournalism & allowing the moments to unfold. Pete enjoys interacting with people & helping them to relax in front of the camera (sometimes Dad Jokes play a role; after all, Pete does get a lot of practice with little Chloe). Em enjoys making sure the raw emotion & details of the day are captured. Pete works best with lists and makes sure that our shooting follows the plan. Em goes with the flow and works best in the background. Opposites attract.

We celebrate our personality differences (as well as our individual interests and “eye”). We play to our individual strengths. I guess you could say that our personalities and different strengths are some of our unique selling points. When you choose Poppy & Sage Photography, you sign up for your story to be told two different ways. We look forward to working together to capture Your Day. Feel free to contact us here:

Information :: Wedding Budgeting Tips (The Photography Version)

Wedding Budgeting. Two words that are almost certainly guaranteed to induce tachycardia in brides & grooms the world over. Where do you start?!

Figure out your priorities and budget accordingly.

Is it the dress? Is it car hire? Is it the honeymoon? Only you two as a couple can figure out what should be at the top of this list.

Of course we are biased. ;) We could regale you with all of our personal reasons for why professional photography should be somewhere in the top 3-ish but we will limit ourselves to just a few (please do not think that any mention of other vendors serves to minimise their contribution to the day - all vendors are equally important!):

Plan for the event that the budget could be blown due to unforeseen costs.

We have listed the cost of photography with us on our website. If the numbers line up with how your budget looks, we’re happy to meet up and have a chat in person. The next step is to see if we’re a good fit personality-wise. Feel free to contact us here:

Lavender & Berries Wedding Inspiration at Country Weddings Queensland, Australia

Hope everyone has had a lovely weekend! We are thrilled to share one of our most recent shoots. The shoot took place at an exciting new wedding venue: Country Weddings Queensland. This stunning property is located on Maitland Road, Burpengary 4505. David & Kerri, the personalities behind it, are a delight to work with; their warmth and hospitality is memorable. Any couple that chooses to celebrate their big day at Country Weddings Queensland is in for a treat.

The entire team behind this shoot made the process seamless. Special mention, though, of the talented duo behind Emunah Events. Carissa & Serena are responsible for the 1) planning, 2) styling and 3) floristry! Thank you, once again, for all the hard work (mostly behind the scenes) that goes into a project of this size. It all came together perfectly - thanks to your determination and efforts - and matched our initial vision to a T! Emma Blakey & Dorrion Kroon made shooting a breeze; such a delightful couple. Finally, a big thank you to each of the businesses; we enjoyed working with all of you and your individual outstanding products/services! Looking forward to seeing each of you around in the near future.

Vow Renewal: G+C <3

Greg & Claudine renewed their vows at beautiful Newstead Park, Brisbane. When we had coffee with them initially to make sure we would both be a good fit, we were struck by how family-oriented they were. Nearly everything came back to family. They were renewing their vows as family had been unable to make their overseas wedding. They wanted the focus of the images to include candid family moments. On the day, we offered to over-deliver on time but they were concerned that they would keep family from going out and celebrating together. A truly special and lovely couple. We wish them many adventurous holidays around the world on their motorbike. The location was beautifully styled by Beach & Garden Ceremonies and we worked alongside Simply Special Events on videography. Here are just a handful of highlights from the day. <3

The way Greg looks at Claudine <3

Claudine looking like a queen <3

Elephant in the Room :: Pinterest

tl;dr: The best outcome is borne out of compromise.

Expectation vs Reality

Ah, Pinterest - in short, it's both a blessing and a curse.

When we were in the position of the client, we printed off the images we found that resonated with us and provided them to our wedding photographer. We get it. Totally. When it comes to weddings, there are so many different styles and concepts out there. Pinterest really gave me (Emily), in particular, some much-needed clarity during the planning process. Not even sure how brides figured it all out before Pinterest, to be honest!

We (Poppy & Sage Photography) have set some boards up to (hopefully) make life easier for our clients:

We are on your side, of course. However, like most things in life, Pinterest is not simply black and white for us. ;)

Tammie Joske (a photographer) states: "Photography is one part art, one part science, one part math, and that extra something else we can never put our finger on - usually we call it a 'good eye', or natural talent". We agree. You need all four components for a truly outstanding image. When you are busy focusing on replicating an image produced by someone else, there has to be compromise somewhere along the line. In addition to the above-mentioned components, there are usually environmental variables to account for, too: lighting, colours, natural elements*, to name a few. If everyone is okay with that, we can work with any situation.

[*For example, the image sourced from Pinterest might have a lot of movement in it from wind. We may need to bring along a leaf blower to replicate this situation. ;)]

I (Emily) worked at a small pharmacy on the Sunshine Coast for several years. One of the pharmacists I worked with was equally left- & right-brained (we'll call her Anna). To keep both sides stimulated, she worked as a pharmacist some days of the week and a hairdresser on other days. Hairdressing clients would come to Anna with cutouts from magazines or from hair colour boxes with the request to make their hair the same colour. Anna would ask the client a couple of questions to gauge what was motivating that particular colour choice (especially if she thought that the colour might not suit them best and she needed to find a diplomatic way to suggest a slight variation). One day, she mentioned that she had noticed an interesting phenomenon. Anna said that it very often became apparent that the client was more attracted to the image of the person rather than the hair colour per se. She found that stripping the situation back and addressing the colour alone was, in some cases, quite challenging. Sometimes the client genuinely seemed to think that they would look more like the model if their hair colour was similar.

This is just one aspect of how the concept of expectation vs reality can play out.

Some would say that this grey situation can stifle creativity and limit the creation of unique content. We would not disagree.

In addition, spending time replicating images has the potential to disrupt (to one degree or another) the organic flow of the day.

HOWEVER, a lot is dependent on the situation for us. We will explain where we are coming from.

If we are doing a personal project for our portfolio, we'll go out with a model and experiment... explore our creative realm... take risks... push boundaries; that is our personal creative release.

If we are shooting an event for a client, we are respectful of your wishes - including inspiration derived from Pinterest. No questions. No judgement. It is not our day.

Ultimately, you are hiring us to capture your story your way. One big aspect of our business model is to work closely with our clients. In fact, one reason for why we provide two photographers for weddings is so that one can be responsible for ensuring that we meet the brief given to us by the client. We print off communication from our couple (including Pinterest suggestions and the questionnaire) and that shooter has the responsibility of keeping the brief on track.

In addition, we love that Pinterest means that we see less matchy denim pants and white shirts, peeking awkwardly around trees, terrible studio backdrops that are Awkward Family Photo-worthy, and so on. Pinterest definitely has a place in the wedding photography world. On a personal note, my travel board is bursting at the seams and I am okay with that. ;)

Final Thoughts

Feel free to bring your lists from Pinterest to us. We will happily work through them.

One final thought is buried in this adage:

Don't give the client the images they want. Give them the images they need.

Information :: Offer for Engaged Couples

Hope this finds everyone well. We have introduced an offer for engaged couples into our packages. This offer allows you to book your engagement session with us ($350) and then if you choose to book your wedding session with us, too, you are entitled to $250 off the total package price. You can read more about what we offer on our FAQ page.

Elephant in the Room :: Wedding Tax

tl;dr: Things are rarely as black & white as they might appear.

Wedding vs Event

When talking about organising weddings, one often hears two words bandied about: wedding tax. When we were busy planning our own wedding, we had well-meaning people give us advice along these lines: "Call up x business and say that you are enquiring about an event. Call back a few days later regarding the same date but state that it is for a wedding this time. You can bet there will be a significant difference even if you mention that the same number of people will be involved. It's the wedding tax".

At the time we thought this was a great suggestion. We did not have time to implement the process ourselves but the concept sounded plausible, for sure. However, since starting our own business in the wedding industry, this additional cost concept has popped up again but from a different angle.

Personal Experience

We own a photography business. Here are just some of our personal expenses: Camera bodies. Different lenses for different purposes (macro, portrait, landscape, to name a few). Travel. Continuing education. Legal paperwork. Software licences. Website host. Website build. Memory cards. Hard drives. Flashes. Batteries. Computer. Insurance. Registration. Marketing. Advertising. Accounting. Tax. Liability. And, of course, time.

Time for: Planning. Emailing. Culling. More emailing. Editing. Emailing (again). Oh, and sick days and limited holidays (necessary for health, contentment and the opportunity to work to the best of one's ability) also need to be factored in there somewhere.

All of these costs need to be accounted for. Moreover, the higher your costs, the more you need to charge the customer for your services. The more you charge the customer, the less competitive your pricing becomes. Adding an additional cost on top of the cost to run your business reduces your business' perceived value. We have a cost-of-doing-business spreadsheet and I can assure you that there is no column for "wedding tax".

So why can wedding services cost so much? The short answer is that different businesses work from different models depending on individual market drivers. We will explain.

We have an amazing business mentor in Las Vegas: Josh Line from Josh Line Photography (professional headshots). One of the first things Josh recommended that we do was to read "Oversubscribed" by Daniel Priestley. Daniel lists four main drivers of market imbalance: innovation (these businesses secure for themselves a niche position in the market), relationships (these businesses invest time in their clients and really get to know them), convenience (these businesses focus on producing the most frictionless solution to client needs), and price (these businesses create an imbalance in the market based on price). You will find these applicable to most, if not all, industries (wedding-related or not). The specific individual driver for each business you approach during the planning process will influence the price you are quoted - more than any arbitrary and ambiguous additional cost in the form of a wedding tax.

Furthermore, we recently read an article entitled The Wedding Tax Is Totally Real Except When It Isn’t. In it, the author (Rachel Sugar) interviewed a high-end planner who works in New York state. He explained the reality of his job like this: “If I ask a corporate client what kind of chair they want, I show them one or two options, and they say yes. If I talk to a bride and groom about what kind of chair they want, it’s a 25-email exchange. Your mom has a chair she liked sitting in at the last wedding she went to; your dad has an issue with pillows and seats; your groom wants long, rectangular tables; and you want round tables. I price so I can stay sane.”

Real Life Example

Lovely Anna, owner of Raw Cotton in Swan Valley, Western Australia, sums up how most of us feel in the bespoke small business industry: "When buying from a hand maker, you're buying more than just an object. You are buying hundreds of hours of failures and experimentation. You are buying days, weeks and months of frustration and moments of Pure Joy. You aren't just buying at thing. You are buying a piece of heart. Part of a soul. A moment of someone's life. Most importantly, you are buying the artist more time to do something they are passionate about. So thank you for supporting me". (Check out Anna's instagram @rawcottoncollection.)

Final Thoughts

Our advice is to find products and services you love and/or people you value and want to support. We all have a story so find one that resonates with you and your priorities and get behind that small business. Even if you are someone who would score much the same as your cat on an empathy quiz, we are sure that you can appreciate why Rolex charges the amount it does as compared to Quartz. If you're on the market for a Holden, you won't go to a Lambourghini dealership and ask them to match Holden's price.

Work out your wedding budget and set your upper limit. Be realistic. Source your three quotes and get to know each of the businesses at the same time, if possible: you might find you're not ultimately drawn to the lowest price. Perhaps you don't feel like a number with one and they allocate more than enough time to get to know you. Perhaps another one is a standout based on product or service alone. Perhaps another one is hard to beat for price. Or another one offers the most convenience at an already stressful time in life. Figure out where your priorities lie; perhaps you want a unique venue or designer dress or stunning cake? Whatever it is that adds to your story as a couple, find the product and/or service that meets your criteria and support the hardworking people making it all happen. We want to wish you a smooth, fuss-free (wedding tax-less) journey of wedding planning!

Information :: Five Questions to Ask Before Booking Your Wedding Photographer

It can be challenging navigating the world of wedding planning - to say the least. This is especially true when you are looking for specialists in fields that are a) very often foreign to your own and b) over-saturated. At Poppy & Sage Photography, we try to make life a little easier for everyone; we would like to share some thoughts and tips on how to go about narrowing down the right photographer for you individually (we find that often one partner takes greater responsibility for aspects of planning, such as choosing a photographer) and as a couple, too, of course.

Choosing a photographer is a huge commitment. So many styles to navigate. Do you want documentary? Fine art? Edgy, bold, colourful? A great photographer will make an "average" wedding look stunning. A bad photographer will make a stunning wedding look average... or worse. More than that, though, some (definitely not all!) of the most popular wedding photographers do not necessarily have strong, well-composed, thoughtfully executed portfolios but have wonderful, easy-going personalities that make everyone feel comfortable and relaxed - an essential ingredient for the recipe of wedding photography you want to look back on for a lifetime. What if you want it all, though? Photographers who mesh well with your personalities and create images that you will treasure?

Here is a deductive process we recommend to help you to hopefully hit the jackpot:

1) Is this a business or a hobby?

One key indicator is whether the business has an ABN or not. Sometimes you will find this information on the business website and sometimes you need to ask for it. Another indicator is whether they have liablility or not. (You will find details for both our ABN and liability on our FAQ page.) Having associated paperwork (such as the above) tells you that the owner(s) is invested & takes their business more seriously than a hobby (just one piece of the puzzle but a very important one).

While on the topic of paperwork, do they offer you a written contract? Very often clients think of the contract as having a sole purpose: to protect the business. However, the contract is there to protect you, too. The business is legally bound to follow through on their end of the bargain. Do they clearly articulate the deliverables to you (minimum number of total images? Or how many images will be delivered per hour? Or turnaround for said images? Et cetera...).

2) Does this business genuinely care about our needs & wants?

How would you even know? It can be almost standard to feel like a number in business and you are as time-poor as everyone else so where do you even start? Unfortunately, a lot of it has to do with gut feelings. For example: if you feel as though you are being rushed to close the sale and things are not progressing at your own rate, this can be a key indicator that you are simply $$$ to the business. Another example: we all have insecurities we want to be able to work around and angles we prefer to be avoided. If you don't feel comfortable discussing these kinds of details with your photographer, they are probably not the best fit for you.

However, there are some tangible indicators, too. For example, how happy are they to catch up and have a chat with you? A wedding photographer should have excellent communication skills; good listening is non-negotiable. You will only be able to determine this by having a chat. If your location is outside a reasonable travel zone, are they happy to jump on skype? Make time for you over the phone? There is not much point falling in love with a photographer's work but then not really getting each other in person. We welcome whatever form of communication you prefer and we are very happy to meet in person within a 10 km radius of Brisbane CBD. We especially appreciate the opportunity as it breaks the ice. Furthermore, if you do choose to book with us, the wedding day itself will be so much more relaxed. We are another familiar and friendly face on the day. :)

Another key area to focus on is how well they get to know you and your wants and needs. We recently read through a comment thread on facebook. One bride mentioned that her photographer took ~50 detail shots of her dress and that she did not particularly care for that many. We love a good detail shot (could easily take 50 ourselves!) but we wouldn't if we knew that was low priority for the couple concerned. For example, we provide our couples with a detailed questionnaire upon initial contact. We do this to get a feel for your priorities and vision. Completing the questionnaire gives us an insight into your style and taste, too. Frequently, the questionnaire is handed back to us with unanswered questions. This is totally fine, too! If the question is asking for an answer that is not a big deal for you, that is still valid information for us. We try to tailor our product to suit both of you as closely as we possibly can.

3) Does the business interact with other related businesses or attend industry events, such as wedding fairs?

In other words, you're looking for social accountability. Is this business known to other businesses and do they seem to have some sort of rapport? The more you find a vendor sitting on the fringes of their industry, the more likely they are to be either complacent or unreliable... and sometimes both. We work with other businesses regularly; we share the information for the ones we love here.

4) Do I LOVE the photographer's portfolio or am I just okay with it?

Only you can answer this question satisfactorily. We all have strengths and weaknesses. We all have signature shots that we gravitate toward. We all have our own unique "eye" or bias or perspective. We all have our own secret editing sauce. It is so important that you find the portfolio that resonates with you. While you are going through the process of narrowing down a photographer, pick their portfolio apart. For example, if your wedding is in the middle of the day, you want to look for images shot in full sun. Do their indoor and outdoor images differ greatly? Perhaps their outdoor images are not that great but your wedding is indoors in a cathedral and they rock those particular shots in their portfolio?! Better yet, ask to see a full wedding and decide for yourself if they capture all the moments that matter to you and your significant other.

Capturing the moments as they unfolded at Michael & Tara's wedding. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

Capturing the moments as they unfolded at Michael & Tara's wedding. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

Golden hour. The end. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

We love an enchanting outdoor wedding.. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

Indoors with some light through the window. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

Capturing the emotion at Greg & Claudine’s vow renewal. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

Capturing the emotion at Greg & Claudine’s vow renewal. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

Mid-afternoon light. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

We make no secret of our favourite time of day to shoot: golden hour - or as close to as possible. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

Mid-morning light. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

Mid-morning light. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

In hospital; not usually known for the best photography-friendly lighting. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

In hospital, too; not usually known for the best photography-friendly lighting. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

Also in hospital; not usually known for the best photography-friendly lighting. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

Outdoors under the shade of a tree in the early afternoon. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

From the same shoot as the image directly above. The rain droplets on the lens are a little more clear in this black & white version. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

We worked in the rain during this shoot; we actually love rainy days as the cloud cover usually results in gorgeous soft, diffuse light. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

This one was taken outdoors in a fern garden. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

This was taken indoors with light coming throught the front door. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

Golden hour. The end. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

Taken at dust… I mean, dusk! Well, a bit of both actually. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

Outdoor shoot. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

This image was taken outdoors. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

Same object as shown above but photographed indoors with no natural light. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

In a temple (Kerala, India). (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

In a temple (Kerala, India). (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

Late afternoon sunlight on a mostly overcast day. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

Late afternoon sunlight on a mostly overcast day. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

Late afternoon sunlight on a mostly overcast day. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

Working with bathroom lighting. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

Indoors. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

Outdoors in afternoon sun. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

Outdoors in afternoon sun. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

Outdoors in afternoon sun. We love embracing colour in our processing. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

Outdoors in afternoon sun. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

Just on dusk. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

Catching the last rays of sun for the day. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

Dark enough for the sparklers to pop. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

One question that has popped up in client consultations is, “Can you capture the greenery outside of our reception venue from the inside?” Yes, we can. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

Working with the afternoon light. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

Working with the afternoon light. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

Cathedral lighting. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

Cathedral lighting. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

That afternoon light. (Image by Poppy & Sage Photography.)

5) Does this business support a cause bigger than themselves?

People seem to be much more savvy these days when it comes to choosing a business to support. We all want to be part of something that makes a positive difference. Something that makes this world a better place to be in. The reality is this: the fact that we all need to put food on the table for our families and pay our bills is not necessarily reason enough to support a business. However, when you see a business doing their bit to not only support themselves but contribute to society as well, it is so much easier to get behind that. Find one that supports a cause you care about, too. That's our personal challenge for you! :)

When you are booking, feel free to check with us if we are supporting a local organisation at that time. We regularly run campaigns supporting local charity organisations. You will find information for them during that period. If we are supporting at the time you book, we will pass on their specific details and we will donate 10% of the total amount of money you spend on our service.

All the best for your search and may it be as smooth as possible!