Meet Matt & Grace :: Playground Love Weddings (Italy)

We are kicking off a new series today. We make no secret of the fact that we love travel. We love learning about other cultures. We love contributing to a smaller, more interactive space. We are going to be sharing local stories by local photographers from around the world throughout our posts this year.

For today’s post, we had a chat with Matt & Grace from Playground Love Weddings in Italy (seriously - check out their work for some stunning & emotive photography with impeccable attention to detail!). We learned a bit about their part of the world. It was too good not to share and, if you are anything like us, you are adding Matt & Grace’s recommendations to a well-loved travel notebook stat. Enjoy!




Tell us about where you live: We live in Bellagio, a small town in the center of Lake Como. Lake Como is one of the most beautiful lakes in Northern Italy. It is full of old villas and breathtaking landscapes.


What makes your town, state or country unique?: Bellagio is timeless. The lake is full of small towns, like Varenna and Lenno. Como is the only big city and it’s a mix of cool urban life, mountains and lake.


If I traveled from the opposite side of the world, what should I visit in your town, state or country?: In Bellagio, you should visit Villa Melzi and its gardens. In Varenna, Villa Monastero and Villa Carlotta. In Como, you have to take the funicular to Brunate. There are so many places!!!

Photography by Playground Love Weddings (Villa Melzi, Italy)


What is something quirky we would find in your town, state or country?: There’s only one small island on the Lake, called Isola Comacina. The island is full of ruins of churches from the past centuries and has a restaurant; here you can drink a coffee flambé.


Coffee or chai/tea?: Let’s take a walk and reach the Caffè Sancassani, in Visgnola. It’s a hidden gem with a mix of traditional pastries — try a “cannoncino”— and healthy, fresh-baked cookies.

Photography by Playground Love Weddings (Villa Melzi, Italy)


Best breakfast cafe?: Bar Rossi , in Bellagio, is absolutely the most charming place for a breakfast coffee in front of the lake. The interior is furnished with wooden carved furniture that will transport you to the beginning of the last century.


Three reasons for why someone should visit your town, state or country?: You can visit an amazing place, full of history. You can take a boat and relax by yourself or you can go on a hike on the mountains. And, last but not least, the food is amazing! One of the typical products of the lake is the oil and it’s totally amazing!

Photography by Playground Love Weddings (Villa Melzi, Italy)


Any local legends?: Every year there’s a carnival in a small city called Schignano. It’s a crazy, funny & legendary event where people wear traditional masks and costumes.


Train, bus, car or walk?: In Bellagio, you must absolutely walk. For example, you can reach Punta Spartivento, the panoramical point, in just a few minutes’ walk from the city centre. Then use the boat to reach Varenna, Lenno and Como.

Photography by Playground Love Weddings (Villa Melzi, Italy)


Best accommodation?: Villa Serbelloni


Must-see vantage point?: Brunate in Como and Punta Spartivento in Bellagio.

Photography by Playground Love Weddings (Villa Melzi, Italy)


Who is the most note-worthy person to come from your hometown?: Alessandro Manzoni, a famous Italian writer, who lived in Lecco. But one of the most famous from the lake is George Clooney, isn’t it?!


Most colourful character in your hometown?: In Bellagio, you can find some sculpture of a really talented artist named Abele Vadacca. You can meet him at work in his studio-gallery in San Giovanni of Bellagio.


Number one thing you miss when you're away?: The fog on the lake during the winter time.




You will find Matt & Grace here:

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:

B&W Love

At first glance, black & white photography, or perhaps more accurately 'grayscale' as images are rarely truly black & white, can appear to be boring. Outdated or nostalgic perhaps. Or less expressive. Even forgotten. Black & white photography is synonymous with descriptors such as 'raw', 'stripped back', 'honest', & 'subtle'. In some cases, 'powerful', 'exquisite', 'iconic', & 'beautiful'. In a world full of colour, it can be challenging to fully appreciate all the variants of the colour grey (found somewhere between absolute black and absolute white).

Diane Arbus once said, “I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them”. We agree with the sentiment. As post-processing is such an important element of photography, we feel that there are things nobody would see unless the images were processed in a certain style. As Georgina Green, a fellow photographer, states, "Black and white images are defined in the art sphere by their ability to convey emotion. When colour is removed from a photo, the aspects that people take for granted, such as a brick wall or a blade of grass, take on a new texture and a new presence".

We're sharing some of our recent favourite grayscale images below. Typically we deliver our full albums with some colour and some grayscale. However, feel free to let us know if you have a preference one way or another and we'll accommodate. Enjoy!

“When you photograph people in colour, you photograph their clothes. When you photograph people in black & white, you photograph their souls.”

~Ted Grant

“Black & white are the colours of photography. To me, they symbolise the alternatives of hope and despair to which mankind is forever subjected.”

~Robert Frank

“Colour is deceptive. Black & white is interpretive.”

~Elliott Erwitt

"Colour is everything; black & white is more."

~Dominic Rouse

Brisbane Wedding Photographer

Information :: Updated Pages

With the year drawing to a close, we thought we would provide a compilation of pages we have been recently working on/adding to our site. Feel free to let us know if you would like more information on any of the below; we would be only too happy to help.

Feel free to contact us here:

Publication :: Becoming One

We hope everyone had a great weekend. :) We have some exciting news: we are published in Becoming One! You will find plenty of inspiration and fantastic vendors in the magazine. You can find the publication here (pages 172-187). Our feature was from this shoot: Pantone's "Parisian Pâtisserie" Palette Wedding Inspiration at Mirra in Brisbane, Australia. So proud of the teamwork that went into that shoot! Hope everyone has an enjoyable week. :)

Publication :: Becoming One

We hope everyone had a great weekend. :) We have some exciting news: we are now published in Becoming One! Lorelie from Becoming One put in a huge effort and delivered a stunning magazine over the weekend. You will find plenty of inspiration and fantastic vendors in the magazine. You can find the publication here (pages 92-103). Our feature was from this shoot: Classic Grey, Blush & Dusty Blue Inspiration in Brisbane, Queensland. So proud of the teamwork that went into that shoot! Hope everyone has an enjoyable week. :)

Information :: FAQ Page Update

Good morning! Hope this finds everyone well and happy. This is just to let you know that we have recently updated our FAQ page. You will find it here. We cover questions, such as:

  • What makes you different from the rest?
  • Do you have a set rate per hour for weddings?
  • Are you a registered business?
  • Can I purchase albums or other products from Poppy & Sage Photography?
  • Are you happy to meet up in person?
  • Do you travel world-wide?
  • Do you collaborate with local vendors?
  • What do you guarantee to me as your client?

Feel free to check it out. If you have any questions or would like to know more, send us a message through our contact form (here), email us at admin (@), or call or text us: +61424263106. We aim to respond within 48 hours (Mon - Fri during business hours). Hope you have a fabulous week!

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: You can book us through admin (at) or SMS/call on 0424263106.