Information :: What Makes an Image Important

Narrowing down the options when choosing a wedding photographer is typically multifaceted. You want to love the photographer's work. You want a personality that "gets" you as individuals and as a couple (put simply, you want someone relatable!). You need to be able to afford them. With this is mind, some of the most important reasons for why we blog regularly (fyi: we blog once a week and this is our 128th post) are:

  • to tangibly demonstrate how passionate we are about our role as wedding photographers

  • to show who we are and what this means to you as our client

  • to share tips and ideas

Essentially, the kind of information that we are hoping will be important during your decision-making process. Today, we are sharing a little more about us & some food for thought for our clients. A recent discussion about some of our most memorable & personal images to date was the catalyst.

We work really hard on perfecting our craft. We focus a lot of attention on people skills, composition, chasing the most ideal light, depth of field... have we lost you yet? ;) We decided to strip all that back during our discussions and we challenged each other to think of our personal favourite images (rule time: we could only pick a maximum of 2 images). Of course, we both gravitated to ones that have all three of us in them. However, we currently do not share images of our daughter, Chloe, online. So we started again. Naturally, our minds drifted to favourite shots of the two of us - mostly taken during travels. With that in mind (and as the exercise was beginning to feel too easy!), we narrowed the criteria down even further: Pete had to choose two images that featured only him and I had to choose two that only featured me.

{Try this for yourself! You might surprise yourself with what you end up choosing. Actually, why don’t you stop reading now and pick out your two all-time favourites. We’ll come back to yours in a moment.}

In the end, Pete settled on one image. He felt that this one summed up everything for him:

I chose two as they are from a similar time period (same year) but during very different experiences and I find the polarity striking:

Interestingly, all three are “okay” images (definitely not terrible). However, are they perfectly composed? Was the lighting nailed? Honestly, does it even matter? All three tell a story that is important to the subject. Pete chose his representative image for a range of reasons. Skydiving was a dream come true. He was proud of himself for taking the risk. Pete experienced freedom that comes with… well, jumping out of a plane with all risks carefully calculated. I chose my graduation image as I was (and am) so proud of this achievement. It is something that was the result of hard work & dedication. I chose the one from my first time experiencing snow. This moment features in one of the top 10 days of my life to date. Experiencing snowfall was (in my case, anyway) a magical moment. I don’t usually take selfies but this was a moment I wanted to freeze forever - literally.

When you selected your two images, did you think anything along these lines, “I really like x one but I can’t possibly keep it! If I took it again, I would make sure I was a little more off-centre. If it followed the rule of thirds, I think I would be more inclined to keep it”… “Hmmm, this is a good one but the shadows on my face are too pronounced. I think I will scrap it. Shame really as it always makes me feel happy when I look at it!”… “Oooops - the highlights are blown! Forget it! …

Correct me if I am wrong but I am guessing that you chose based on how looking at those images makes you feel?

Capturing an image in such a way that the subjects feel something for the rest of time is at the heart and soul of wedding photography.

In conclusion, we wanted to take this opportunity to re-frame the importance of capturing the moments that are important to you. Yes, we will strive for perfect composition, image processing, lighting, timing, & storytelling. However, we will not compromise storytelling & capturing raw emotion at the expense of perfection. We want the resulting images to tell your story; not be representative of our “brand” per se. We want you to love your wedding photography for a lifetime.

Meet Pete & Em :: Poppy & Sage Photography (Australia)

We kicked off a new series in January featuring traveling photographers from around the world (most recent feature here). 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. With this in mind, we are going to be sharing local stories by local photographers from around the world throughout our posts this year.

For this month’s feature post, we are featuring… well, ourselves! We are showcasing our hometown of Brisbane, Queensland. We posted on this topic previously (here); we do have a different slant for the topic of our hometown this time as most of the recommendations are close to Brisbane City itself. These recommendations also feature a heavy smattering of parent influence but our toddler might disagree. If this post was left to 2-year-old Chloe, it would probably feature our local dog park at the top. Some recommendations will double-up with our previous list - these are possibly the ones to put at the top! We pride ourselves on having a transparent business model. We think that you will find our view of our hometown to be transparent, too. Warning: this post contains Aussie sarcasm. We hope that you enjoy!

Brisbane soaking up the afternoon light; the view from our home hence the suburban addition of the power-line! We are incredibly grateful for our city - the perfect (for us) hometown to raise a family. (Poppy & Sage Photography)

 

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"Tell us about where you live": We live in Brisbane, Australia’s third largest city (behind Sydney & Melbourne, Australia’s largest & second largest cities respectively). Descriptors & phrases you will hear about Brisbane, our river city, include that it is liveable. Family-friendly. Affordable. Cosmopolitan. Has a laid-back lifestyle. Offers enviable weather (except for our humidity! Try to avoid December-February). Is a rapidly emerging global city.

"What makes your town, state or country unique?": Possibly one of the most most unique elements of Brisbane is the Royal Queensland Show, or Ekka, our largest cultural festival. Actually, it is the largest one in our state of Queensland. Ekka, richly steeped in traditions, has been an annual show since 1876. On average, 400 000 people attend. We shared our 2017 Ekka experience in posts here & here. What is not pictured is the “Ekka flu”, the sickness that unfortunately seems to be inevitable & prevalent around that time of the year.

"If I traveled from the opposite side of the world, what should I visit in your town, state or country?": Our recommendations (below) are pretty much limited to inner ring suburbs (up to 5 kilometres from the city centre) making exploring our city feasible. Brisbane is a sprawling city and outlying suburbs can be up to one hour drive (or more depending on peak hour traffic) from the central business district. Aside from Brisbane City itself (check out the Botanical Gardens in the heart of the city), here are our recommendations on both sides of the river:

North of the River:

Eat Street Markets consists of a series of shipping containers offering internationally-influenced street food & drinks. Plenty of entertainment on offer, including an outdoor cinema.

James Street is a chic & trendy fashion hub. Excellent spot for a stroll and some window shopping if indulging & escaping is part of your holiday plans.

Northey Street City Farm, a non-profit community farm in the heart of the city, is our home away from home. It’s our local backyard. It’s where we unwind and clear our head.

Northey Street City Farm & immediate surrounds (Poppy & Sage Photography)

Northey Street City Farm & immediate surrounds (Poppy & Sage Photography)

Northey Street City Farm & immediate surrounds (Poppy & Sage Photography)

Northey Street City Farm & immediate surrounds (Poppy & Sage Photography)

Northey Street City Farm & immediate surrounds (Poppy & Sage Photography); this is a tea set that Em made with Chloe (our toddler) and a local Brisbane legend, Bob, out of clay. Bob runs a local playgroup program and has done so for 13 years (we have been going for 2 of those). Bob is an artist with an extensive curriculum vitae (incorporating many international adventures, including USA and China) and an unbridled passion for creating a safe, welcoming space for children. All children are welcome to explore and develop and grow with as few limitations as possible. On this particular day, little Chloe wanted a tea set. By the time this project was completed, we had a tea pot, tea cup & spoon, sugar pot (full of sand) and an almond-shaped nut bowl (thanks Bob!). We love our local playgroup and the seemingly limitless opportunities for investment in little ones and making memories. :)

South of the River:

South Bank Parklands cover 17 hectares of river-front land and feature free swimming facilities, walking tracks, picnic spaces and more. Very family friendly.

The Queensland Museum offers free entry to permanent exhibitions. Visit Brisbane describes the museum as, “The State's centre for natural history, cultural heritage, science and human achievement”.

QAGOMA (Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art) also offers free entry to permanent exhibitions. Usually worth popping in and losing yourself for a couple of hours.

Queensland Art Gallery (Poppy & Sage Photography)

Queensland Art Gallery (Poppy & Sage Photography)

Queensland Art Gallery; “Under the Jacaranda” by R Godfrey Rivers. Here is part of the description for this painting: “Completed 13 years after Godfrey Rivers arrived in Australia, Under the jacaranda 1903 offers a view of early twentieth-century life in Brisbane, with the subject reflecting a popular genteel European tradition of ‘taking tea’ in an attractive outdoor setting. The work depicts the artist and his wife, Selina, under the shade of a jacaranda tree in full bloom in the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens. Rivers captures the majestic form of the tree, emphasising its distinctive colour with the contrasting green vegetation and the sparkling accent of the red umbrella”. (Poppy & Sage Photography)

Queensland Art Gallery; an exhibit we came across during the current exhibition of the 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT9). (Poppy & Sage Photography)

"What is something quirky we would find in your town, state or country": The fact that our city has been built around a murky river (well, an estuary to be precise), attracting monikers like “brown snake” because, quite frankly, you can never have too many references to our deadly wildlife. Ah, we are grateful to live here - truly.

Brisbane River in the rain (Poppy & Sage Photography)

Brisbane River in the rain (Poppy & Sage Photography)

Advertising for “A Suburban Obsession” at the State Library of Queensland (Poppy & Sage Photography)

Since our city is pretty laid-back, you can be walking along Queen Street one moment and experiencing Sheppard live the next (can personally testify; they raised the roof with Geronimo). Brisbane is a bit of an unassuming city and we love that. We hope it never changes in this respect.

"Coffee or chai/tea?": Our coffee scene isn’t as strong as some other Australian cities so we are going to go with chai tea. The best place for this is at The Three Monkeys. It will be served to you in a bowl. Just go with it. Oh, and pick a table all the way out the back of the cafe. You will find a cosy back garden where time slows down and you will want to return stat. :)

"Best breakfast cafe?": The Low Road Cafe. This is a must. Please don’t fly halfway around the world and not partake here. We mean, there is a very good chance that you will pass the cafe on your way from the airport to the city so just.make.the.pit-stop. We have been going to the Low Road Cafe since they were kind enough to offer a highchair to tired & harassed parents. We heard a rumour that after writing “Kick Me” on the back of the highchair, they threw it under a passing train on the nearby tracks. Needless to say, we haven’t seen that white highchair in a looooooong time. Top tip (nothing to do with food as you can pick anything here): just be a decent human and they won’t publicly shame you on their facebook page. They probably won’t remember you, either, so there’s that, too.

Breakfast at The Low Road Cafe in Brisbane (Poppy & Sage Photography)

Breakfast at The Low Road Cafe in Brisbane (Poppy & Sage Photography)

"Three reasons for why someone should visit your town, state or country?": 1) What you see is what you get; Brisbane is not pretentious. 2) The Low Road Cafe; we are yet to find a cafe in the world that gives us the same comforting postprandial hypotension to kick off our day and, at the same time, promises to ruin our next event if we choose to book it with them (we never said that we don’t have Stockholm Syndrome). 3) Brisbane is family-friendly; a big deal for us now that we have a little one.

"Train, bus, car or walk?": If you live here (backstory because it’s complicated), it comes down to where you live. Brisbane is still ironing out the public transport options in general. If you are here for travel, you might be able to get away with public transport (we have made sure that most of our suggestions above have been public transport friendly). Outside of the city, car hire will be the most reliable option and will allow for greater flexibility in outer suburbs; just keep alert but not alarmed for parking signage (fyi: our parking ticket officers take their job seriously). The central business district itself is conducive to walking but make sure that you slip, slop, slap, seek & slide (slip on a shirt, slop on the 50+ sunscreen, slap on a hat, seek shade or shelter & slide on some glasses; Australia is the melanoma capital of the world after all).

"Best accommodation?": We wouldn’t know for sure as we haven’t experienced Brisbane accommodation outside of our living quarters! In terms of luxury, Sofitel is highly rated and about as central as possible to Brisbane City. Otherwise, Airbnb it and get to know some (more likely than not) friendly locals!

"Must-see vantage point?": Mt Coot-tha Lookout offers panoramic views but is over-rated. There we go; we said it. It can also be a little bit inconvenient to get there (some advice here; parking at the top is at a premium). Our local council is currently redeveloping the Mt Coot-tha site to include a treetop canopy tour, a scenic zipline tour, & an Indigenous cultural heritage tour and skywalk. In other words, watch this space (the treetop canopy tour is expected to be open as early as sometime this year). At the base of Mt Coot-tha, however, are some very pretty gardens: we shared some of our small adventures here and here. They are really nice gardens to wander in for a few hours.

"Who is the most note-worthy person to come from your hometown?": Geoffrey Rush. Possibly? Well, he was actually born in Toowoomba (down the road and around the corner) but he went to school & university here in Brisbane so that sort of counts, yes?

"Number one thing you miss when you're away?": It is hard to beat our climate for most of the year. You thought we were going to say the Low Road Cafe. We would but they don’t offer us a highchair. :p

Brisbane looking pretty at blue hour (Poppy & Sage Photography)

If you come and grace Brisbane with your presence, feel free to hit us up for fresh/season-specific recommendations. We would be only too happy to help.

Christmas in Brisbane

We have been spoiled. We have enjoyed a European Christmas previously.

We spent Christmas itself in Dresden with wonderful friends. One memory (it has been five years, after all!) that we cherish, in particular, was perusing the Dresden Striezelmarkt, Germany’s oldest Christmas markets. That Christmas really set the benchmark for us.

Christmas in Brisbane is… well… hot. Humid. Steeped in commercialism

HOWEVER, Brisbane has a beautiful Christmas experience to offer in and of itself. To be honest, you really do not have to look too far for opportunities to make some lovely memories. As our Lord Mayor Graham Quirk is quick to point out: “Brisbane is a great place to live, work & relax - it’s a safe, vibrant, green & prosperous city, valued for its friendly & optimistic character and enjoyable subtropical lifestyle”. These characteristics & attributes are reflected in our unique celebration of Christmas.

FURTHERMORE, many of Brisbane’s Christmas events are free and family-friendly. You can find things to see & do in The City, South Bank and Roma Street Parkland. (If you are keen to see what we get up to in Brissie, jump on instagram and follow the hashtag #MerryBrismas.)

We have compiled some images below from our 2018 Christmas in Brisbane. We hope you enjoy!

There is something that is a quintessential part of Christmas for me (Em): Pete’s (very rum) Rum Balls. They are one of the highlights of my year. Pete has truly perfected his recipe. (One of the best things about them is that they are not geographically limited!)

We like to say that Queensland is “beautiful one day & perfect the next”. However, we experience extreme heatwaves & explosive storms during our summer months. One thing is for sure, though: if you are looking to escape the snow, Brisbane is a safe bet!

We indulged in a pizza cook-up at Northey Street City Farm. The catalyst was random musings during a community playgroup; everyone’s individual contributions came together perfectly. This will be a lovely Christmas memory for years to come - for both parents and children.

Brisbane Arcade usually looks pristine and welcoming but is particularly stunning at Christmas-time.

Queen Street Mall, including the Myer Centre animated Christmas window display, is worth looking at during Christmas.

Regent Theatre’s foyer is another recommended Christmas-related spot to check out.

The South Bank Christmas Gift Markets are quirky and inviting. You will want to stay for a while.

King George Square boasts The Christmas Tree and the City Hall Lights.

In conclusion, our city is beautiful and well worth a visit during Christmas. <3

Travel Diaries :: Prompts for the Journey Home

We have shared a couple of musings from our travels (here & here). We are continuing that theme today but from a different perspective. We have mentioned previously that we are not diary-type people but that we do enjoy chronicling our adventures. In fact, we make it a priority. On our way home, we pen our final thoughts: the good, the bad & the ugly. It is our way of summarising the cliff notes - or the key events & experiences, if you like - while they are still fresh.

On our way home from Europe, we interviewed each other with some of the following prompts:

Our holiday in review:

  • Most exciting moment

  • Most depressing

  • Most notable

  • Most life-changing (neither of our answers were very philosophical, by the way!)

  • Most confronting

  • Most relaxing

  • Most stressful

  • Most awkward

  • Most challenging

  • Most humbling

  • Places we must revisit

  • Most interesting people

  • Best hotel moment

  • Worst hotel moment

  • Strangest food

  • Best sugary treat

  • Biggest highlight

  • Favourite city

  • Least favourite city

When we visited India, we adopted a different approach. We made a list of things we would not miss about India and things we would. Here are just some of the things we listed that we would miss:

  • Friends/adopted family (both)

  • Curry for breakfast (Pete)

  • Organised chaos (both)

  • Polite hospitality (both)

  • Colours (both)

  • Masala chai tea (Em)

  • Architecture & art (both)

  • Roti, garlic naan & paratha (both)

  • Constantly exploring (Em)

  • Nat Geo in person (both; wonderful experience to see places we had only read about previously come to life)

  • Beeping horns (both; we actually adapted to the background noise and, in the end, it grew on us)

  • Eating with your hands (Pete; we were really nervous about this aspect of Indian culture upon arrival but we ended up adjusting within days and grew to enjoy this further tactile extension of the eating experience and found it hard to believe that we had been concerned in the first place)

Just reading through this list makes us want to go back to India stat. We are so glad that we recorded these feelings & thoughts while they were still fresh. The following two sentences sum up how we feel about documenting our travels. If you do not record these adventures, you may regret it one day. If you do record your adventures and you never look at your writings again, at least you had the choice. Do future you a favour and write it all down. Furthermore, you just might find that your trip home feels that little bit shorter. Or it could just be the “return trip effect” but that’s a different story. Happy & safe travels! :)

Travel Diaries :: Corrie Ten Boom Huis & Anne Frank Museum

We recently wrote a post addressing today's obsession with presenting a perfect & happy image (literally) on social media platforms, such as Instagram, and musing about the somewhat forgotten art of storytelling (perhaps with less filtering?) by way of handwritten diaries. We wrapped up the post with this: "We vote for both: enjoy and share with the world your highlight reel on Instagram (after all, holidays are usually a huge investment so enjoy reliving those memories over and over!) but also treasure those raw and gritty handwritten travel diaries over a glass or two of red (after all, those genuine and authentic moments are priceless)! Who knows... we might even share a story or two or three from our travel diaries this year. <3"

We are going to share below one of our journal entries from the 3rd of January, 2014. We had just visited both the Corrie Ten Boom Huis & the Anne Frank Museum:


"Today we set out to see the Anne Frank Museum (AFM), the Corrie Ten Boom Huis (CTBH), and go on a canal tour. We got 2 of the above done. However, although we only got 2 done, I feel as though I reached my saturation point today ... so much to write about! Firstly, we went to the tourism place across the road from Centraal Station to find out where the CTBH is located and how to get there (public transport). It turned out that it is in Haarlem and about 10 minutes walk from the Haarlem Station. As the CTBH stopped tours from 3 pm and the AFM closed at 7 pm, we decided to go for the CTBH first. We bought a day ticket for the train and got on for Haarlem.

On the way, the ticket officer asked for our tickets. We produced them. She took them from us and promptly got upset with us. It soon became apparent that we had (unwittingly) purchased a ticket for the tram and bus instead of the train. To make matters worse, it was with another company. How we had made this mistake was that most of the ticket machines required payment by card. The machine from which we purchased our tickets was one of the few we could find that accepted cash. Well, the situation could have been worse; the ticket officer, after we explained that it was our second day in the Netherlands, took the tickets from us and explained that we would have to buy new tickets at the station. So we did.

Image was taken by us during our holiday adventuring. (You can purchase original Ten Boom watches here.)

We headed for the Corrie Ten Boom Huis. It was a beautiful neighbourhood. It was surreal walking the streets Corrie and her family walked. We found the museum and I was so surprised to find that the jewellery shop is still open and trading under the Ten Boom name still. They were selling watches in the window - Swiss, et cetera - and some were just 'Ten Boom'. It was great to see.

We lined up with 3 Americans for the next tour starting in 5 minutes. A very friendly American lady welcomed us in for the tour and directed us to the living room. It was ... surreal. Having read the 'Hiding Place' and watched the film, it was hard to process that we were sitting in the living room of the Ten Boom's home. The tour guide talked us through the main parts of Corrie's story and, as she got to different sections of the story, we moved to different parts of the house. We got to Corrie's bedroom where the hiding place is. Pete and I stepped in. At one stage, while Pete was in the hiding place section of Corrie's room, the tour guide pulled down a curtain and closed the cupboard door to the opening into the hiding place. While it was dark, she started knocking on the wall and Pete later said the experience was unnerving and made the story of the 6 Jews 'held captive' in there for 47 hours more tangible.

We walked to St Bravo Church where the Ten Booms went to church. They were busy setting up for a winter festival tonight and we were fortunate enough that they were playing the pipe organ containing 68 registers and featuring 5,068 pipes. Mozart played the organ in 1766 and G.F. Händel also played it (the Christian Müller organ).

We went and had a high tea (of sorts) at Bij Babette just down the road from the CTBH. We indulged in delicious scones and an amazing green tea called 'The Love Potion'. We asked our friendly waitress to surprise us with a tea and she delivered.

Next stop was the AFM. After the cosiness and warmth of the CTBH, I found the AFM a bit sterile and detached but it was a powerful experience nonetheless. Such a strong story and very glad we went. It was particularly sobering to see Anne's name in a huge, fat in memorium book lising every Jew (103,000) who was killed in the Netherlands during the war. To think that so many people died senselessly was staggering and upsetting.

It was a buzz to see Anne's diary in the flesh - to see her handwriting with corrections, et cetera. It made it all so much more real. Another little thing that stood out to me was on a picture Anne had put on her wall of a pretty young lady (from a magazine or paper, I assume). It was black & white, of course, but Anne had coloured the lady's lips with a pink pencil. It was a reminder that she was just a girl doing girl things."


"Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart." ~ Corrie Ten Boom

We must learn from history.

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 (@) poppyandsagephotography.com.au, or call or text us: +61424263106. We aim to respond within 48 hours (Mon - Fri during business hours). Hope you have a fabulous week!

Crisp, Curated Instagrams & Muddy, Unfiltered Diaries

We recently read a very endearing article (here) by Danny Wallace from Conde Nast Traveller regarding the evolution of holiday memory collection. In the good old days, handwritten diaries were standard. In today's culture, carefully curated images and stories are the norm. In the good old days, diaries were written for the person writing it (if intensely personal). Or perhaps for friends and family, as well, but still a controlled audience. One major purpose of Instagram is to share. Widely. In so doing, the world becomes a smaller place - in theory, at least. A side-effect is relinquishment of audience control unless the account is private. Memories are recorded with different target audiences in mind. Funnily enough, the content usually reflects this.

In our day to day life, we are not big diary people personally. Our calendar serves the only day to day purpose we need: keeping track of bills, appointments, sessions, etc. However, when we travel, we make keeping a diary a priority to the point that we actually plan part of our day around our diary. Every night, we try to find a quiet spot where we can have dinner (?glass of red) and record the details of our day. Every single day. We have found that if even 3 or more days pass, your memory of what happened when can start to fade and drift into differing recollections of what took place between observers and subjects. We record the good and the bad. We record the anticipated and the unexpected. We record the happy times and the sad. It's therapeutic in a way and clears your mind so you're fresh to welcome a new day of exploration and adventure. It also means we won't ever forget e.x.a.c.t.l.y what our holiday was like. This is why Danny's article resonated with us, we assume. We found this paragraph particularly pertinent:

"I think we’re in danger of only documenting the things we think we’d like to remember. The things that paint our trip the way we think the trip should have gone. The things you’d Instagram. But it means we risk turning those memories into a stylised highlights package or a magazine spread, when what makes it real and important are the small and everyday memories that slip between the cracks. Often, the things that make your trip memorable are those very things we forget, maybe because we mistakenly choose to. Those seemingly pointless, perhaps even, on paper, dull details that – when taken and put together – make up a wonderful whole."

We vote for both: enjoy and share with the world your highlight reel on Instagram (after all, holidays are usually a huge investment so enjoy reliving those memories over and over!) but also treasure those raw and gritty handwritten travel diaries over a glass or two of red (after all, those genuine and authentic moments are priceless)! Who knows... we might even share a story or two or three from our travel diaries this year. <3

Our own travel diaries to date; 302 pages worth.

Our own travel diaries to date; 302 pages worth.