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:

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.

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.

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!

Meet Homewares, Stationery & Giftware Designer, Sophie!

You get to meet the lovely Sophie from Sophia Mulheran Designs today! We recently undertook a project with Sophie that we can't wait to share in the coming months. It was a delight to work with her and we can vouch for the wow factor her products bring. We have enjoyed getting to know the Sophia Mulheran Design brand for a couple of reasons in particular. At a business level, we enjoy supporting local businesses and you will find the Sophia. brand based here in Brisbane, Australia. On a personal level, Pete has a science degree with an environmental major & Em has honours in environmental microbiology; the Sophia. brand is passionate about sustainable and ethical business practices so this (environmentally conscious) aspect resonates with us. We recently noticed on Sophie's instagram that the team have picked up 10,479 pieces of rubbish so far this year! What an amazing effort! I am sure you would be keen to hear more of the stories behind Sophie's business so I will now hand it over to her (and you will find Sophia Mulheran Designs listed among our recommended vendors):

"Tell us about yourself” 

I’m a creative and passionate Brisbanite who is working towards the most sustainable and ethical lifestyle and business. I love drawing so to essentially be able to do it as a job (as well as creating other awesome things) is an absolute dream come true!

"Why did you choose to design homewares, stationery and giftware?” 

I’ve always wanted to make a positive difference to our environment and community so when I formulated the idea to turn my passions into a career, I stopped at nothing to get the business up and running. The Sophia. Brand launched in August 2017 and since then, it’s been nothing but a success. I have learnt so much and met so many beautiful and inspiring people.

"How did your interest in design and creativity start?”

I grew up on an acreage property so I was constantly building, exploring, creating and running free. This has shaped me into the person I am today and has armed me with an intense passion for the environment and everything creative.

"Who in business inspires you?”

There’s too many to count!! I’m inspired by anyone and everyone who has the courage to take the leap of faith and follow their dreams. It’s inspiring to see so many people who have made the decision to quit their day jobs and set out to do exactly what they were born to do.

"Any misconceptions about your industry that you would like to dispel?” 

Most people think that I sit down and carefully plan out every tiny detail of my designs but the truth is that I create all my designs on the spot and I never know how they are going to turn out.

"Do you have any tips for those of us who aren't experts?” 

I know there’s people out there who think they don’t have a creative bone in their body but the truth is that my drawings used to be messy and nothing of great quality. It was only the other day that I found a few drawings that I created not long before I launched my business. If I was still creating those dodgy designs, my business would be an absolute flop! Keep exploring different aspects and don’t forget that nearly anything can be considered art!

"Why should couples choose you for their big day?” 

When it comes to weddings, I have a few unique things to offer. The first being custom-designed wedding invitations and menus to suit your flowers, style and wedding layout. I’ve also introduced wedding hire items. These include my hand-crafted copper bowls and plates, which bring a striking colour and texture to the wedding dining

"How do you set yourself apart from competitors?”

I pride myself on being unique and creating things that people have never seen before. What's the point of following the trend when you can create your own?

"What is the best advice you ever received?”

I’ve received lots of awesome advice over the years but one thing I always tell myself is that if you keep going and never give up, you will succeed. Work hard, keep your head down and you’ll get there in the end!

"What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?” 

Who knew there was so much to learn about running a business? I thought I’d done the majority of the work when I launched the business but the truth is that there is always improvements to make. Business is a journey too!

"How do you balance work and family demands?” 

I’m definitely guilty of working for 5am until 10pm without so much as a break. I have way too many ideas that I want to follow through on so at this point in time, work never really stops for me. I might find a balance one day!

"Anything else you would like to add?” 

If you’d like to follow my sustainable and ethical business journey, feel free to check out my website and social media pages: 

Website: http://www.sophiamulheran.com 

Instagram: Instagram.com/sophia.mulheran.designs 

Facebook: Facebook.com/sophiamulheran 

Twitter: Twitter.com/mulheransophie