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.

Happy Easter!

We just want to take a moment to say Happy Easter! We hope everyone has been enjoying a safe and relaxing long weekend.

Last year we made a prediction: “This is the first year that our little Chloe (21 months) has been cognizant enough to go for an Easter egg hunt around our home. We are very proud of the choices that she is already making in the food department. She had part of one egg and then handed it back asking for "ap-pel" and "bah-nah-nah" instead. We happily took one (? two) for the McDonald Family team and finished the eggs off for her. Next year will probably be a different story. ;-)”

Yep. Our Chloe loved her Easter egg hunt this year. :D Absolutely sure no apple or banana (or any other fruit, for that matter) was consumed during the course of yesterday. Good thing Chloe is a little fruit bat nearly every other day.

We hope everyone enjoyed a memorable Easter, too, with family &/or friends.

We recently visited some friends in Mount Samson. Such a stunning part of the world and only ~45 minutes from where we live! So green and lush. It was a great reminder to slow down and make more family memories. <3

Rolling hills for days.

“There's a track winding back to an old fashioned shack…” <3

Information :: Why We Provide a Second Shooter

We introduced ourselves here. We shared a little about our personalities here. We included a list of 10 random things about us here. Today we want to share 10 reasons for why we provide two shooters on your wedding day. It has been well-documented that many couples regret not spending more on photography (base assumption being that greater value would equate to higher quality). While the appropriate compensation for photography services is subjective and dependent on key factors such as experience & expertise, there is one thing for sure at Poppy & Sage Photography: we want to go above and beyond to ensure that you love your images. We want to exceed your expectation for quality. One way we strive to meet this goal is through the provision of two shooters. Why exactly? Well, here are 10 reasons:

  1. One of us is responsible for the shot list provided by the client & meeting standard composition requirements; the other typically focuses on candid photography & creative composition (everything comes back to our questionnaire, though, and the priorities that you have detailed!)

  2. Second set of eyes = different perspective (for example, height differences; there is a foot between us!)

  3. Bride & groom are at 2 different locations? No problemo! (In the event of one photographer, it would be necessary to stack getting ready sessions = adding extra time to the day)

  4. Ability to split up timeline so one can focus on the bridal party, for example, and the other on the couple portraits (especially useful when timelines can run behind on the day or we need to meet specific criteria, such as couple portraits at golden hour)

  5. Technology can fail; nice to have built-in back-up with a second shooter as part of risk management

  6. Bigger wedding (100+) with a lot going on (getting ready, a first look, details, family portraits, and so on)? We’ve got it!

  7. Larger venue where you can’t possibly run back and forth to see from both side (or if you did, it would be pretty distracting)

  8. One can focus on the couple and the other on guest reactions (while walking down the aisle, for example)

  9. Two photographers typically shoot with different settings, such as aperture - this can make a huge difference to the overall feel of the image

  10. We have different strengths and interests - this is represented in our individual work and complementary perspectives

  11. We enjoy working together… oh, wait - that’s 11! We’ll stop. ;)

Information :: Ten Things About Us

A little while ago, we shared a few things about each of us on instagram:

Pete:
1) is half-Czech
2) moved 8 times during childhood
3) has visited 3 continents to date - 4 to go

Em:
1) played competition tennis for approx. 7 years
2) has rural roots (small town of Chinchilla, Queensland)
3) was in a tambourine ensemble... don't ask haha


It was a fun exercise (for something different). We figured that we would continue the theme a little with 5 things for each of us:

Pete:

  • Is yet to find chilli so hot that he can’t eat it

  • Will talk about the behaviour of light when you ask for best-lighting-on-the-day advice (geek alert)… but will come up with Dad jokes as prompts for posing (talk about hitting the jackpot) :D

  • Has been on 64 flights to date

  • Has held a baby crocodile

  • Makes the absolute best prosciutto and rucola pizza (and vanilla slice, while we are at it)

Em:

  • Misses the Nokia 3310; those were the simpler days

  • Has waved to the Queen

  • Mapped out Parisian adventures around sweet tooth: self-dubbed “Tour de boulangerie”

  • Bumped into Steve Irwin at Australia Zoo (he was carrying Bindi - a baby - in a duffle bag)

  • Is scared of heights but has also been skydiving (along with Pete)

From a recent wedding (image by Pete from Poppy & Sage Photography)

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

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.

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. :)

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.