Shannon Graham on the Art of Photography

Hi friends! This week we've asked Shannon Graham, of Shannon Graham Photography, to share her experience taking photos of our products! We had so much fun spending time with her and really admired her knowledge of photography and styling. Enjoy! -- 


Hey there, y'all! I'm Shannon, the owner of Shannon Graham Photography, and I had the honor of photographing the debut product line for Sage Paper Co.! The lovely boss ladies of Sage Paper Co., Alexa and Chelsea, asked if I would be interested in blogging about my experience photographing their line, and I thought, Of course! I had a fantastic time working with them and I'd love to talk about the creative process that unfolded between us as photographer and designer.

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For me, the most fun of photographing this product line was getting to collaborate with Alexa and Chelsea who not only provided their gorgeous prints, cards, and invitation suites, but also came outfitted with test shots that illustrated for me what their vision looked like. My job was not to come in and turn Sage Paper Co. into what I wanted it to be, but rather, to interpret through my lens what their business was all about, fitting in with their style and their branding.

 For this product line shoot, we utilized soft, natural light; muted florals with interesting textures, such as dusty miller; and vintage decor pieces mixed with trendier elements like burlap or simple, modern IKEA frames.

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Immediately upon viewing their set-up at my time of arrival, I felt very safe in translating that Sage Paper Co. is a brand that is both rooted in being traditional enough for pieces to become heirlooms, but not at all stuffy or condescendingly out of place in the everyday home. Their products are versatile and earthy, much like their namesake. Products from their collection would look just as perfectly chosen for my home office as they would for a college dorm room, or for a black-tie wedding.

It was really important for me to not only come prepared but also to keep my methods of photographing their product line consistent in order to assist them with online retailing. I used two of my favorite lenses, the Canon 50mm f/1.2 and the Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro, to not only highlight the overall look of their line, but to note the quality of their products. I brought along my styling box, which is a resource I use for wedding days, filled with handy items I might need in a pinch.

The best light, in my opinion, is always beautiful natural light, and so we wanted to capitalize on the way these products would look if they were styled in your home - with light streaming through your windows, across your mantle and your walls. I used my 50mm lens for those shots, and Alexa and Chelsea styled these shots beautifully with only minimal adjustments from me due to the direction of the light in the room.

Every product of theirs was photographed with my macro lens, giving me the ability to capture the fine elements of their product line, and not just in terms of the quality of materials chosen, but also how intricately detailed their work is. Alexa and Chelsea took care to choose high-quality, lush options for their products, reinforcing the feel of their prints and cards as pieces versatile enough for everyday use, but equally at home in a vintage gilted frame or among fine stationery; and their attention to detail was stunning on some of my favorite products, such as the Cord of Three Strands print.

For the majority of their product line - their collection of wall prints and greeting cards - I used Alexa and Chelseas creative direction to replicating the shots that they envisioned in their test styling shots, merely stepping in to make slight adjustments if I felt that the change better showcased the beauty of their product line. Literally, my changes to their vision were minimal, as both Alexa and Chelsea are naturals at styling!

Where I really had time to style was in the photographing of Sage Paper Co.’s wedding suites. Alexa and Chelsea were very generous in giving me the opportunity to play around with their designs and do with them as I pleased, adding my own take on arranging and capturing the details of their products. What I loved most about this was that it gave me so much hands-on time with their invitation suites, and I could tell that these designs were very carefully thought out and chosen.

My experience working with Sage Paper Co. was a really lovely one, and I was so fortunate that they chose to have their products photographed professionally, as it gave me the chance to have hands-on time with their line! Also, the vendor relationship there is an important one because of the knowledge that comes from working together closely on a project such as this.

From my perspective as a photographer, I gained a lot of knowledge about the intentional choices designers make when they are creating their products, and I was also able to photograph these items with the sole intention of highlighting their beauty, not just incorporating them in detail shots alongside bridal shoes, a bouquet, and jewelry. I was able to really focus on why it’s important to show the fine detail of felt paper or gold foiled finishes, for example. I also think that for designers to see photographers style with their products, it gives them some insight into how we operate as we are looking over an invitation suite on the day of a wedding, deciding how these pieces fit in seamlessly with the bride’s special details.

This wraps up my guest blog for the ladies of Sage Paper Co.! Thank you so much for reading. Alexa and Chelsea, thank you so much for asking me to guest on your blog! I’m so happy for your business, and I can’t wait to see as you grow and expand! :)


We would like to thank Shannon so much for her incredible work and wonderful blog post! We really appreciate her support for our company and absolutely love showing off our product photos :)  To learn more about Shannon and her photography work, visit: shannongrahamphotography.com