MaggShots Photography is a portrait and lifestyle photographer serving the Lewisville area for over 7 years. Head photographer Maggie Hargrave fuses her fresh and unique style with a touch of sentimentality as she artistically captures images of newlyweds, families, newborns, children, expectant mothers, and high school seniors. MaggShots Photography boasts stellar ratings on The Knot and Facebook.
I know it's easier said than done, but please don't worry about being "bad" in front of the camera! I've been photographing weddings and engagements since 2001, and have documented hundreds of couples. I can honestly tell you that not a single one of those couples, no matter how much they swore up and down that they would be, were "terrible" in their pictures! Awkward, sure. Uncomfortable, yes. But getting you to feel less awkward and uncomfortable is my job, and I promise that I'm good at it. I promise to do everything in my power to make you feel at-ease and comfortable during your engagement session.
Make sure that the children can move freely in their outfits and that they aren’t going to be pulling and scratching at their new clothes. You want them happy and comfortable, not grouchy and miserable during the shoot! This means letting them have some input in what they wear. Kids who help dress themselves will not only be much happier campers when shooting time comes, but you’ll let their own beautiful personalities shine through in the images. Also, try not to make kids change outfits more than a couple times – another reason all those layers and accessories can be handy. The same goes for you – make sure that you select an outfit that makes you feel stunning and relaxed.
Honestly, dads are often my toughest cases. Moms, dad might need a little incentive, too:) Sometimes, I get the kids to tickle dad to crack that natural smile. Oh yeah, and mom, don’t be too hard on yourself. Wear a shirt that you feel good about yourself in and plan the family clothing options around it. I recognize that if mom doesn’t look good, she won’t love the portraits, and I want you to LOVE them! I am a big advocate of moms being in pictures with their kids because they are often the unseen behind the camera.
Trust me, I watch the weather apps on my phone like a hawk in the days leading up to your session.  If it looks like rain, we'll connect a few days in advance to discuss a game plan.  99% of the time that involves picking a new date and moving the session to that new date.  Sometimes clients would rather wait until the morning of the session to see if it really will rain.  I'm totally fine with doing that, but bear in mind that if we start the session and it gets rained out, there will be a fee to reschedule.

Light can make or break any photograph, portraits are no different. The very derivative of the word photography is “drawing with light”. The biggest thing you want to make sure you do for portraits is get light into your subjects’ eyes. There are many ways to do that and that’s a whole huge topic but there are a few things you can do to set yourself up to start off with good light.
Last tip is to no take yourself so seriously. Create a few really whacky shots at the end of the session (or even in the middle if the energy seems to be fading). Tell them to do a group squish and really get them to squish. Often they will start laughing and as they pull apart you grab the shot. Do a pile on down in the grass. Ask them to jump in the air or make goofy faces (you make one too). It breaks the tension and lightens up the mood.
Some photographers will sit with your family after the session to review images together, allowing you to order portraits on different print media or with custom framing. These photographers can help you identify the best places in your home to hang wall portraits, even using real pictures of your home to digitally demonstrate what your favorite family portraits will look like hanging above your furniture in different sizes, groupings, or frames.
Few styles of portrait photography are as tricky as newborn photos — the unpredictable infant is always in charge! The best way to ensure a successful photo shoot is to work with a local newborn photographer within the first two weeks of the baby’s life. Some photographers even work with hospitals to offer newborn sessions within a day of the baby’s birth. But newborn photographers usually recommend scheduling a shoot during the baby’s first two weeks of life, while the baby is still sleepy and relatively cooperative, especially for posed or studio shots. During this time, babies are easier to swaddle in blankets and dress in hats or headbands, and, because they often nap or nurse, can be staged with various props or be cuddled by their parents. For casual photos, most newborn photographers recommend shooting within the first six weeks of a baby’s life. Lifestyle portrait photography is more flexible and doesn’t require the baby to cooperate with multiple poses or props.

Hopefully this post has helped you answer the question of How do I choose a family photographer. Still want to learn more about choosing a family photographer for your shoot? Here is another great blog about choosing the right photographer which covers some of the same tips as well as additional information on the topic. I love to include other people’s writing on the same topic just because I myself am kind of a research addict for big purchases! Remember, Proper prior planning is everything and research is where it all starts!
Avoid anything with logos, graphics, characters, labels, etc. These tend to take the “finished” look of a professional portrait down a few notches, can be distracting (who wants people to first notice the Nike or Gap logo before the adorable little kid’s smile?) and will date a photo quickly. I’m having flashbacks to me wearing Esprit tee-shirts with my Guess jeans back in grade school, right along side my little brother in his Gotcha shirt (and if you’re sitting there wondering what I’m talking about, you must not be an 80’s child, LOL). Note: There are a few instances where a more stylized graphic on a shirt can look good if it fits the vibe of a photo, for instance, in my six year old’s birthday session we did a total punk rock theme to go along with her party. She wore a Johnny Cash tee with her tutu and baby sis rocked a Ramones tee.
We're getting maternity & newborn photos taken. I think the total is like $650 and we'll get all the photos on a disc. We had a disaster of our wedding photos three years ago and I always said from then on that I wouldn't pass on photos of a once in a lifetime event just because they are pricey. And I'd pay top dollar to get the best if I needed to. It still hurts my heart when I realize that we don't have a single picture of just my husband & I on our wedding day. Not one. When I thought we were taking photos together our photographer later explained she was just "testing the light & setting her settings". Who does that?!
I think the best way to get family pictures is a little of both – print and digital – especially since photographers generally charge a lot for their rights to be released via digital images/CDs. If I am limited in the package deal to only 1 image on a CD (like when we’ve gone to Sears or JCPenney), then I generally choose the family group shot as my one image, and get prints of the individual shots.
An engagement session is, quite simply, a portrait session of you and your future spouse. Some clients opt for an engagement session to fulfill a specific purpose. Sometimes it's for Save the Date cards, to be displayed at your wedding reception, or to be incorporated into your wedding website. Sometimes it's just a wonderful opportunity to have professional photographs taken of you two together during this time in your lives. The engagement period is a very sweet time in your relationship, and it's lovely to commemorate that with pictures of you both together.
While our process is high tech, our beliefs remain simple.  We feel every customer should be treated as an honored guest and given the highest level of respect and courtesy.  We understand that our customers value the importance of capturing and sharing online, cherished family and personal memories, events and milestones and we feel honored to be the one selected to capture those memories.Rebecca’s family photography sessions are all-inclusive. You’ll receive all of the retouched digital images (around 40) after the session and are able to print them at the sizes you wish from the photo labs of your choice. The family portrait session package description and pricing are located here.  The family session deposit is fully refundable if you cancel your session at least two weeks prior to the scheduled session date.  

Don’t see a shot list as necessarily being a bad thing. Have some shots in mind that you and the couple have discussed prior to the wedding. This way you can discuss the feasibility of the ideas. Plus if they want a shot with Auntie Edna you will know to capture that specific photo. A shot list can be unnecessary for the things you know you will capture. But for the more obscure things a couple wants photos of it can be a great thing.


Inspiration is everywhere – probably even in the form of Pinterest emails from your client.  It is a great idea to have some poses in mind before you arrive at the session.  However, like letting the love story of a wedding day unfold organically, I believe the best images are unplanned and inspired by the uniqueness of each baby.  Whether it is cute dimples, big beautiful eyes, full lips, or a great head of hair, try to highlight the beauty of the baby.
Plan on spending at least an hour to get some good shots. I generally spend two hours when I photograph a newborn (some pros spend twice that much time). If you’re taking pictures of your own baby, you could also plan to spend just half an hour but try once a day for the first week. Figure out what will work best for your schedule, but realize this won’t be a quick process. Also, the photoshoot will be much easier if you have someone to help you, so rope your husband/mom/friend into being your assistant.
When being photographed  most, if not all, people are nervous. Yes nervous! Some are down right scared, and some would even go as far to say that they “hate it”. So it is part of your job to help your subjects feel more comfortable and relaxed. That can be hard to do when you’re also nervous, especially if you’re new to portraits. But there’s a big advantage of putting that camera on the tripod.  Two actually.
Posed/studio sessions – Typically must be done within the first 2 weeks of birth when the baby is very sleepy and “mold-able”.  The focus in this type of session is on shots of the baby looking perfect, usually in blankets, wraps, hats, & headbands.  The session can last up to 4 hours with feeding, potty breaks, and posing.  Editing this type of session also takes quite a bit of time as each image needs to go through Photoshop individually to get a polished end result.
More than any other complaint I hear from brides is that the photographer missed getting a certain photo (such as the bride with her high school roommate, her little sister in the pink dress, etc).  The best way to avoid this is to simply meet with the bride before the wedding and have her create a shoot list.  You can even bring some sample photos (perhaps on an iPad?) to the meeting and have her select a few poses she really wants.  Write down the bride's shot list and mark each one off on wedding day.  I usually end up with about 15 “must have” shots.
She advises against using a Speedlight mounted on the camera. While this may be her preference, and often for good reason, it really depends on your location's light. I tend to shoot in open shade under a large tree where it can get pretty dark. Shadows under the eyes, nose and chin can be eliminated with a slight flash fill. In post processing, I'll using Lightroom's dodge tool to add more light to faces, if necessary. Even a half-stop boost will make your subjects stand out.
On here, you listed there will be a “part two” that “will have recommendations for those on a tight budget” and for those using a Canon. Personally, I’m just wondering when you might be posting the info on a tight budget? My dad used to be a photographer and can probably recommend a lower end camera that still works great, but I would like to see what you recommend. (:
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