Welcome to my blog! This is where I'll share a little about my recent sessions, my family, thoughts on life and some ideas about portrait photography. Feel free to check back often or make comments. I love to hear from people! For more information e-mail me at info@maggiemalsonphotography.com.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Snickers Cheesecake ~ Getting personal

Earlier in the month, we celebrated my husband's birthday. I wanted to make him something special because I have a major sweet tooth (we all do) so I love any reason to bake. I had found this recipe back in July and since cheesecake is one of my hubby's favorite desserts, I thought this the perfect occasion. Now mind you, I have never made a real cheesecake. I have thought about it, but it was always easier and less time consuming to just open the cheesecake box mix. Now, I'm not knocking it. I love that stuff, but now after trying this EASY and DELICIOUS recipe, I may just have to add this dessert to my new favs list! The recipe is from PW's Tasty Kitchen. I think the hardest part was getting the batter really, really smooth, but it was worth the extra time and effort. I also whipped the heck out of the eggs, so I had extra batter and was able to make TWO cheesecakes! The second one I didn't do the Snickers crust, but added lemon extract to the batter for a twist. The thing about this recipe is it's really versatile and you could do anything with it. So, as you can see from the photos, the cheesecake was loved by all, especially one sweetheart of a boy. When I was serving the others and he started signing "more", I couldn't resist and gave him some. I guess he has he's mama's sweet tooth too! You should try it...it's so good! The recipe says it's best after three days and I would have to agree, but it was still good the first day. I left it in the fridge overnight after I baked it and we had it the next evening. I just drizzled hot fudge sauce over each slice rather than put chocolate and caramel sauce over the entire thing.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Local Linky Love ~ Idaho Children's Photographer

Just wanted to share a little local linky love with all of you.

Happy Heart Musikgarten is starting up the fall semester and Miss Robin is offering a free baby class! The girls and I were enrolled in several classes the last few years, and it was such a great experience. They both loved the singing and dancing, and I love that this particular music education program starts at birth. Our Little E had a slight delay in speech, and these classes really helped her progress in her therapy as well. Our oldest daughter is also getting ready to start piano lessons with Miss Robin.
Free baby music classes will begin Sept. 15, in Ontario, at 10:45am. Babies may attend class FREE until they are 18 months old. Free childcare is provided for older siblings while moms/babies are in class. What a deal!! Classes are one half-hour of musical play: bouncing, rocking, dancing, peek-a-boo, and finger play, etc., that nurture bonding and brain stimulation. These classes are sweet fun for mom and baby! Don't know what to sing to your baby? This class will give you plenty of repertoire! There is also an alternate evening time on Mondays at 7:30 p.m. that does not include childcare. Please email Robin at: robin@hhmusikgarten.com to let her know you'll be coming; she will provide you with directions to the location.

Check out this cool new magazine about the western Treasure Valley, Urban Liaison. A new copy is coming out very soon!

And if you're looking for some new home decor' don't forget to check out The Bees Box in Payette. I just might have to take a trip up there this weekend. They are open 10-6 on Thursdays and 10-5 on Saturdays.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Tips for Parents for Portrait Sessions ~ Idaho Children/Family Photographer

I found this really great article, and it's a definite must-read for parents. These are some of the very same thoughts I have after working with my own clients. These are just some helpful hints to keep in mind for your next portrait session. As a custom lifestyle photographer, I want to do everything I can to capture your children or family as you are, and to create beautiful, timeless portraits for you. These hints will help you be well prepared for your session. This article was written by Amanda McGhee of Kimberlin Gray Photography. You can find the original blog post here.

“The Rules for Parents”
1. Come to the session with well-rested, well-fed children. Nap times might need to be adjusted on the day of our session for the littlest, or dinner time might have to be a couple hours early. It truly makes a WORLD of difference if you plan your day around our session – even if it means a schedule that is non-typical for your family. A good photographer will interact with your child, play games, chat with them and make them feel comfortable. But we cannot take a tired, hungry, writhing ball of meltdown (can you tell I HAVE toddlers?! ) and create a beautiful portrait!!

2. Don’t prep your child too much for a photo session. Talking about it for days on end (or even all day on the day of the session) only raises the stress level for your child and creates an atmosphere of “you’d better…or else!”. It’s better to let your child become comfortable at the session and have their personality shine through. That said, bring a “backup plan”. If you have wee little ones, bringing a non-messy snack (for babies: puffs, small cookies, etc.) and a drink is essential! For older toddlers, a special snack (something a bit exciting even!) might be just the thing to get that big smile! If your child has a lovey or special friend that you don’t mind being in some photos, it can be a great comfort item. I am not above bribery, but be sure to keep it positive and specific. “Give two beautiful smiles and you get a special treat!” is great.

3. Allow your photographer to interact with your child. Don’t answer for them – or chime in with your own thoughts. The photographer needs to spend a few moments getting comfortable with your child and allowing your child to get comfortable with her. Many times I will ask children questions about what things they like, about their teacher or friends, or find something in common to chat about. It helps to break the ice and allows the photographer to get a sense of your child’s personality.

4. If you have a baby, allow the photographer to interact with her and try to get her to look at the camera and smile. This is a hard one for parents. If there’s a particular thing that “works” – a game, a sound, a word, a song – tell the photographer at the beginning of your session together and allow her to try it with your baby. The goal of the photographer is to get your baby to look directly into the camera. If you are standing to the photographer’s left or right, even slightly, and shouting your baby’s name to get her to look up, she is going to look AT YOU! Why is that a bad thing? Because even though she could be giving the best, most beautiful and perfect smile to you…when you see the photo, it looks like she’s smiling at someone outside the frame. I never really understood this until I started photographing children professionally, but now I notice it all the time. In most studio photos, the children are almost always looking at someone above the camera’s level. My goal as a custom photographer is to capture your child(ren) looking right at me – so that when you see that photo, it looks like they are smiling directly at you every time you look at the picture. You will see the twinkle in their eye, you will see the mischievous grin, you will feel the connection! It is hard to step back and not interact with your own baby – but let the photographer try first. She’ll let you know if she needs help!

5. If your child is between 12 months and 2 1/2 years old, expect your session to be a lot of “follow the baby around”! This age is the most unpredictable. Since bribing, cajoling, and joking doesn’t work yet, we are forced to go with the flow! The best thing to do is to see where he wants to play, sit, stand and then position yourselves around him for a group shot. When he moves, you move! Again, interact like you normally do – if that’s playing peek-a-boo or clapping, we’ll capture it, and maybe a few smiles in the process!

6. If you have older toddlers or elementary school children, allow the photographer some space to work with them. If you “disappear” or hang back a bit, photographers can often work more easily with your child – especially siblings! Trust us, we have interacted with many children and have a few tricks up our sleeves! Oftentimes, children will act up when their parents are around and watching just to get their attention – but they wouldn’t dare misbehave with a stranger! (Just ask their teachers – they are angels at school, right?!) I sometimes take a child by the hand and we take a walk to a new location so that we can start fresh and not have mom and dad watching our every move. Most of the time, I capture the truest smiles that way!

7. Try not to threaten your child or coerce them into smiling. You are most likely not going to get a genuine smile if you’ve just told them that they must smile or you will beat them within an inch of their lives not take them for ice cream. Please, whatever you do, don’t tell your child to SAY CHEESE! It does not capture their true smile and we’re probably only going to get that smile the rest of the session. (That’s why they call it a cheezy smile!) Your photographer will help with fun things to make your child smile – or you could always just start a tickle fight or say something really silly that makes everyone laugh!

8. Get close. When you stand next to each other, you should always be touching! Wrap your arms around each other or hold hands. Even a few inches of space looks like a wide gap in a picture! I often tell people to, “act like you like each other!” (which always gets people to smile, by the way!) because I want them to be close. Kids sitting on laps, or standing with their arms around their parents legs or shoulders are natural “poses”. Your closeness and love for each other will shine through if you are close to each other when standing or sitting for a photograph.

9. Your job, as parents is to look at the camera and smile when we attempt the big group shot. When your photographer poses you and is doing her best to get the childrens’ attention, don’t look down at the kids!!! My job is to get the baby to smile. My job is to keep the kids looking at me. My job is to see whose head is turned or fingers are in their mouth. Your job is to plaster that (natural!) smile on your face and look at my camera! There have been too many times when I’ve gotten home, downloaded a family session, and found that by the time I got all three or four kids looking at the camera and smiling, the mom and dad had dropped their smiles or were “just checking” to see if the kids were smiling. So, I either have a great shot of mom and dad with wild monkeys or beautiful children with parents who look completely over it! Remember to just look at the camera and smile – your photographer will do the rest!!

10. Be yourselves and try to have fun! The absolute best family photographs are those where the family looks comfortable and connected. If you are silly, be silly during your session. If dad is the comedian, by all means, bring on the jokes! If your kids like to play Ring around the Rosy (or Superheroes!), let’s get to it early on in the session so that we can capture your family being you. After all, that’s what you want to remember in ten or twenty years, right?

Remember these tips the next time you have your portrait session, and we will all have a fun and relaxed time capturing your family memories!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Three Little Angels ~ Southwest Idaho Children's Photographer

Friends of ours recently welcomed home their third little angel, and she is quite the miracle baby arriving 6 weeks early and spending time in the NICU. Thankfully, she is doing wonderfully. After getting home and a little settled, Mom called me to capture some beautiful newborn and sister images. Baby G was soooo tiny. It is simply amazing these little wonders God gives us! Big Sister A just turned two, so we had to capture some fun toddler moments of her too! She is a little busy bee, but I had a ton of fun spending the afternoon with her and her babies. Thanks S family! You have three beautiful little girls to love and cherish. If this post receives 10 or more comments, I will gift a 5X7 of one image to them.

I just love this one that I captured at the very end-a sleepy little yawn!

Biggest Sister L was my little helper for the day and I had to sneak a few images of her too!

Aspiring or Pro Photographers

I just wanted to let any of you who love photography and have wondering about how to improve your photography skills about this special offer from Photovision. I've been receiving the DVDs from Photovision and they have SO much information in them!! You will see photographers on actual shoots, lighting techniques, great composition ideas, and much more!! Sign up today and receive a full year for only $39.00, (regularly $149.00) click on this link http://fansof.photovisionvideo.com/Maggie/046348 and use the code PVFAN. You will not regret this purchase!!! I have learned a lot from them.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Summer/Fall Scheduling & Pricing ~ Idaho Children's Photographer

Just wanted to update everyone on pricing and scheduling for the next few months of 2010. Can you believe it's past the middle of the year already, and school will be starting again soon!! Wow-time flies when you're having fun!

Children/Family sessions begin at $150. This includes a pre-session styling consult, a personal, professional custom portrait session, full editing and retouching of the best images and an online gallery to share with family and friends. I will also be offering in-person proofing and ordering as well. This gives you an opportunity to see how your images will be cropped for different sizes, how they look in custom-designed albums, and also as beautiful timeless wall art. For an additional $200, you may also receive all printed 4X6 or 5X7 proofs in a custom-designed image box. These can be displayed in the box, given to friends and family or used how you wish. These sessions include immediate family up to 8 people. Each additional person $15.

Newborn (under two weeks old) session-includes parents and/or siblings (call for details about "Your Baby Story" Plan)-$200

New print pricing is now in effect. If you're looking for a custom portrait photographer, I promise to provide a fun experience for you and your family. Whether you are celebrating a child's milestone or wanting to capture your family's lifestyle with custom portraits, we can create beautiful images from your life.

Scheduling: August is full and only four dates remain in September. It's also time to think about about Christmas and Holiday cards so schedule your session today.

And because a post just isn't that fun without a photo, here are a few more of my sweet little niece. More sneak peeks to come from my recent sessions! Also, stay tuned for a couple other announcements!

Monday, August 9, 2010

The New/Old Chair and Miss M ~ Fruitland Children's Photographer

If you follow me on Facebook (which if you don't, you should, wink, wink), you might have read I was bringing back some fun new props from our vacation in Kansas, and I was so excited to use them in some upcoming sessions. I finally got to use one of them-the old, but new to me, awesome black vintage chair that was my great grandmothers. My sister has a matching one. I have always drooled over it when I visit her house, and she was even going to give hers to me, however, my mom knew there was another one still in the basement of my grandma's house. I love having items that were passed down from other generations. There is always a history to them. After a good clean-up, the chair looks brand new, and I love it!! One of my recent sessions of the just-turned-seven, Miss M, was the perfect one for it to make its debut. I love, love, love the images from my evening with her. I have had the hardest time editing them down because M was the perfect model and didn't really take a bad shot. We had fun stomping out in the big field, and also with some of her furry friends. It was fun to have a little one-on-one time with her and see her little personality shine. She is a real sweetheart. Thanks M and mom, Lisa, for a fun evening. Hope you enjoy your sneak peek.

I did some of them in my traditional style of editing, but I also knew I wanted to add a vintage feel to others. This session was perfect for that. I even tried a little texture on the last one. Which do you like best? If this post receives 10 or more comments, I will gift a 5x7 print to the family.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sisters Make the Best of Friends ~ Custom Portrait Photography

I photographed these beautiful sisters while we were in Kansas visiting my hometown. I remember when each of them was born and my family watched them grow up. Now they are old enough to be babysitting my kids! Their mom is a dear friend and was a mentor to me in 4-H and while I was growing up. I was so excited she asked me photograph the girls together. Miss K will be a senior this year, so it was important for us to capture them together before life gets even busier! I am also excited to get to design their images into a keepsake album for them. It's a wonderful way to preserve all the images from a session.

The girls were truly delightful and up for anything. We had fun running around town, photographing them at the county museum, the local playground (where we all attended grade school), the restored soda fountain/old drug store and their beautiful backyard. K also worked at "The Old Store" so it holds some fond memories for her from the last five years. That's what I love about being an on-location photographer. I can come to my clients, wherever is the most special to them. I hope you girls have a great year and enjoy your sneak peeks! And if this post receives 10 or more comments, they will receive a 5X7 print as a gift from me! I'm having a hard time deciding which one is my favorite. Lots of memories made that day!!



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