McG & Traditional Portraiture | McGowan Images Blog


McG & Traditional Portraiture

Last week, we shared a few images of one of our brides’ grandparents on Facebook, and got an amazing response… but also a lot of questions about how we approach family portrait sessions. We thought this was as good an excuse as any to post a little explanation!

If you’re a regular blog reader, you’ll know that we don’t approach many portrait sessions in a very traditional way. Even in our family mini session events twice a year, we try to prioritize time to get families laughing, tickling, running & playing together, as opposed to spending the entire appointment having everyone sit still and smile. Our favorite photos of US as a family are those interactions… that’s what makes sense for our small immediate family with two squirrelly children!

That does not mean that we are incapable of, or don’t know the value of, more traditional portraiture. While you won’t find us in a studio knocking out sessions Olan Mills-style, we absolutely know how important it can be to set aside time to capture a classic portrait of an extended family, cleanly lit & composed, that can serve as a family heirloom and a treasured possession both for the generations pictured, and for those who will come later.

Sometimes these extended family portrait sessions happen during our mini-session events, usually with two sessions booked back to back. But a few times a year, we have clients book extended family sessions outside a special event, and whenever we’ve got time, we’re always happy to provide our awesome families with these cherished images.

In this most recent case, 2010 bride Arly called to tell us that her beloved Grandfather had been diagnosed with cancer. She asked if there’s any way we could make time in the next couple of weeks to do an extended family session while he still felt good, and looked like himself. You can bet we sent over a handful of date options IMMEDIATELY. Mack and I both have grandparents in heaven that we’d love to have more photos of, and there’s no way we were going to turn this sweet McG client down if there was any possible way to fit her family into our calendar.

Luckily, the stars aligned, and the whole crew got together at the grandparents’ house in Aledo for about an hour of family portraits. We made sure to grab many different groupings… about 100 final images in all. But the most IMPORTANT part of the day was capturing the legacy that Maw & Paw have created for their children & grandchildren. We are certainly praying there are years of health & happiness left for this couple, but we also know that we’re not always promised as much time with our loved ones as we’d like.

These images are some standouts from that session, and a good example of the way we like to approach these more traditional, extended family sessions. Of course, we try to make sure to include those “in between moments” that we’ve built our business on, so that even the most traditional session feels genuine to the family we’re photographing!


If you are interested in booking a McG Traditional Family session, we’ve got two or three spots left on the calendar that we could get one in before Christmas. Contact us ASAP, and we’ll make it happen for you!

  1. Erica says:

    Thank you for helping us to understand a bit of your process and for being willing to adjust the way you work to help such special clients. You guys have been and will always be such an encouragement and inspiration. Beautiful work!

  2. Arly says:

    Thank you both so much!! These are precious moments that I will now cherish forever. I can’t believe that everyone’s crazy schedule made it even possible to have these.. Some things are just God sent!

  3. Kylie says:

    Oh my, these are absolutely precious. It makes me appreciate my grandmother, and laugh at how my mom and I area always trying to take pictures with her, and just how much she hates it!!

  4. Tarah says:

    Ugh, crying. Love that lasts a lifetime is just so beautiful.

  5. Nicole says:

    These photos are beautiful in so many ways!

  6. Monica says:

    Oh my goodness. I’ve been putting off looking at this post all day because I knew I’d be crying!
    I don’t even know this family, but what wonderful memories you captured for them. Precious memories. I’m 29 years old and don’t have any of my grandparents living anymore. I would give anything to have images like these. What an incredible blessing! I’ll be praying for this family.

  7. James & Tina McClung says:

    These are precious pictures of Murl and Lucian. We are in our 70’s and they are in their 80’s. My husband, James, is a first cousin to Lucian. We appreciate these pictures.
    James & Tina

  8. Mandaroo says:

    Just beautiful! I’ve got tears in my eyes.

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