Maegan Dougherty Photography – Northern NJ Photographer » Northern NJ Birth and Family Photographer

“We currently live in a temporary, slightly crowded townhome. I am of course open to having photos there because it is where we live and where we do our every day activities. Most important to me is that I have the ability to capture some precious memories of me and my babies before they get bigger and less innocent 🙂 I have moments in my day where I wish someone was there with a camera to capture special moments that I have with my kids. It is my own photographer’s mind thinking “gosh, I wish someone could snap a picture of this moment.” I have even asked my husband to capture a moment but he just doesn’t have a clue. Ever since I saw your page for the first time, I have always wanted you to photograph my family. It is taking a lot for me to even put in for your pay what you can because I personally don’t feel like I could put a price on your photography. Almost every photo you have taken is priceless to me and it isn’t even my family SO, I am hopeful that we will be chosen as a family that you photograph this month. It would really mean so much to me.”

Obviously, I cried when I read these words on a Pay What You Can submission last year. Devon is a mom, a paramedic, and (I dont know how she does all this) the owner of Belly Bean Photography in Central New Jersey. Devon told me she already has a family photographer whom she adores and will continue to use for studio photography. But our styles are totally different, and she wanted to see her family through my eyes.

We scheduled her family photo session for her Birthday! What a cool way to celebrate. This is Devon’s family. They have since moved, and I’m so glad they can look back at the details of what their life was life then!
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Interested in a Pay What You Can family photo session during the month of Aril 2018?

Click here to read all about it!

Remember last April when I did that Pay What You Can experiment??? Well, it was really special!!! And I’m doin’ it again this year!!!

The Process

1. Read this page to learn what it’s like to have a family documentary photo session with Maegan Dougherty Photography. If you want to document your real life in an authentic and natural way, and you value experience and art, I hope you’ll apply! If my style isn’t exactly what you’re looking for, this is still a great month to have your family photographed, with many local photographers offering mini sessions and full sessions with a range of pricing. If you’d like me to photograph your family, because you feel a connection with me or to my work, I’d love to capture this crazy, beautiful, hard, messy, fun, full of love time in your life! 

2. Think about your financial situation, and what is a comfortable amount for you to pay for family photography at this time. My standard pricing is included on the page in step 1. For the month of April, if we’re meant to work together, we’re not going to let money get in the way. You let me know what you are able to pay. It might be that you find great value in photography, but don’t have room in your budget this year. Maybe you can offer a product or a service to barter, or you have gift cards you’re not using. (I LOVE barters!) Maybe you can even do more, to help cover other families who aren’t able to offer much. Let me know your number. Yes, this might feel awkward to you. Please know that I wouldn’t be doing this if I weren’t confident about my own value. Your number won’t insult me if it’s below my standard pricing. I trust that you are being honest and generous, and I am grateful for the opportunity to work together. I know that abundance comes many forms.

3. Complete this questionnaire  to share with me a little about your family, your story, your experience with family photos, and what draws you to my work. You will also put here the amount you are able to pay.

4. I will respond and let you know what I can offer you. I may be able to travel to your home on the weekend for a 2-3 hour family documentary photo shoot with 50 pictures. Or I might offer a shorter timeslot with fewer photos on a weekday morning near my home. Or something in between. Either way, the experience will be unique to your family, and the pictures will show your life and love.

5. If you are happy with the proposal, we arrange payment, and schedule your family photo session for a day in April! All Pay What You Can sessions must be completed in April. Since time is limited, I highly recommend submitting the questionnaire as early as possible.

Of course, you are still welcome to book a session at the standard rate for April or beyond!

The Questionnaire

If you are interesting in being a part of this project, click here for the questionnaire!

Otherwise, feel free to keep reading if you’re curious and want to know more.

Last Year

Last year I wrote, “I think about this all the time. This idea of paying what you can, for something you want. Until the other day when I spontaneously posted about my experiment on Facebook, I have always talked myself out of it. I love the idea of photographing families at whatever price they are able to pay, in a way that allows me to earn the income I need, to feel valued, and be sufficiently paid for my time and my art. But won’t that feel awkward for people? Wouldn’t it be unfair to my full price paying clients or to my local photographer friends? Doesn’t that lead clients to choose me only based on price?

I don’t know if it’s possible to make this work in a way that feels good. But I’m going to give it a shot for a month, and see what happens! My hopes are that I will have a good time, photograph really awesome families who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford my prices, pay my mortgage, and I don’t know…maybe some other amazing results that I haven’t even considered.”

So I went for it, knowing it was a risk, and excited about the potential. I considered it a social experiment.

I intentionally limited the reach of my announcement. I posted on Facebook and shared with only a few other people I wanted to photograph and thought might be interested. I wanted it to to be seen by people who were already following me, and felt a connection. Interestingly, and not surprisingly, the submissions that didn’t work out were from people who had seen my announcement in a Facebook group someone had shared in. We had some back and forth, but ended up not scheduling. Overall, I had 22 submissions, and most of them led to a family photo session. The ones that were meant to be fell easily in to place. They were awesome! Families were so grateful. Some had uncomfortable feelings because they weren’t able to pay me full price. I reassured them that it was okay, that what they had to offer was valuable to me. It was wonderful to photograph families who had followed my work for years, but money was tight, or had worked with me previously, but had a change in financial situation. It was a month of saying yes. Of not letting money stop me from working with people who were otherwise an amazing match for me. It was a month of abundance in all kinds of ways.

You can read some beautiful words from last year’s submissions here.

Notes for Photographers

Over the year, I have received several messages from photographers interested in doing something like this. Here are some notes:

Do this only if you feel good about your current pricing, know your worth, and feel confident about the value of your time, work, and art. It’s easy to start questioning yourself when people are offering to pay much less than your standard rate.

In general, if someone tries to negotiate pricing with me, I will not work with them. It was important to me that I view this not as a negotiation. I offer what feels good to me based on the price they can pay and several other factors, and if that feels good to the client, we do it. There are lessons I needed to learn about as a business owner before I could do this.

Was it sustainable? Not for me, at this time. For the income I received, the number of hours I worked was too high. So this wouldn’t make financial sense for me to do long term. But I’m so glad I did it. When I look back at the photos, and remember the generous offers, the thoughtful gifts, the feelings shared, the kind words, and the memories captured, I feel happy.

Thank you for reading!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This NYC VBAC (vaginal birth after C-Section) took place at Mount Sinai West in Manhattan.

Sometimes two clients are in labor at the same time, so it’s important to make sure that your birth photographer has a back-up photographer. This is the first time I attended a birth as a back-up, and the transition went totally smoothly. I was so happy to be there with this wonderful couple, documenting the birth of their third child.

This was a big baby. Look for the photo with the weight!

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Would you like to see another birth? Click here for a homebirth in Montclair. Interested in a newborn photo session? You can see one here, of a family in Westchester.

Thank you for visiting. Feel free to click around, and please come back soon!

As a NJ birth photographer, I document all kinds of births. Each one is uniquely beautiful and special.

Whether a home or hospital birth, with or without interventions, vaginal or surgical, I want every birthing person and partner to experience these feelings that come to my mind when I see the photos from this birth.

personal
sacred
empowering
intuitive
honored
comfortable
intimate
trusting
safe
loved

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This birthing mother and her family were supported through pregnancy, birth and postpartum by the midwives of Seventh Moon Homebirth. They help facilitate all those good words I wrote above.

Thank you for visiting my website. If you’re new here, I’m a NJ birth photographer and family documentary photographer. I love spending time with families in New Jersey and New York City, capturing both the most ordinary and the most extraordinary of your days!

Are you expecting a baby?

I hope you will look at more of my birth photography blog posts, and visit me on Instagram. If you are planning to book a birth photographer, or if you have any questions about pregnancy, birth, or newborn photography in New Jersey, I would love to help you. Please contact me!

This NJ pregnancy photo session last year was so special. I am excited to share it, along with some news. I’m now offering a one hour family photo shoot! It’s perfect for times when you want a glimpse into the way your family life is right now, but don’t quite need the 2-3 hours of my standard documentary session. Same fun, totally relaxed, real life vibe. Lower price point of $700. “Mini sessions” can sometimes feel rushed. I’ve found that one hour allows time for natural, undirected moments to happen. Also, it’s perfect for a pregnancy/maternity session, in combination with birth and newborn photography. (I still LOVE to be with families for 2-3 hours, so keep booking those, too!!!)

I love that Grandma and Grandpa were visiting here. How sweet is Grandma kissing her little grandson’s leg? And it’s so nice to see these photos today, with the signs of spring starting. My kids and I are thrilled for warmer weather and afternoons at the park.

Think about what your life will be like over the next few months. How will it be different from this time last year? What routines and traditions are you looking forward to doing again? Let’s photograph some of them. I’d love to spend an hour (or more!) with your family.

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Want to see more?

It’s so much fun to look back. Here is the same family at a park about two years earlier!

Would you like to see another NJ pregnancy photo session? Here’s one, with an important message in the text.