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

Documentary Family Photography

It’s so great that you’re considering a documentary family photo shoot! It will be a special and meaningful experience. You and your kids will love seeing your real life in pictures, and will treasure these memories for years to come. For some parents, photographs are a reminder to look past the daily challenges of parenting and to be present with the pure joy and true beauty we experience every day.  


Before your photo shoot:

  • We schedule a two-hour timeslot that works best with your family, taking into account things like naps and soccer practice. Most shoots are on Saturdays and Sundays, and I have weekday availability as well.
  • We chat via e-mail or phone about your family, and what a typical day is like for you. What places are special to you? What do you enjoy doing together? Playing at the park? Snuggling in bed? Baking cookies? Is there a certain time of the day that feels extra special? This will help us plan our time, and keep it laidback, fun and comfortable for your family. While it’s nice to have a few ideas of things we want to capture, it’s also important to be flexible. The goal, after all, is to capture real life.
  • You don’t need to do much to prepare for when I come. House isn’t perfect? Nobody’s is. Take some time to clear clutter from a few areas where you spend the most time. Please don’t shop for new clothes, unless it really feels necessary. Wear something you have that you feel comfortable and cute in, and choose outfits you love for the kids, or let them choose on their own. Be you. Let your personality and style (or lack of style, as I would consider in my case!) shine.
  • The most important thing is that you feel like you’re in a good place to enjoy a day with your family. Try to get plenty of rest before I come (I know this is easier said than done), and schedule your session for a time when you won’t feel crazy busy and stressed, and when you generally feel your best. I think paying attention to cycles (day, moon, menstrual, seasons) is valuable, and something to consider.
  • And if any of this feels difficult to you, please share your feelings with me. I am happy to listen and to provide some guidance.


While I’m there:

  • You and your family spend time together being yourselves and doing what you do. Please feel free to be yourselves and know that I am not judging you in anyway. We capture the beauty of your real life with your family in your own space, with lots of snuggles and fun. There are challenging times, too, because that’s life as a parent and a human, and that’s okay. We get through them with patience and presence.
  • I follow you around, and we talk and I usually play with the kids some. I give a tiny bit of direction, but mostly let the kids lead. And while capturing the moments and emotions are my priority, I do also watch for flattering lighting, angles and positioning. I do also find that many parents who say they don’t like the way they look in pictures are able to move past being critical, and to see themselves the way their children do.
  • We take our time, and happiness is the priority. Don’t hesitate to nurse or change your baby or give the kids a snack. Do your real life. Follow your intuition about what the kids need, and about what you need. Many kids are excited to have me there, but don’t worry if your kids take a while to warm up or if they run around and jump off the couch. All normal. I find that when parents stay calm and go with the flow, kids do too. And if you feel uncomfortable or awkward, you can tell me. I may sense it anyway, and sometimes it feels better just to speak your feelings and have them heard and validated.  I’m there for you. Be present and trust that however the shoot is going is the way it’s meant to be.



  • A day or two later I may share a couple images on Facebook and/or Instagram (if that’s okay with you), so you have a little preview. Feel free to tag yourself and share.
  • Two-four weeks after your shoot, you will receive a link to a slideshow, with your pictures set to music. Watch this together. Don’t hold back your emotions.
  • It’s important to me that you receive all of your pictures as a group because together they tell such a special story.
  • Upon payment of the balance, you will receive a link to an online gallery, where you can order prints directly to you from my favorite lab. They are professional quality, low-priced and I can view your order before it’s printed to ensure everything looks just right. The gallery lives online indefinitely so you, your friends and family can continue to view it and order prints as you wish. From the gallery, you can also download the high resolution files (jpegs) of your pictures. These files are for your archives, creating an album, cards, and ordering prints from the lab of your choice.
  • I hope you will share your feelings with me about your pictures and about the whole experience. And I hope you will remember it fondly.



Our photo shoot takes place with your immediate family in your home and/or at another special location, and will last between an hour and two and a half hours. Most are about 90 minutes. You receive 50 or more pictures to share, print, and treasure forever. The price is $985 (credit card or PayPal) with $300 due at the time of booking and the remainder upon receipt of your slideshow.

***Limited time offer: Your second documentary session within 9 months is half price!***

There is an additional $300 fee for an extended family session, and 75 or more pictures are included.

Travel fee applies for more than 30 minutes away from Paramus, NJ, and to NYC locations.

Custom photography is an investment, and your family memories are so worth capturing and preserving!

Please e-mail me (or click on the contact option above) with any questions and to schedule your family photo shoot. I look forward to photographing your family!