Maegan Dougherty Photography » NJ Birth and Family Photographer

Documentary Family Photography

Your life is crazy and messy and sweet and fun. Your life is uniquely beautiful! You’ve made an awesome choice to have it documented with a family photo session. Your family will love seeing your real life in pictures, and will treasure these memories for years to come. It will also be a special and meaningful experience. 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.  

This page will let you know what to expect. And of course, I’m always available to answer any questions or talk about feelings!


Before your photo session:

  • 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.
  • We schedule a timeslot that works best with your family, and you pay a deposit. I can come to you any day of the week. Keep in mind that weekends do fill quickly, especially in the fall.
  • You don’t need to do much to prepare for when I come. House isn’t perfect? Nobody’s is. If it bothers you, 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 pick their favorite things to wear. Don’t feel rushed. You don’t need to be “ready” when I arrive. Be you, now. If you feel like you’re not looking your best lately, think about the way your kids look at you. I find that many parents who say they don’t usually like the way they look in pictures are able to move past being critical, and to see themselves the way their children do. And if we have a morning shoot, consider being in pajamas when I arrive!
  • The most important thing is that you feel like you’re in a good place to enjoy some time 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 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 doing what you do. Please feel free to totally be yourselves. Know that I am not judging you in any way. 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 as you go about your day. We spend time in your home, and we can go out for a walk, to a park, somewhere you go regularly. Sometimes we talk and sometimes I’m quiet. I may give a tiny bit of direction if I feel that it will be helpful, but mostly we let the kids lead.
  • 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.


After your session:

  • A day or two later I may share a couple images on social media (if that’s okay with you). 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 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 session takes place with your immediate family in your home and/or at another special location, and will approximately two hours. Sometimes 90 minutes feels right, and sometimes it’s closer to three hours. You receive 50 or more pictures to share, print, and treasure forever. The price is $985, with $300 due at the time of booking and the remainder upon receipt of your slideshow. A travel fee is added for more than 30 minutes away from Paramus, NJ, and to NYC locations.

If you feel my work and personality are the right match for you family, but your budget doesn’t allow for full session pricing, I hope you’ll still stay in touch. I occasionally offer mini sessions, and every year I have one month during which I offer Pay What You Can sessions.

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

I look forward to photographing your family!