family photography

Mary Dougherty

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ABOUT mary

I'm a fine art film photographer living in the mountains and traveling to tell beautiful stories





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With a wedding, you know pictures are going to be taken. You plan for it. The rest of your life? That’s a bit more unpredictable. You want to have pictures to look back on; to fill a gorgeous arrangement of frames on your wall and to delight you when you open an album. However, I totally understand (especially now that I have kids) that for many of us, it is not that easy to make pictures happen. What holds us back the most is that:

  • it takes a lot of effort to get ready for them
  • it’s not always clear what time is a good time
  • we don’t plan financially for them

When your daily life involves changing clothes 5x because of spit up or trying to keep a toddler from smearing jelly in her hair it gets harder to imagine everyone in the same room, happy and clean. I didn’t say sitting still because I think wiggles are inevitable and it’s honestly more fun when there is interaction and play. It really takes finding someone you trust and whose style you love to even consider investing the effort into getting ready.

Once you find a photographer you do love, it’s time to decide when to be photographed. Any time is better than no time, but if you could choose it can either be overwhelming to think about the milestones you want to capture (there’s too many, I love them all!) or you can go back to the problem of choosing just one (newborn session) and never thinking about being photographed again. I recommend taking pictures at least two times in the first two years of your child’s life. If you think about the changes from birth to two years it’s an amazing amount. Ideally I would photograph a child 3-4 times in those first two years to really capture each stage well (newborn, 6 months (sitting up / crawling), 1 year (walking), two years).

When you don’t plan ahead for photography you are less likely to invest in it. It feels like a splurge because at this point it is one! You don’t think about the fact that the photos will at some point become invaluable to you… you think about the differences in dollars. If you know you want to photograph your family every two years it’s easy to plan for the session. Also, when you think about the number of times you will decorate your house with art or photographs investing in what you put on those walls starts to make sense.

So my advice to you :

  • Find a photographer who helps you get ready for your session, and who you trust enough to know your effort will be worth it.
  • Sit down and think about the times you want to be photographed depending on how your family grows. So many changes happen in the first two years you could easily plan several sessions during that time.
  • Decide how you want to spend on photography. Maybe it’s something you add to your budget or maybe it’s something you save for. If it’s something that is valuable to you find a way to make it happen.

As a photographer I like to use natural light, capture interaction and tell the story of the relationships and people in your family. I focus my family session on documenting the early years – newborns and small children – and am transitioning to shooting primarily film for family sessions. I may not be the right photographer for you, and that’s okay! I still think your life should be documented, celebrated and shared and I think it’s worth taking the time to think about – and maybe even plan for!

Since I am still getting comfortable with shooting on film I’m offering family sessions at a lower rate when booked this month only. Sign up to get more information + follow me on instagram to see more from my everyday.

come back to see more of the knight family later this week!

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