One of my favorite people, my godson, was born with translocation Down Syndrome. Every moment I'm able to spend with him is pure joy to me. He is the most joyful, loving, and fun young man, and even though he is nonverbal, our bond was natural from the day he was born.
I find that parents with special needs children, my godson's parents included, however joyful their children are, experience some trepidation when the topic of photography comes up. Will they stay still? Will they pose? Will the photographer just not want to deal with it? Can I deal with the stress of trying to get them to cooperate on something they may not understand? Will we even get any real images out of the experience?
My godson is graduating high school this year, and I've had extensive experience working with him and other special needs children in my photography. Here's what you need to know.
1. Your child doesn't have to do anything they don't want to do. We can stop, change what we're doing, or take a break at any time.
2. I like to meet the family before the shoot. I don't want to be a stranger! I like to set up a quick meeting with the family beforehand, so your child is comfortable with my presence in their world. I also want to hear about any special considerations, concerns, or questions that you or your child may have.
3. Your child doesn't have to stay still or pose. The best photography often comes when we're just enjoying each other! I recommend bringing a toy or activity your child enjoys. It both makes them more comfortable and gives the family something to interact with during the shoot.
4. There's no rush. I'm not going to run out on you right when we get your child comfortable! I have all the time in the world to do my job, and that's providing you with beautiful, heirloom-quality, archival photographs! Don't worry about your time slot- I'll make it work.
5. You can bring your child's favorite treat. We often get extra smiles that way! Snacking is encouraged!
6. Don't worry. Getting our pictures taken is supposed to be a carefree, fun activity!
I want to capture your child as he or she is. I want to capture your memories and family love. Come to the shoot and know that there's no pressure; I will capture your family moments in a beautiful location, no posing (or even sitting still!) required!