Thursday, October 23, 2014

Why I Chose Special Needs Photography.

We are going a little different on the blog today.  We are talking about special needs photography, why I did it and what that means for you.  Plus I am sharing a sneak peek of my latest shoot with my buddy Josh.  He is a big part of the reason special needs photography is so important to me so his awesomeness fit perfectly here!  He has changed so much in the last year, and all for the better.  Watching his leaps and bounds progress at his shoot brought me to tears!

He ran off to play on his own, something he has never done on one of our shoots!

As you all know, Stolen Moments Studios has an added special focus on special needs photography.  I wish I had some cute name for this special section of the studio, but I've yet to hit on something I love.  Feel free to throw out your ideas :)

I decided to do this for a number of reasons, but the biggest was really the kids I already worked with.  Their parents kept telling me they had never had appointments go that smoothly with their kids, photography or otherwise.  And when they saw the pictures many of them cried, because they never had pictures of their kids looking so much like themselves.  To be honest I didn't think I was doing anything out of the ordinary, but the parents and their friends and families kept telling me horror stories of previous shoots and how much their kids loved "playing with Miss Corrie".  They were adamant that what I was doing was special.

We asked if he thought he could get over the bar, he sure tried!

In speaking with my clients, friends, and family I saw that a successful photography experience was rare in the best of situations.  Throw in any sort of disability or special need and it was like finding a unicorn!  After some self-reflection I realized this was something I was meant to be doing.  In April 2012 I announced the addition of special needs photography as a major part of Stolen Moments Studios.  Every family deserves a successful shoot with wonderful pictures, whether you have a child with autism, a parent with a disability, a family member with cancer or just a preschooler full of attitude and "I don't want to".   No one should have to miss having great pictures of their family because it is more of a challenge to get them!

The number of times he smiled while I was with him made me so happy!  So did my hug!

What does being a special needs friendly studio mean for you and your session?

There is more flexibility.  I book extra time for those session to allow us to move slower, take a break or even take a few minutes ahead of time to talk about what we are doing and make sure everyone is ready and comfortable with the shoot.  That extra time also covers those situations that can come up as you are getting ready to leave.  Some days are harder than others getting a kid with sensory issues to put on their shoes and I understand that.  I never book another session directly behind a special needs shoot to allow us to have all the time we need!

His independence this shoot was astounding to me!  He is so much more confident and outgoing!

Special needs shoots also have an extra reschedule option.  Instead of the usual two, they have three.  It gives all of us more freedom to accommodate a rough morning or a bad week and makes sure getting pictures taken isn't a high stress experience for anyone!

Pre-session consults for my special needs clients may be multiple parts to allow everyone to get to know me and for me to learn what works best for your family and how to approach your shoot.  Many children with special needs have a hard time in new situations and especially with new people.  By meeting once or twice before your shoot date, having some play time and talking about what we are going to do we can make the shoot a more relaxed and fun experience for them.

He was across the playground and heard us laugh.  His disgust at us being amused by things that aren't him just made us laugh harder!

One last thing, I will never post a session as a "special needs session" without specifically asking permission to do so, as I prefer to not differentiate between my sessions.  Some of my families are happy to share their sessions for posts like this, awareness months or just to share all that their child has overcome but that is not something I would do without permission.  I want people to look through an album full of kids and not be able to find the child with autism, or have a wheelchair be more than something in a great picture of a smiling happy child!  I make sure the people are the focus of all my pictures.

Just a quiet moment when he didn't think we were watching.

If you have any questions or just want to know more about special needs sessions don't hesitate to ask!

The next post here will be more about being a special needs studio and why it is important for my family! It is so much more to this than the kids I work with, there is a huge personal aspect as well!  Until then don't forget about the package deal for October and November.  Shoot, cards and prints all for $200!

No comments:

Post a Comment