Photography is about a lot of things, but mostly it’s about capturing the magic of special moments in time on film. These captured moments can be powerful visual aids to help us recall our fondest memories in vivid detail. All that said, it’s understandable that photographs can be an important part of making memories with children.
As I touched on in my last post, working with special needs children presents its own set of unique challenges for a professional photographer. There’s certainly an art to capturing a child on film as it is. Special needs children are similar, but with more quirks that sometimes call for extra resourcefulness.
The trick to getting those special moments you’re looking for down on film are all about connecting on a personal level with the child by being friendly, approachable, and creative. The personality and natural joy inside the child simply takes over from there. At that point, all that’s left is for the photographer to use skill and timing to capture it perfectly.
Working around Unique Limitations
Although each condition is going to come along with some challenges a photographer can predict, it’s important to realize that no two special needs children are going to be alike. Some limitations are emotional or mental as we discussed previously, but others really are physical in nature, calling for practical workarounds to get the shots you want.
For instance, I worked with a lovely young lady once who had cerebral palsy. Her condition required her to spend her days in a wheelchair, so helping her become comfortable in front of the camera by having her run around and play was out of the question. I tackled the issue by finding a gorgeous location full of fig trees. One was over three hundred years old and had roots that almost took the shape of a cradle.
Her dad picked her up and placed her in this tree while her brothers and sisters gathered around and began to play. The young lady with cerebral palsy was just so happy to be there in that tree surrounded by her loved ones and it showed on her face and in her demeanor. A beautiful moment was created and some gorgeous portraits came out of that for certain.
The Importance of Patience
As many photographers can tell you, sometimes it really takes a bit of patience and staying power to get exactly the right shot you’re looking for. This is even more the case when working with special needs children, especially if you’re looking to get fabulous group shots that also feature their siblings, parents, pets, and so forth.
I find that when I’m relaxed, open, and having a good time that the children I work with naturally seem to tune in on that and relax themselves. That’s when the magic happens. Sometimes this takes a little time and might call for the taking of more pictures than you expected, especially when it comes to getting the right looks on everyone faces, the right group demeanor, and so forth. The key is to simply go with the flow, enjoy yourself, and enjoy the company of the portrait subjects. It’s an exciting process, really… and a rewarding one, too.
Feel free to get in touch and I can walk you through it with more detail.
Talk soon, Margherita :)
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