Article excerpt from Indy’s Child
Jamie Scott clearly remembers one of the first times she considered that her daughter, Harper, might be on the autism spectrum. It was in the middle of a family photo shoot, and the then-2-year-old just shut down. “It was loud, and the lights were too bright. She was what I now know to be overstimulated, and we had to leave,” Scott recalls. “I felt judged and disappointed in how it all played out, and the photographers weren’t even slightly concerned. Those images are still hard to look at.”
Four years later, Scott now runs her own professional photography business, Jamie Nicole Scott, and is among a growing number of local photographers who hope to give families of children with autism or other special needs a positive photo shoot experience.
Unlike a traditional portrait setting that requires children to be still and smile for the camera, photographers with experience photographing kids with Autism often opt to capture candid moments, encouraging play while respecting sensory sensitivities.
“I’ve had a lot of parents of kids with special needs who will say, ‘My kid won’t look at you and smile.’ And I tell them, ‘That’s okay,’” says Brittney Paterson, photographer, and owner of Silver Pennies Photography, who also has clients with children on the spectrum. “Later in life, you’re going to cherish the pictures that capture the genuine spirit of your child.”
Of course, it’s not every day that you have a professional photographer to snap pictures of your children, but you can use some of their go-to techniques to capture the best memories of your day-to-day life.