Award Winning Asheville, NC based Child & Family Photographer shares Helpful Tips for Parents who are Considering Family Portraits with Children on the Autism Spectrum.
If you’re reading this, you probably already know that 1 in 40 children living in the United States has Autism.
As if parenting wasn’t hard enough (just generally), parenting children with autism has it’s own unique set of challenges.
A small one of those challenges being: Family Portraits.
Families who have children with Autism are just like any other family. They want Family Portraits, they want beautiful photo memories of their children, to preserve them as they are, in this sweet, fleeting moment in their lives.
When you’re scheduling a Family Portrait Session and you have small children, it’s hard for (any) parent to know when their children might be most receptive to a stranger with a big camera coming into their safe, protective, family bubble to capture a moment in their lives…
The softest, most flattering light of the day happens 90 minutes after sunrise or 90 minutes before sunset and when you have very small children, depending on their sleep habits, it could be a real gamble to schedule a late afternoon portrait session… which is why I often encourage parents with small children to shoot morning sessions because generally, little ones are pretty happy in the mornings!
But, scheduling a morning portrait session comes with it’s own set of challenges including: getting up sooo early, getting everyone fed and ready, getting everyone out the door and loaded up and getting to the location by like 8-9am. Thats a tall order!
This sweet family traveled from Florida for their Fall Family Vacation in the Mountains of Western North Carolina. They really wanted to capture the beauty of those vibrant Blue Ridge Mountains in the Fall but as the session date drew closer, they wavered a little and thought it might be best to just play it safe and shoot the portrait session at their rental cabin!
The night before the session, mom and dad found the courage to just go for it! They wanted to shoot on the Blue Ridge Parkway, to capture those BIG Mountain Views that they had come to Asheville to see!
Everything about this session was a gamble.
Because of the age of their children, the super early call time, the location we were shooting in being a 45+ minute drive from their rental… This all could have went south SO easily. And it wasn’t easy. But we did it and the results are just — so sweet.
I imagine that when you’re parenting a child with autism, scheduling those yearly family portraits can seem daunting, overwhelming and anxiety provoking and maybe you just don’t do it at all because it all just feels like too much…
The things that I try to remind all parents with small children, in order to manage their expectations ahead of their portrait session are:
This isn’t your last portrait session ever.
You’ll have their entire lives for perfect poses & perfect smiles.
The goal of this portrait session is to capture your children and your family as you are, in this sweet, fleeting moment in your lives in a really loving, beautiful way.
Most likely, it’s not going to be easy or perfect but it is going to be authentic and the results will be precious to you.
I was SO impressed with these sweet parents throughout their session. They were so kind and nurturing and incredibly patient with their daughter throughout the session. This session wasn’t easy and it wasn’t perfect. But, what we got was real, it was honest and it was a beautiful reflection of their precious family in this moment in their lives. The impression I got from them stuck with me and months later, I wrote this blog post so that we could potentially help other parents with children on the spectrum, who are considering scheduling family portraits….
I’ve asked Felicia to ‘Guest Blog’ about her experience and any tips that she may have for other parents who are considering professional family portraits with children on the spectrum — to offer some loving support, to give you the courage to just go for it! 🙂 Here’s what she had to say: