I thoroughly enjoy photography, but I’ve read enough business and marketing books to know that in order to be successful with a boutique business, I was going to have to find a niche. I love weddings, but my love of unscheduled Saturdays is greater. I love spending a morning photographing a newborn, but babies are a saturated market. I went through each photography genre in my head, and eliminated them all for one reason or another. When I had nothing left, I thought of my godson, and the clouds parted and the angels sang.
I am this handsome boy’s primary (almost exclusive) photographer. He has some pretty signifigant developmental delays which have made it difficult to go to a traditional photography studio. Instead of dealing with the questions from a stranger on a strict time schedule, his mother has been able to communicate his needs with me, in a more comfortable setting. I figured if I could help him, there must be other families who would appreciate a customized photography experience as well. To serve families with special needs would combine my love of working with children as well as my preference for lifestyle photography. I figured if there was a demographic who would appreciate good customer service, it would be the under-served special needs community!
I thought I had invented the term “special needs photographer” and then I Googled it. Apparently, other photographers have thought of this idea as well, and many of them do a beautiful job. I spent at least an hour scrolling through images with tears streaming down my face. To see these portraits of children in their home, where they are most comfortable, touched my heart. My favorite images of my own children are not the posed ones we’ve had done in studios. They are the images that showcase their personality in their favorite spaces. Surely, there must be other parents who feel the same way.
One of the photographers who I particulary admired was Carrie Anciaux from the Madison, Wisconsin area. She creates beautiful portraits, and sets aside the month of April to feature families with Autism on her blog, in connection with the Stories of Autism organization. After reading the description from their website: Stories of Autism is dedicated to heightening autism awareness through the exhibition of its portraits and stories of children and adults on the autism spectrum, I knew that this organization was one I wanted to be a part of. This year, I’m proud to say that I am.
Tomorrow, I’ll feature Isaiah, a dear family friend who is on the autism spectrum. His portrait will be featured in the new Stories of Autism gallery that will be released on Monday, April 29th.