7 things I will do to ensure you have a stressfree photo experience
Firstly, thank you for taking the time to read this blog post! *I'll keep it brief!* I can only imagine life is hectic and the fact that you are taking the time out of your day that you could be using for a MILLION other things is just amazing! I appreciate you and your time.
I wanted to preface this post with a little bit about how I came into the disability space and how my two passions combined.
As you may have read on other parts of my website, I have a Masters's in Speech Pathology and a double degree in Education and Psychology. The experiences I have had while working with children and adults in the clinical setting have allowed me to develop a unique skill set that I lean into almost every family session, whether or not the child or another family member has a disability and or additional needs.
I am passionate about all families having professional photos to commemorate life's smilestones.
Time and time again I have conversations with parents who have fears surrounding the shoot itself and the expectation that their child will not know how to behave or do what is requested of them, this is where I come in. With years of knowledge in both Speech Pathology and Photography, I pride myself on my ability to engage with my clients on their level, whatever that may mean.
Continue to read on to see how I will support you and your family to have a stress-free and relaxed photo session and deliver beautiful wall art that will be treasured for generations to come.
Getting to know you
This is the most important part of the whole process!
- Home Consultation
During our initial phone call, we will set up a time for your in-home consultation. Now I know what you're thinking "Shoot, now I have to clean my house" NO NO NO, I couldn't care less if it looks like a storm has rolled in or the dishes are leftover from last night because I understand life is messy, you are busy and I'm stepping into your world.
Your home visit is the perfect opportunity for me to meet your little one/s, and help them to feel comfortable around me so that during the session we already have a lovely bond. I bring along my camera and we talk about the session and how much fun we will have playing games and having cuddles. It also gives me a chance to check out your clothing options and together we can put together some outfits for your whole family.
We will discuss your needs and come up with an action plan together. For example. Choosing a park with a fence for children who are runners or a wheelchair-accessible location that is not too crowded or overstimulating.
getting to know you further
Following your home consultation, I'll send through a questionnaire to get to know what you and your family like to do for fun and how to make you all feel comfortable on the day. We will have discussed these things at the consult but I also ask about the kid's favourites and lots of other useful information that I can use on the day to develop a great connection which equals great photographs.
3. Social Stories Resource
As a Speechie, I LOVE a good resource and this session is no different. I have developed a flipbook called "My Photo Story". It is a social story with images and text explaining the process of a photo session with me from start to finish. You can hear what I have to say about it in the video above. You may already use social stories in your home for things like teeth brushing, going to the shops, and getting ready for school. 'My Photo Story' is a similar book that can be requested and send in the mail to your family prior to our session if we do a Zoom consultation or I will bring it along to your in-home consultation so that you can start to prepare your child for the session. All that I ask is that you bring the book back to our session for other children to reuse in the future. Anyone who thinks their family member may benefit from this flipbook is welcome to request it, just send me an email.
On the shoot day, I will go through the book with your child/ren and I will have the pocket version on my keychain to use when we transition through the tasks. Ps. I can also give you a magnetic photo tile for your visual schedule if you require one.
Allowing time to warm up
4.Additional Time + Introductions
Having photographed families for eight years, I know that most children can be shy around new people and take some time to open up, even if we've met previously. I will always respect your child’s personal space and gently work on getting them to open up to me and my camera. When we first start the session I'll chat with you for a bit and then you’ll see me get down on their level and introduce myself, no matter their level of comprehension. I'm a little bit rusty but I can communicate with them in basic sign language if that is their mode of communication. Whatever works we will do it! I am aware that your session may take longer and I'm more than happy to accommodate this. You don't want to feel rushed and I want the best photos for your family so we will take as long as we need!
Allowing time for breaks
5.Additional Time for snacks!
I want your child/ren to enjoy the photo session, and an overwhelmed child just won’t be up for pictures. That's why if I sense that your child/ren is becoming overstimulated or overwhelmed I will step back and allow you time to 'refresh' before we get back into the photo session. Snack breaks are a perfect opportunity to press pause and re-calibrate, who isn't happier after a wee snack?!? If your child doesn't eat orally then a short break to play a game or even an outfit swap can make a huge difference.
I will direct you
6.Never feel awkward in front of the camera again!
I have a relaxed, more candid style of photography. I enjoy capturing the special moments between families, which are most likely the expressions that you see most in one another every day. You will find me talking to you and your family a lot, with special attention in engaging your child/ren in the moment. I might use funny sounds, bright toys, or just prompt you to have a tickle fight. Please allow me to keep them focused on me, rather than being firm with them; I have a few tricks to help kids forget the camera is even there, thus producing more natural expressions and smiles from them. I know family portrait-time can be thought of as a stressful time, but what I want you to enjoy more than your images, is the experience of making those images and the special time together as a family.
Products made with you in mind
7.I've chosen products that are made for little hands to love
After your photo session has been and gone we will get together for a reveal and ordering session where you choose your favourite images and how to display them in your home. When choosing my professional print lab and supplier I had families like yours in mind.
All of my framed prints are completed with UV-treated acrylic (not framers glass) as the safest option for not only your kids (if the frame was ever to be dropped or fall off the wall!) but for your art too. With the UV filter, your art is protected from the sun's harsh rays which fade and damage prints.
My family album is designed for little fingers to explore, with its durable covers, thick pages, and top-of-the-line printing your little one will be able to flick through your family heirloom at any time without you having to worry about ripped pages or fingerprints being left behind on the pages.
I know that I haven't thought of everything and I know I have only just touched the surface, but I do try my hardest to provide an experience and choose products that will work best for you and your family.
If there is anything you can think of that would make your experience with me easier or may benefit other families please don't hesitate to reach out, I love learning new things!