taking pictures of autistic child | chagrin falls, ohio family photographer

Looking back at this family photo session in Chagrin Falls, Ohio puts a big smile on my face. The moment I walked in this families house, I felt so much warmth and love which instantly put me at ease and eager to get started.

Christine reached out to me in the fall to schedule a family session. She was a bit worried about moving forward mostly because her son has autism. She told me all she wants is "one good family picture". If some one reading is not too familiar with autism-it is characterized by social-interaction difficulties, communication challenges and a tendency to engage in repetitive behaviors and many instances difficulty making eye contact. I approached this family as I would every other family. We simply had a good time and captured real, authentic and full of love images. I can say we have way more than "one good family picture"! 

Although I am no expert. but I'd like to share what worked for me when I took pictures of a boy who has autism and hope to ease some worry and apprehension to other photographers.

  • Don't make it a big deal! Use your camera a lot, show him/her pictures if they want, let them touch the camera, be friendly but not pushy and go with the flow! 
  • Sing! If the child responds well to music, everyone sing. It takes the tension away and makes the session more fun!
  • Photograph them doing something they love! John loved playing with the leaves, the mulch and being on the playground set. I was able to capture some great photos of him doing what he loves!
  • Explain what you're doing. Even though they are not looking at you, they are listening! Ease their fears by telling them what's happening.
  • Be patient. Every child is beautiful and has an amazing story to tell.
  • Consider the environment. The mom thought staying in their yard was the best idea and she was right. It's familiar and everyone felt more comfortable.

I was truly honored to photograph this wonderful family and I hope to capture more beautiful memories for them in the future. Thank you again for entrusting me as your family photographer. 

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Agnes Szlapka Studios is based in Cleveland Height, Ohio. Agnes Szlapka is a fine art and lifestyle photographer capturing artistic and emotionally moving photographs. Specializing in family photography, maternity photography, kids photography and lifestyle newborn photography