She also researched and wrote a book entitled, Photographing Children with Special
Needs (published by Amherst Media), which is illustrated with beautiful images
taken by many of SKPA's photographers, and serves as a guide for professional
portrait photographers who want to photograph children with disabilities of
all kinds. According to national census statistics, approximately 20% of the
population has some sort of disability, so chances are that a certain percentage
of a photographer's clientele will be disabled. "One of SKPA's
objectives is to place one of these books in every professional portrait studio,"
photo of Vicki, cropped in tight to exclude her wheelchair.
Photo by Karen Dórame
She emphasizes that SKPA photographers are very caring people. "I've
found that photographers who are successful love their job partly because the
parents are so grateful." Parents enjoy having their child portrayed in
a joyful moment. "It's a good idea to photograph a child enjoying
an activity at his/her own level, even if it's sifting beach sand through
their fingers." One of these images shows a child holding a doorstop,
which is a "comfort" object, according to Dórame.
A Little Help From Their Friends
SKPA works with both Professional Photographers of America (PPA) and Wedding
and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI). These organizations have both
generously donated booth space to SKPA at their trade shows. On hand at various
conferences and trade shows, Dórame actively promotes special kids photography.
"We're encouraging photographers to learn about working with disabled
children. We also ask organizers of national photography contests to consider
adding a category to include pictures of kids with special needs."
"Our organization is continually growing," says Dórame. "I've
found that a lot of young photographers just getting into the business are interested
in working with special children." At one PPA show, she says, a photographer
stood looking at the SKPA booth. When Dórame asked her what her photo
specialty was, she replied that she didn't ordinarily like working with
children, "but I want to work with these children."
SKPA is sponsored by Epson America Inc., which has donated compact digital cameras,
printers and ink; Burrell Labs; Miller's Professional Imaging; Pacific
Life Foundation; WPPI; PPA; and is endorsed by American Society of Photographers.
Dórame is currently seeking more grants, and wants to further develop
SKPA's "Smiles for Katie" program, whereby financially strained
families can get photo sessions for free or at a reduced cost.
Ryan in a tub of balls. Since he won't hold still, this
is the only one of 24 pictures shot during that session that show
A Captured Moment
SKPA is dedicated to a great cause in providing photographic services for children
with special needs. The beautiful images of these children, captured by talented
photographers, definitely speak for themselves. "People don't realize
how endearing a photo can be of a child enjoying life, if only for a moment,"
Dórame comments. And it's wonderful when a photographer can capture
one of these moments that's immortalized in a portrait on a family's
For more information on SKPA, visit their Website at www.specialkidsphotography.com.