Revealing Their Inner Beauty; Tips on Photographing Special Kids

SKPA (Special Kids Photography of America) is a non-profit organization that was born from Heidi Lewis' frustration in trying to get a professional portrait taken of her one-year-old son, Taylor, who has a connective tissue disorder.

A photo of Scout and her mother, Lisa Curtis, in an embrace that also serves to hold the child still long enough to snap the shutter. This image is also on the cover of Photographing Children with Special Needs.
Photo by Sally Harding

Lewis is not alone. According to her mother, Karen Dórame, who co-founded SKPA with Lewis, "It's hard to believe, but SKPA often hears that parents are turned away by photographers when they hear that the child has special needs. These kids are frequently left out of important family pictures, such as weddings or graduation celebrations. It's very important to include these kids," she emphasizes.

"One of the SKPA board members is just such a mother who became frustrated in attempting to obtain a professional photograph of her little boy who has Down Syndrome. So what did Laura Popiel do? She went out and took a few classes and is now a first-class photographer whose services are in demand all over the world," says Dórame.

Nicholas (right), with his cousin Benjamin. Nicholas is the son of photographer Laura Popiel, who now photographs special-needs children around the world.
Photo by Laura Popiel

The Role of SKPA
SKPA provides training and support to photographers who take pictures of children, as a certain percentage of them will have special needs. They also offer referrals of photographers around the country who have experience photographing children with disabilities, sponsor photographic exhibits for malls and airports in major cities, and promote greater inclusion of these children in mainstream society.

Professional photographers can become accredited with SKPA to work with the organization, to use SKPA's logo in marketing, and to have their names included in SKPA's Website referral list. Photographers must also submit pictures of four special-needs children for review. Several of SKPA's accredited photographers are parents of special children, Dórame points out, "because they decided that they wanted to take great pictures not only for themselves, but for others as well." Many of these studios offer additional services, such as wedding photography, but others have devoted themselves solely to photographing disabled children. "We have no competition," she adds. "No other organization that we know of is doing this."

Nicholas enjoying the pumpkin patch.
Photo by Laura Popiel

Dórame, who is also SKPA's director, has a background in public relations and was once employed by a public health department's Office of Policy, Research and Planning. One of her duties was shooting pictures for the department's newsletter. "I learned a lot about photojournalism, which is a very popular style with studios today," she says.

Her mother was an award-winning photographer in salon competitions. "I grew up getting stuck in her tripod holes," Dórame laughs. "She taught me about f-stops, film speeds and other tips."

Ethan and his friend Jack take a break from selling lemonade. Jack (right) shaved his head to match Ethan's, who lost his hair through cancer therapy.
Photo by Wendy Imbornoni

The early days of SKPA involved a lot of research on Dórame's part. She started taking pictures of special-needs children at church, and the health department allowed her to shoot pictures of children at their therapy centers as long as the parents signed a release. She learned what skills were needed in this specialized area of photography. This led to her working with schools that had students with disabilities.


jacksparow55's picture

A tip or some good pieces of helping words can change things and make good results but the need is to understand and follow the advising points,share the link that gives you the best ideas or tips that will helps you to make your skin glowing and shining.

beautician's picture

As a parent it's our responsibility to take care of our kids. No matter who they are or what they are. We must love them, specially if they have some illness. I would like to share this with you. We have beauty tips and helse produkter online and different kind of helsekost.

rikkitheman's picture

It can become a very intriguing project to try and become a well mastered photographer to get the best out of this amazing creatures called humans. I have been looking around the internet for something of valuable information and finally found this post that made me think hard.

leonardo85's picture

Kids are always special for their parents and you simply can not leave them out of family pictures. They should be loved and pampered just like the normal kids, they need attention and care from you. For your special baby you should buy lovely outfits from

uoshimi's picture

Everyone likes to look lovely. There ar several blessings of trying lovely. a stunning girl forever receives attention. She marries the simplest catch. She gets to be the cheer leader. She dates all the engaging boys. She even manages to participate within the beauty pageants and win a crown for her country. Hence, girls look out for easy beauty tips to reinforce their beauty.Best beauty tips

gabriellajoseph's picture

Special kids this very big responsibility on the parents to gave extra take care to the Special Kids.
Kapello Hair

ponaaam's picture

They may be the commonest home remedies pertaining to chapped lips on the market and you will have them just about all direct through your fridge or perhaps faucet. It is very important ingest a great deal of water, not merely on your broke lips, additionally your overall health insurance and skin.
lips care home remedies

joy33's picture

We love a good beauty tips, so we've rounded up our best tips-Get Gorgeous in one place. Whether you want to learn how to create the perfect wavy hair or improve your technique smoky eyes, find abundant beauty tips to help you get enough from head to beautyaddons