Capturing Family Photos with a Special Needs Child | Marietta Family Photographer

It can be really nerve wracking booking family photos but add in the stress of finding someone who can work with all children even those with special needs can be that much more of a stress because but let’s face it- not everyone has the gift of love and compassion. Not everyone has worked with special needs in any capacity at all so I think for some the idea of it intimates them.

When Olivia and I started talking about her family photos she insisted on having a phone conversation with me. So, at the time prior to taking their photos I was unaware of her sons autism. She wanted to chat so that she could explain to me how her son experienced the world. It felt so special hearing the things she shared about her son with me and it truly made me do my job that much better knowing her heart and the love story behind their family. She told me the things her son loves, how he interacts with people and she also told me that in the past she has some not so great experience with photographers and she wanted to make sure that would not happen with me.

I assured her that she had nothing to worry about and that we were going to have the best time! See, special needs kids are just that special in all the best ways. They are the little lights of this world and they deserve in every single aspect to be treated as you would treat anyone else.

I want to share the review that Olivia left about her experience with me because her words speak so much more power than mine could:

“I want to tell you about how the “not so perfect” photos, became the ones that hit me hard and started the waterworks as I began to scroll through the sneak peeks of our family photos. I want to share with you about an experience I recently had despite the judgement that may be silently thrown my way.
It’s been four years since we have had “true” family photos done. A four year argument between the Mister and I disguised through random excuses, but all because I really was too embarrassed to admit my fears of how hard it would be to do them with our Everett. A child with special needs. Hard for him and me. Now pause. I get it. I get that some of you will instantly be bothered with that statement and maybe even some of you will sit there and think how ridiculous of a truth that is. Looking back now, I’d even agree with you to an extant. But I remember the feelings of looking at other’s family photos and thinking “how perfect”. How perfect are their photos where they are all looking at the camera, at each other all together present in the same moment, posed so perfectly, or naturally “in sync”. What beautiful memories they made to look back on when they see these photos. And I just knew that wouldn’t be our experience. But that thought, I couldn’t have been more wrong about. My main concern going into these family photos was simply Everett. I know how he functions in life, and I know how we as a family unit work. I didn’t want him or us to be stressed by not being so “on top of it” during our session and therefore us not be able to truly enjoy the experience or have photos that weren’t a true representation of the Mastersons and who we are. I think if you talk to any parent there is always some level of stress before, during, or after family photos. I expected that. But coming from the perspective of a mother with a child on the spectrum, I just want to share about how finding the right photographer was a game changer! For both my heart and our little Fox’s heart. Each photo I chose for you to scroll through tells a story. The first tells a story about how a photographer waited patiently, without a sense of annoyance, for my son to enjoy watching the airplane above fly by until he could no longer see it in view. And captured the moment on top of that. The second tells a story about how a photographer communicated with me several times leading up to our session to get to know us as a family and each kid as an individual. As you all know, Everett has a love for dinosaurs. When she saw him frustrated at one point, she engaged in conversation with Everett about dinosaurs and encouraged him to take his Dino out to show her. (Transition object.) The third photo tells about how a photographer encouraged us to forget all family photo expectations and be who we truly are. Say, do, or even bring whatever makes each of us shine and show a side of us. In this photo, she captured the bond Everett has had with his Curious George for what seems like forever and made George being in our photos such a natural thing. (y’all, a true representation of a dynamic in our family as George travels everywhere with us.) The fourth photo tells a story of a photographer encouraging Everett to be goofy and not just expect him to smile shot after shot. And the last photo tells a story about how a photographer never once made us feel rushed or on a time crunch. That it was perfectly normal and okay for our kids to just be. Be with no expectations for a few minutes and rest. Take the time to just regroup. ALL these things may be normal (although not so sure about that) and may even seem so trivial to another, but these are the things that made me realize what a treasure and gift it was for everything to fall into place with Alyssa Hollis and her being the one to capture this season of our lives. I knew from the very moment I stepped foot out of our vehicle and we met her for the first time in person the day of our photoshoot, that when she walked right up to Everett and leaned down to give him a hug…. saying how excited she was to meet him and then took his hand to walk, she was an answer to prayer.” – Olivia Masterson

Little boy walking with his family at Aware Nature Center in Stonecrest, GA.
Family of 5 hiking at aware nature center during sunset for a family photo session.
Siblings holding hands during a hike at arabia mountain park for a family photo session.
Siblings walking the aware nature center trials in Stonecrest, GA.
Autistic little boy showing off his dino toy at his family photo session.
Mom and daughter giving eskimo kisses during a family photo session.
Father and son snuggling during a family photo session.
Mom holding daughter during family photos at arabia mountain.
Family of 5 laughing during family photos at sunset photographed by a Marietta family photographer.
Family posing at arabia mountain park for a sunset family session.
Little boy pointing at an airplane at aware nature center for family photos.
Little girl twirling in a dress on top of a mountain near Atlanta, GA.
Dad sitting with his kids looking at the sky at Arabia mountain park.
Dad carrying his children up the mountain at aware nature center during family photos.
Family of 5 hiking at aware nature center.
Family sitting on top of a mountain near vaughters farm.
Wildflowers at aware nature center.
Mom and dad gazing at their children in the sunset at aware nature center.
Family walking in the sunset during their family photo session photographed by a Mareitta family photographer.
Beautiful family on top of a mountain top for family photos.
Mother snuggling her autistic son with his curious george during family photos.
Little boy sitting on his dads chest during a photo session.
mother and sun cuddling at a photo session in Atlanta, GA.
Cute baby feet crawing up a mountain at sunset.
Little girl holding frozen toys up for the marietta photographer taking her photos at arabia mountain.

How to choose a family photographer

Arabia Mountain Park