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Photoshoot Tips for Neurodivergent Kids

I think back to all my lovely photos of my family. While it's always tricky to have a toddler smile , or avoid a meltdown, it's even more so for the parents of a neurodivergent kiddo.

Unlike a traditional portrait setting that requires children be still and smile for the camera, photographers with experience photographing kids with Autism often opt to capture candid moments, encouraging play while respecting sensory sensitivities. Like these amazing photos from Erin at Erin Winter Photography in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Erin got a message from this mama letting her know that her oldest would require a little patience and care as a neurodivergent kid. She skillfully planned her last session slot for the family so she could take her time letting the family warm up (or cool down if so required!) She encouraged them by letting him "lead" the session (play vs. posed, location within the studio, etc.) And as you can see the outcome is incredible!

Here are a few of my tips to make your next family photo session the best experience!

Let's Play! Blow bubbles, play with balls. Get them to interact, and then snap pictures in between to get the expression you’re looking for. Involving a child’s favorite toy can also help them feel more comfortable in front of the camera, and you’ll be capturing a part of that moment of their childhood. Or just a simple good tickle session if your kiddo is sensory seeking & loves the pressure of a good squeeze!

Location, Location, Location While we have certainly done a few studio sessions, opt for a familiar location with little distractions. It’s more important that a child feel comfortable than the surroundings be picture perfect.

Limit distraction and pressure You can use a toy to draw attention, but don't use something like tech here- again avoiding the meltdown or distraction. Also, do not expect multiple outfit changes. Try to keep clothing simple and avoid outfits that are out of the ordinary for the child.

While getting a great shot of your child may take a little more effort, choosing a professional who is happy tot take the time to work with you is well worth it. And for candids at home. with a little planning, you can snap some priceless photos of your child that let their personality and love shine through!

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