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Thread: Anyone have training with photographing handicapped children?

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    Anyone have training with photographing handicapped children?

    Anyone have training with photographing handicapped children? I have been hired to do a lifestyle shoot with handicapped children to be used in a publication. I would love to get some help/ ideas. I haven't dealt with handicapped children much.



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    What sort of handicap(s)?

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    Quote Originally Posted by tirediron
    What sort of handicap(s)?
    Physical, mental.... A mixed bag. I let the organization know I have no experience in this area but they have used me on lots of other projects and love my work. They r confident I can do it.... I just thought it might be nice to get some tips. At wppi a couple of years ago they had an organization that specialized in training photographers to work with the handicapped. I just can't find them!

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    I was recently a 2nd shooter for a fundraising event for Gigi's Playhouse, which is a down syndrome charity. My experience probably wasn't particularly useful for you as I just did your standard event stuff, but the primary photog on that shoot has worked with the organization in the past & has done many portraits of the children. You can see her portfolio at jen Pair Photography for some ideas of how to shoot them. Feedback at the event from contributors and families was overwhelmingly positive of her work.

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    That's going to be tough; my only [remotely] useful tip would be to have people that the children know around you to make them more comfortable.

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    I have no idea as a photographer but as a parent of a disabled child I will stick my 2 penn'orth in...

    For me, I know my child has a disability, I know she can look at you in a funny way, with a squint, and with her glasses and her hearing aids. I know that she stands funny with her weak muscles and her walking is like a 1 year old even though she is 3.

    What I would want a photographer to do is to show my child just as she is...don't try to hide what is there...the parents know their child and will expect photos of their child, not someone elses perception of the child. I know of people who have taken photos of children in a wheelchair and then cloned out parts of the chair. But the parents expected to see the chair...

    ...but, there will always be some parents of kids with disabilities that do want stuff changing. If there is any way to speak to the parents beforehand, then do. And don't be embarrassed by asking...most of these parents do not have the embarrassment gene in their bodies anymore...I know I don't.

    Hope that helps.
    tirediron, gsgary and paigew like this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Balmiesgirl View Post
    Anyone have training with photographing handicapped children? I have been hired to do a lifestyle shoot with handicapped children to be used in a publication. I would love to get some help/ ideas. I haven't dealt with handicapped children much.
    Not photographing them, but I did frequently substitute teach for a class of handicapped children while I was getting my MBA. (It was a day job). You might want to talk to the organization and see if you can spend a couple of days (1 hour or so each) watching the kids and getting a feel for them. It might also make them more at ease with YOU. Sometimes they can be leery of a stranger (others...not so much).

    I found my time spent with them was the most rewarding of all my substitute teaching. You might want to take pictures of them during some playtime. Depending upon the ages, you will get some serious smiles if you catch them playing. Just like any kid, they sure do like to have fun.

    Good luck and be patient. Also, I'm not sure if flashes can trigger a siezure like a strobe can but you may want to make sure/ask if any of the kids are prone to siezures. Sure don't want to trigger one of those.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bend The Light
    I have no idea as a photographer but as a parent of a disabled child I will stick my 2 penn'orth in...

    For me, I know my child has a disability, I know she can look at you in a funny way, with a squint, and with her glasses and her hearing aids. I know that she stands funny with her weak muscles and her walking is like a 1 year old even though she is 3.

    What I would want a photographer to do is to show my child just as she is...don't try to hide what is there...the parents know their child and will expect photos of their child, not someone elses perception of the child. I know of people who have taken photos of children in a wheelchair and then cloned out parts of the chair. But the parents expected to see the chair...

    ...but, there will always be some parents of kids with disabilities that do want stuff changing. If there is any way to speak to the parents beforehand, then do. And don't be embarrassed by asking...most of these parents do not have the embarrassment gene in their bodies anymore...I know I don't.

    Hope that helps.
    Thanks so much for your input!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by CMfromIL

    Good luck and be patient. Also, I'm not sure if flashes can trigger a siezure like a strobe can but you may want to make sure/ask if any of the kids are prone to siezures. Sure don't want to trigger one of those.
    thanks do much for the advice! I will definitely see if I can spend some time with them ahead of time! Also I hadn't even thought about the lights possibly being a problem! I will have to check into that for sure!!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Balmiesgirl View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by CMfromIL

    Good luck and be patient. Also, I'm not sure if flashes can trigger a siezure like a strobe can but you may want to make sure/ask if any of the kids are prone to siezures. Sure don't want to trigger one of those.
    thanks do much for the advice! I will definitely see if I can spend some time with them ahead of time! Also I hadn't even thought about the lights possibly being a problem! I will have to check into that for sure!!!!
    It's not likely unless you are firing off a lot of flashes or using a strobe. But worth considering, but will most likely only be relevant if one of them has epiliepsy.

    Here's some info about it:

    Photosensitivity and other triggers : Epilepsy Society
    Q: Is there any guidance on flash photography at events for people with photosensitive epilepsy?

    A: Flash photography is usually not a problem on domestic cameras. However the motorised cameras which reload instantly can reach a high enough flash rate to affect people who are photosensitive particularly when large numbers of press cameras are involved, hence the warning broadcast on TV. The TUC banned flash photography within their conferences for this reason.
    February 2010
    Again, good luck with your shoot. It should be fun!

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    If they expecting more formal shots that could present some problems, but if they just want casual interaction photos, sitting back and shooting with a longer lens would be less intimidating, the kids would still be in a comfortable atmosphere and after a while you'd just become part of the background.

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    I have a client with Downs that I shoot all the time. I know the family really well so she is really comfortable around me which helps. I second the motion to just take an hour or two to hang with the kids. They will be comfortable with you and then you will be able to get an idea of how they spend their day and interact.

    Just shoot them like you would any other kids and have a great time doing it!

 

 

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