Anyone have training with photographing handicapped children?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by Balmiesgirl, Mar 31, 2012.

  1. Balmiesgirl
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    Balmiesgirl New Member

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    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.
  2. tirediron
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    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member

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    What sort of handicap(s)?
  3. Balmiesgirl
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    Balmiesgirl New Member

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    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!
  4. brush
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    brush New Member

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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.
  5. tirediron
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    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member

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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.
  6. Bend The Light
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    Bend The Light Well-Known Member

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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.
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  7. CMfromIL
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    CMfromIL New Member

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    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.
  8. Balmiesgirl
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    Balmiesgirl New Member

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    Thanks so much for your input!!!
  9. Balmiesgirl
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    Balmiesgirl New Member

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    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!!!!
  10. CMfromIL
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    CMfromIL New Member

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    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
    Again, good luck with your shoot. It should be fun!
  11. imagemaker46
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    imagemaker46 Well-Known Member

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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.
  12. KBM1016
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    KBM1016 New Member

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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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