Serving families of children with special needs
through exceptional photography

Photo: Laura Popiel


Ideas for approaching the media with your story (they will LOVE you for it!)

The press--including television, magazines and newspapers--LOVE human interest stories. A story about how you love to photograph children who have special needs is a reporter's delight! You will do a reporter a big favor by providing him or her with this reader-grabbing fodder.

An easy way to get your story in the paper is to first have the attitude that a reporter will LOVE to talk with you. Scan the paper to find out which reporters have written stories about foster parents, animal rescues, etc. Call or email that reporter. In other words, a sports or crime reporter probably not be helpful to you. Make certain they are bringing a photo journalist along with them.

Share with the reporter that you have a date scheduled for a photo session with a child who has cerebral pasly or Down syndrem, etc. Choose your studio or a quiet outdoor location for the shoot. Avoid a hot day or bright shiney, sun. Keep the child in mind for how he or she will hold up; many do not hold up very well in the heat.


Prepare a "Fact Sheet" for the reporter. Include:

  • Name of the parents along with their contact information (phone and email)
  • Name and age of the childs
  • Ask the parent about information they would like the reporter to know about their child
  • Contact informaiton for the Light Up a Life! program and also Special Kids Photography of America - 435-632-8300 or
  • Other information that might be relavant for the story
  • If you are an Accredited SKPA photographer, tell the photographer about the process to become accredited


PRACTICE AHEAD OF TIME. BE PREPARED! When speaking with the reporter, have positive "sound bites" in mind and ready to share. Examples are:

  • "Some families have never been able to get a favorable portrait of their special child"
  • "Children have been turned away from a professional studio because they feel inadequate to accept the booking"
  • "A child's behavior with in one disability may vary quite a bit from another child with the same disability"
  • "As a photograper going into a session with a child who has a special need, I will need to know what to expect. But more importantly, I need to know what NOT to expect."


Ways to Find Children with Disabilities to Photograph

It's not as hard to find children as you might think. Children with special needs are all around us. All you have to do is seek them out. We get requests each week from parents who are eager (even desperate) to find a photographer who will create a portrait of their special child. Here are some resources for you:

  • Search the Internet for local support groups such as "Down Syndrome Advocacy" or others that gather parents together in a common cause
  • Contact a school that has special ed classes and explain your project to photograph a child or children with special needs. Realize that the parents must sign a release provided by the school. Note that you should have the parent sign your OWN release also.
  • Contact a day school that provides specialized services for individuals with special needs.
  • Contact local therapy centers with your need to find children.
  • Contact a reporter (using the above approach)
  • Request paper to put in a short news item about your desire to photograph children with special needs because you need to submit them for SKPA accreditation or because you want to use one of our "Smiles" grants. Here is some verbiage for an article (note, SKPA-accredited photographers are allowed up to 5 grants or fewer if funding runs out before new funding can be obtained):

‚ÄčSpecial Kids Photography of America (a nonprofit organization) is offering family photo grants for the month of ________. The grant program was set up as a memorial to Katie, a 4-year-old child with Down syndrome who suddenly passed away while on vacation with her parents. A SKPA-accredited photographer had captured an adorable image of her just three days prior. The parents were immensely grateful to have a cherished image of their little angel.

The grant allows for one free photo session and one digital photo file or small print of the child. Photographic services are provided by participating photographers who have been accredited with Special Kids Photography of America ( In the _______________ area, contact ________________________________ at ___________________. 



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