Are Family Photo Shoots Possible When Your Child Has Special Needs?

In a time where we record all our memories in photo format, I think having professional family photos taken is still really important.  More often than not, our own attempts at family photos mean that one person is left out of the shot and the photos end up staying on our phones instead of being displayed on our walls.

But when you have a child with a disability or any other type of special needs, it can be really daunting looking for the right photographer.

Alexandra of Perfectly Unique Photography, is a special needs family photographer and she has kindly shared her top tips to capturing your families memories with a professional photographer.


As a mother of a son with a severe learning disability and autism I fully appreciate the feeling of dread and anxiety that even the briefest thought of having a family photo shoot can bring on. My fear comes from having to appear like a ‘normal’ family (though of course we know there is no such thing!) for an hour or two in front of a photographer.

Trying to keep my son engaged, focused and following instructions whilst knowing full well that he will do the exact opposite of what is being asked. My son also has an ‘interesting’ smile that he puts on when he is asked to smile for a photo – it usually forms the shape of grimace and, although his face is forward his eyes will be looking at anything but the camera! And then I remember I have my other two children to contend with and so its about at that point in my thought process I give up and think

‘well that’s just going to be a nightmare and horribly awkward – I’ll stick to with my iPhone snaps!’.

But this does not need to be the case!

Every family, whatever the dynamic, want to preserve moments in time and special occasions.  I recognise with SEN children there is often an extra layer of consideration in nearly everything we do – but finding the right professional photographer to capture your memories can be really easy.

1) Do your research and listen to recommendations

There are a few things you may wish to consider such as location, accessibility and of course photographic style. You’ll want photos that you can treasure forever so if you aren’t keen on the 80’s soft focus used by a photographer or perhaps the photos look too staged for your liking – move on to another photographer. There are loads out there and their styles, along with their prices, can vary amazingly.

2) Ask about experience

Once you have a short list of potential photographers find out what experience they have working with children with additional needs. Just because they don’t appear to have any photos on their website doesn’t mean they haven’t worked with them, they could even be a parent to a SEN child themselves – never make assumptions! This leads me on to step 3….

3) Speak with the photographer.

This is the best way to judge whether that particular photographer will ‘get’ your family and your needs. Finding out what adjustments they can make for you is also a very good indication of how adaptable the photographer is. It is also worth asking about their cancellation policy – what happens if its a bad day for your SEN child? Can you reschedule

4) Ask questions

Remember the photographers out there are very professional, experienced and engaging people. There will be very little that they haven’t been asked to do so don’t be afraid of asking awkward questions!

5) Book!

Once you have chosen your photographer – book your session, start planning what you will wear and above all look forward to capturing some lovely memories.

Alexandra set up Perfectly Unique Photography to offer special needs families who wouldn’t normally consider having a photoshoot, for whatever reason, the option to capture their own family’s memories in a professional, relaxed and understanding atmosphere which is tailored to the individual needs of each family. She is based in Burgess Hill, West Sussex. www.perfectlyuniquephotography.co.uk

Want to win a gift certificate for your own family photo shoot?  Here’s how..

Photographer, Photo Camera, Camera, Dslr, Photo
1) Follow Alexandra’s Facebook page

2) Follow the instructions on the pinned post on her page.

You could win:
1st Prize: £50.00 gift certificate
2nd Prize: £25.00 gift certificate
3rd Prize: £15.00 gift certificate

Gift certificates cannot be used as your deposit but will be redeemable on your final payment. Entries close on Sunday 10th September & the winner will be announced on her Facebook page on Monday 11th.

5 Reasons You Should Visit Mallorca With Your Disabled Child
5 Things I Learnt From Being On Loose Women