I've been study professional photography for a few years now.
Something that has been mentioned to me many times is the difficulties that some families have with the whole studio approach (and some expensive bad experiences). Autism, ASD and other disabilities can make it almost impossible to get the sort of family portraits you want to put up on a wall. It can be stressful and end in meltdowns, making a second attempt even more difficult and often impossible.
Having two children on the spectrum myself, I have been working on what difficulties I've faced with photographing my own children as well as doing extensive research on what other photographers have done. This has led me to want to create a service to provide the following which will enable families with special needs to be able to get some fantastic family shots:
Specialised equipment to create calm lighting that also reduces the need for harsh flashes;
Minimising equipment (and hence distractions);
Providing sensory things for the kids;
Head swapping to take the stress from demanding eye contact.
The ability to be mobile so the experience can be done in the comfort of a familiar environment if required;
And, most importantly, a calm and fun approach to the whole experience with no time pressure.
I'm hoping crowdfunding will help with some of the equipment with the sole purpose of making starting the project as affordable as possible, meaning it can be done a lot sooner. And charging would be based on results – no-one wants to pay for a bunch of photos they don't like. And sometimes, no planning in the world is guaranteed to work with all children on the spectrum. I would like to remove that financial stress rather than it be transferred to the family. We have enough to cope with. smile emoticon It seems to be a favourable option that parents would consider.
I think this could offer a genuine service to families with special needs. Your support would be amazing to help me support those families. And I think it would mean the world to them. I know it does to me.
The equipment I'll need to set this up is wire-free persistent lighting to remove flashes, cables, etc; some attractive and exciting backgrounds, reflectors and fun frames that can be made; and possibly, if there is any money left, some fancy dress items to create some fun and a bit of respite from the more structured shooting.
I've costed this to around £3000. Even if I don't reach the target then I am committed to carry this on. I am determined to fund this and provide families with a photography service they want, need and deserve.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and enormous thanks for any contributions you are able to make.