I started out like everyone else....

So this is one of my favorite portraits of my son Rohan and I. It was taken by one of my photographer friends. It tells a great story about a mum with her honeybadger!! This is what we called him...before we knew he could not sit still or co-operate for a reason. This was taken probably right before he was diagnosed with Autism. This is where our journey with this begins. 


I see so much creativity in this part of my photography!! Particualarly because each of my clients has a great story. Each person has a moving story to share. I like to be the person who helps visually communicate and capture the memories.

This picture feels like it was taken yesterday... because special needs families have acceptionally busy lives!!



We live in a very culturally diverse world. I would love to personally thank the people that choose to share their lives with us and live out loud!! Those who choose not to share due to personal, cultural or any other reason will not be added to this gallery.

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View the Gallery Above to see some of our friends!!!.

Tips & Tricks for Parents to Prepare for Photo Session


Photographing a child living with autism or special needs can be very difficult. Sitting in one position can be very hard for them. They may have sensory issues that make bright lights disturbing. Make sure your photographer knows if it is appropriate to use a flash or how you can help them best capture their character. Also let them know what the reinforcements are for being such a good girl / boy on this outing. Don’t promise ice-cream after if you cannot follow through with ice cream. Perhaps if your child likes digital devices such as an iPad: you can offer more time with it. In fact it may be wise to bring it if it calms them!


1. Practice Patience & Planning:  This company revolves around the time and artistic ability it takes to photograph children on the spectrum. We are not a snap & go business. We know how big your challenge is with your children. Priming or Preparing your child for these photos will be very helpful to their schedules. Although sometimes when they are in a good mood: make the call!!! We do our best to be available to you on these short notice moments!!


2. Consider Modeling the Activity!:  If you plan a session with siblings, have them watch how nicely they sit still while dad counts to three and mimic’s a click sound. Show them the time on the calendar that it will be incorporated into their daily schedule*


3. Ask how you can help: You know your child best. If you are just adjusting a minor stray hair it could get in the way, (helicopter mums you know who you are;) but if you feel that your child needs you than you should do in all the best interest in keeping you child feel secure and happy!! If it is part of your daily routine to be at the park by three o’clock than that is probably a great opportunity to have a photo session!! If you feel your home is best due to reasons of comfort or your child elopes, this is a good option!


4. Sometimes, when a child cannot sit still for a picture, it is helpful to allow them to stand, or even to lie down if they wish. It is best to not try to force them to assume a position that they are not comfortable with. This could lead to a meltdown. As much as possible, allow them to direct the photo shoot. Enjoy the adventure and remember that we are capturing the truth of who they are as a person, not what our expectations are of them for a photo.


5. Take support with you:  If your child is scheduled for Respite or Intervention sessions after school, you may want to consider asking them to prepare your child by helping them practice. As well, have them available to join you for your photography session for your support and for coaching support for them.

8. Be sure to wear comfortable clothes  There is no rules or dress code that says that every picture of your child must him or her in formal wear. Autistic children with sensory issues may be really bothered by uncomfortable clothing. It may also be a nice memory to have when you see them wearing their favorite color shirt or overalls in the future. You really get to identify with their progress as well!!


6. Remember to not push too hard We all hate to be pushed beyond our limits. Pictures of your children laughing and playing often are just as good or better than pictures where they are sitting posed. Pushing too hard for a perfect picture may upset your child to the point where you will not be able to get a picture at all.


7. Autistic children will need time. In any experience with the camera, the first portion of the session are all just like the first throw-away pancake* It takes time and patience. We do not expect the perfect shot on the first click. Modeling calm & relaxed behavior is alway helpful. Your children will pick up on your anxious vibes. If they expect that they can relax and move around without demands: they will be so much happier!

About The Artist:


Katie and her family reside in the Los Angeles County Area. After specializing in Graphic Design and Marketing she merged into photography, spending 11 of those years promoting new talent & headshot photography in the entertainment industry.


In 2010, after her son was given a diagnosis of autism, her special needs photography business was born!  


“It is very lonely when you are not sure who you can reach out to in your community. Now, I am doing my best to create something great for the Autism and Special Needs community! "


She worked with Behavior Specialists and ABA therapists tirelessly to Shape Behaviors and use intervention as a key to improve his life!


In addition to her many talents she has worked part time as a Behavior Respite in her community. This allowed her to stay current on what behavioral tools and reinforcers work best for each family. It also helped reveal where each family needed support.


" I have met too many diverse families that find shame in seeking help. There are services available to them that can greatly help them live out loud! I love being one of these services!!"


She is Recognized by organizations such as Autism Speaks, Autism Hwy & Autismsports.org for her efforts in fundraising and support.

© 2017 All images require permission by Katie Baca Images associated with First Then Projects 

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