Founded in 2000, Special Kids Photography of America™ (SKPA) is a non-profit organization founded to provide highly specialized training and accreditation to photographers providing photo shoots to children with serious illnesses or special needs. 

During a professional photoshoot, children with various challenges ranging from autism to Down syndrome may respond differently than children who do not have special needs. As such, the SKPA provides comprehensive training to photographers who have an interest in providing successful photoshoots for special kids. Last month, Mike Nordtvedt, co-Founder of LifeSlice Photography, earned his Special Kids Photographer designation from the SKPA.

About SKPA

The primary mission of the SKPA is to expand exceptional photographic opportunities to these unique children on a national level. The organization was born as the result of the frustration experienced by the mother of a special child. Upon taking her child to get professional photos taken, she found herself disheartened because the photographer appeared to have no interest in photographing her child. 

She channeled her anger into a greater good by creating the first iteration of SKPA training for photographers. The goal was to teach unique skills to photographers so they could hold successful photoshoots with children with special needs.

Special Kids Photography Accreditation

SPKA’s accreditation is offered following successful completion of workshop training. The training is designed to help photographers put special kids at ease during photo shoots. Workshop topics covered include:

  • Best practices for hospital photos
  • Best practices for photographing children with illnesses
  • Communicating with special kids
  • Ideas for attention-getting
  • Posing suggestions
  • Seizure and unexpected behavior training
  • Sensitivity training for parent and child
  • Tips for lighting
  • Tips for using props

Accredited photographers also learn how to best work with special children who have Down syndrome, autism, blindness, cerebral palsy, and more. 

Becoming a Special Kids Photographer

Mike Nordtvedt chose to become accredited after learning about the organization at a recent Imaging USA conference. According to Mike, “I see beauty in everyone, and my mission is to show people the beauty I see in them. Special kids get so many negative messages in life; I want to overwhelm them and their families with a powerful positive message, showing them how beautiful and valuable they are. The training accountability SKPA provides helped me hone my skills and establish credibility and trust in families.”

Although Mike and his wife Elsie have years of experience in children’s photography, the extra training he received was invaluable. “The SKPA training will help me to focus and clarify future experiences within the special community. I know that with this community, it is so important to craft a moment rather than stage a photo,” Mike said. “I look forward to employing everything I learned to help create a fun experience for special kids, which results in gorgeous photos.” 

Special Kids Photographer in Lane County

Based in the Willamette Valley, LifeSlice Photography is a multi-award-winning professional photography team. LifeSlice captures all of life’s most special moments for all kids and families. As an accredited special kids photographer, Mike Nordvedt is available for photoshoots indoors, in hospitals, and in a studio setting. To book a photo session, call 541-914-7977 or send a message online.