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Love, Adventure, and Autism: A Beach Photo Shoot

| Jodi Schwarzenbach |

Working with the special needs community has proven to be one of the greatest joys.  Each day is unique and sweet, much like the children with whom we work.  Though some days can be challenging, every day is rewarding.  As I write this and enjoy the summer weeks ahead, there is equal anticipation and nervous excitement thinking of the upcoming school year.  It is something you do not turn off, this desire to make your students’ experiences very meaningful and fun.

Often our work in the classroom leads to other areas of interest within our special needs community.  Such is the case of a local special needs teacher who has been able to capture the closeness she shares with her students in beautiful photos.  Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Kalan.

As an educator and a photographer, I believe in the power of visual storytelling to inspire acceptance, strengthen understanding, and embrace diversity. So, when the opportunity arose to photograph one of my students, I couldn’t say no!

Simon, one of my remarkable students with autism, was the star of the evening! Along with his mom, Katie, and stepfather Seth, I had the best time showing them the sandy shores and breathtaking scenery of Boca Grande Beach. It was the perfect backdrop for this special session, complete with golden hour casting its enchanting glow over the horizon.


Simon’s autism brought a unique element to the shoot, one that required a thoughtful approach. As a photographer, it was important for me to create a safe and comfortable environment, allowing Simon to express himself freely. Through patience, understanding, and a few sword fights, we were able to capture genuine moments of joy and connection, beautifully showcasing Simon’s vibrant personality and his infectious smile.

Katie and Seth’s love and support for Simon was evident throughout the entire session. As we ventured to the historic lighthouses and walked in the waves on the shore, it was heartwarming to witness the bond between this loving family. Their shared laughter and playful interactions created an atmosphere of pure happiness.  During the shoot, we incorporated elements of Disney, pirates, superheroes, and detectives, all things that Simon loves to talk about. His face lit up with excitement as we discussed his favorite topics and told his favorite jokes, adding a touch of magic to the photographs.

This photo shoot was a true celebration of love, adventure, and the beauty of embracing diversity. It was an honor to capture the genuine connection and pure joy shared by Katie, Seth, and Simon. Their story serves as a reminder that photography is not just about capturing images, but also about fostering a deep connection and making magical memories.

Family Autism Photo

As I am reflecting on this incredible experience, I eagerly anticipate future opportunities to work with this lovely family again. Katie’s gratefulness to me for these images and sweet compliments of our time together were everything and more. I can’t wait to continue to celebrate them and showcase the power of photography by embracing and cherishing every precious moment.

At KT Photography, I specialize in capturing the essence and beauty of children and individuals with autism, creating timeless memories for them and their families. With a deep understanding and patience, I strive to create a safe and comfortable environment that allows each individual’s unique personality to shine through.

If you are looking to capture precious moments and create lasting memories, you can go to my website KTphotography. You can also find me on Instagram @KTPhotographyfl. Contact me today to schedule your session and let me capture the beauty of your story!

Photos courtesy of KT Photography

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