Navigating Special Needs in Photography With Jennifer’s Mother Ada Stevens

Navigating Special Needs in Photography With Jennifer’s Mother Ada Stevens

Ada Stevens

Ada Stevens is the Owner of SnapHappy Photos, a small team of professional photographers in Charlotte, NC. Ada discovered photography when her husband Doug Stevens gifted her a camera, leading to her opening a photography business. In 2007, she joined forces with Doug to establish SnapHappy, giving up her sales career to pursue the profession full-time. The duo specializes in business portraits, events, real estate, architectural photography, and family photos.


Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Ada Steven’s journey into professional photography
  • Ada reflects on capturing a photo of the Queen of England
  • The importance of preserving memories and legacy
  • How does Ada employ active listening and empathy in her work?
  • Ada’s experience with special needs clients
  • The long-term effects of COVID-19 on education, including cognitive and social skills
  • Mentors who’ve impacted Ada’s life
  • Navigating parenting with special needs children
  • Ada shares her daily routines and rituals as a thriving businesswoman

In this episode…

Professional photographers know eye contact can be tough for some individuals; people with special needs often need more help getting the best portrait. How can photographers create a safe and supportive environment while helping their subjects explore and express themselves?

Having navigated the photography scene for over 17 years, photographer Ada Stevens has discovered the importance of creating enjoyable experiences during photography sessions. Numerous behavioral issues can cause hurdles while photographing clients with special needs. Reflecting on her experience working with individuals on the autism spectrum, she highlights the challenge of capturing their personalities and expressions due to their commonplace difficulty with eye contact and smiling. Ada stresses the crucial role of empathy; by minimizing pushiness and allowing her subjects to lead, she fosters an atmosphere of respect and understanding.

In this episode of EspecIallY “SpeciAl” SpeeCh?!, Jennifer Branchini welcomes her mother Ada Stevens, the Owner of SnapHappy Photos, as they discuss Ada’s experience photographing subjects with special needs. She discusses her journey as a mom with a child with special needs, her parenting style, and the importance of empathy in photography. Ada also shares her career pivot to photography from sales, business growth strategies, and her daily routines as a thriving businesswoman.

Resources Mentioned in this episode

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by District Speech & Language Therapy.

At District Speech & Language Therapy, we help you learn to love your voice.

Our team of licensed speech-language pathologists provides expert service to children, adolescents, and adults in diagnosing and treating communication disorders.

We help with a wide range of disorders including autism spectrum disorder, dyslexia, phonological, language delays, and cognitive deficits.

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