I had the absolute pleasure this spring of photographing my son's best friend from preschool along with her mom and big sister. I loved spending time with all of them and getting to know the family better. Oliver was taken with Makenna the very first week of school and she has been special to him (and me) ever since.
When I decided to start offering the Special Smiles Sessions, I did some research online to see if there were any classes I could take to help me photograph kids with disabilities better. That's when I learned about Special Kids Photography of America. I started the process of becoming accredited with them and needed to submit images as part of my application. I thought of the Manning family right away. I knew Makenna would be a joy to photograph, and I was so right!
We went to Upper Onondaga Park and had so much fun. I don't think there was a section of the park we didn't visit. In true toddler fashion, Makenna made me chase her around. I'm convinced those wheels give her extra speed.
Kierra was a total pro...always ready with a smile and striking poses. She was so easy to direct and talk with during the entire session. Up until that day, I'd only met her a couple times, but by the end of the session, I felt like we were fast friends.
One of the reasons I created the Special Smiles Session is because I feel it is so important for people to see kids as kids, not as their disability or diagnosis. My son isn't just a stroke survivor, he's Oliver (and he will tell you that loudly)! Nothing slows Makenna down. She was running around, swinging, climbing and sliding, all with that gorgeous smile (and at times a look of sheer determination) on her face.
All three of the Manning Girls are beautiful, inside and out, and I'm thrilled to have them in our lives, not to mention in my portfolio!
Cassandra Zingaro - photographer, mom, wife, owner of HeartStrings Photography and first time blogger