Serving families of children with special needs
through exceptional photography

Photo: Laura Popiel

Photographic Standards

The final step for achievement of accreditation with Special Kids Photography of America requires submission of four (4) professional photographic images (all different children). Three out of four images must receive a score of 3 or above (on a scale of 1 to 5) by the review committee. The applicant's website is also evaluated for a total body of work. All work must be up to professional standards. All members of the review committee are familiar with and also practice standards put forth by Professional Photographers of America ( Accreditation candidates are advised to become thoroughly familiar with what constitutes a professional image in order to evaluate their own work prior to submission.



Photographic Submission Standards 
Special Kids Photography of America Accreditation

  • Submit only your BEST WORK! Have a qualified professional review your submissions and provide you with honest critique.

  • Carefully review the SKPA submission standards and judging guidelines prior to submission.

  • Your four (4) submitted images are judged as a body of work along with your website.

  • Use only the most recent submission form to submit your work.

  • Contact SKPA to receive the most recent submission form.

  • Images should be prepared and submitted as for a client.

  • Each submitted image must be of a different child or at least taken one year or more apart.

  • Submission package to SKPA MUST INCLUDE the SKPA Photo Submission Form (hard copy and also on disc with image files).

  • Prints and entry form must be complete with requested information about the child and his/her condition. Follow directions!

  • Be sure to include a disc with completed form and image files so they can be emailed to members of the review committee.

  • Prints must be client-ready, printed as 8 x 10 images, accompanied by the entry form ( provides free 8x10s)

  • Each re-submission must be accompanied by $10 (payment option available on our Store page).


Careful Attention Must be Given to Photographic Industry Standards

  • Proper Exposure

  • Lighting

  • Accurate Focus

  • Composition

  • General Technical Excellence


Other Considerations

  • Impact

  • Creativity

  • Center of Interest

  • Story Telling   

  • Consideration of the child’s ability or disability


Responsibilities of Applicant

  • Applicant must realize approval by judges does not relieve applicant from basic business 
    management, ethical business practices, and a responsibility to provide for and please their clients.

  • SKPA, it’s Board of Directors, and staff are to be held blameless for the way a photographer conducts his/her business.

  • SKPA does not warranty, guarantee, or provide in any way, responsibility for a photographer's business practice or products produced.


Items Received upon Successful Completion of Accreditation

  • Applicant receives a Letter of Congratulations

  • Applicant receives 8 x 10 certificate of SKPA Accreditation, suitable for framing.

  • Applicant receives copies of judging forms that contain critiques by the judges.

  • Applicant receives a digital file of the SKPA logo with "Accredited Photographer" which must be used appropriately.
    See Responsibilities of Applicant (above).

  • Applicant receives a digital file of a sample press release announcing achievement of accreditation.


If 75% of Images do not pass

  • If applicant is advised by the review committee that only three of their photos passed review, he/she may submit new photos as replacements. The new images must each receive a score of 3 or more by the judges. Each re-submission must be accompanied by $10 (payment option available on our store page).

Failure to pass photographic review

  • If an image (or images) do not pass, don't give up. Increase your photographic skills and resubmit.

  • Applicant will receive copies of judging forms that contain critiques by the four judges and tests will also be returned.

  • Applicant may resubmit images for approval. If applicant is turned down three times, the applicant must
    submit proof of a professional photographer training course with new application submission. 

  • Applicant must realize attending the training session without successful completion of the accreditation process does not afford any rights for the photographer to use the SKPA logo.

Examples of images accredited by Special Kids Photography of America:

Cindy Strickland, Tallahassee FL

Poppy Clark Photography

Brothers with autism - K. Dórame, St. George, UT

Twins with autism - K. Dórame, St. George, UT

Lynne Becker, Williamsport PA

Jennifer Collins, Atlanta GA

Sally Harding, Elisabethtown, KY

Brian McClelland, Los Angeles, CA

Kerri Kirshner, Bothell, WA

Laura Popiel, Houston, TX

Teressa Wright, Visalia, CA

Ana Brandt, Tustin, CA


Acceptable and Unacceptable Images


(Poor crop and exposure)

Acceptable (Cocoran)

 Acceptable - "snapshot" quality

 (This boy unable to stand or respond to direction)


NOT Acceptable
(Poor exposure positioning and pose)

Same boy, same shoot, different clothing


NOT Acceptable
Poor exposure, crop and gaze

Same session - Acceptable

NOT acceptable
(Remove foot in post-process)

Acceptable (Sally Harding)
Boy unable to respond to direction,
but was able to give attention

NOT Acceptable
(This is just a backyard snapshot)

Acceptable (Sally Harding)
Different location in yard 
Good seating & nice post-processing 


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