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She specializes in photographing autistic kids
Nicole Byington - photo by Photo Contributed

Henry is an autistic and energetic child.

Photographing the youngster can be rather difficult, so says his mother Tracy.

She was referred to Nicole Byington Photography based in Manteca and was thrilled with the result.

“Nicole made my son feel very comfortable,” Tracy said. “The whole shoot was very fun for him.

“She brought stickers for him and even included his sisters and me in some of the shots.”

Working with special needs children is Byington’s specialty. She was recently accredited as Special Kids Photography of America, making her among the hundreds nationwide – yet one of the very few in California – trained in the unique understanding of working with children with various disabilities.

“For me, it’s important to make a personal connection (with the child),” said Byington on Thursday. “One way of doing that is for me to be a kid.”

She grew up in the Bay Area – notably, Los Gatos and San Jose – and played a variety of sports such as gymnastics, basketball, volleyball, swimming and Soccer.

“As I got older, I fell upon a new passion and was given new opportunities in my life,” said Byington on photography.

She credits her mother, a special needs teacher, for her interest and patience in working with disabled youngsters.

Byington graduated from Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara with a bachelor’s in photography last December. She moved to Manteca soon after to establish her business.

Byington further embraced her new surroundings by volunteering her time to coach basketball and baseball in the Manteca Parks and Recreation’s Challenger League. “We have children with a wide range of disabilities,” she said of the rec. program.

Her training for SKPA consisted of taking two separate tests and submitting four photos of children with disabilities, receiving her accreditation some four weeks later.

SKPA was made possible by the frustration of a young mother in Pennsylvania. She was humiliated and hurt at a photo studio during a portrait shooting of her year-old disabled son. From that, she was able to push for professional photographers to be trained and educated in becoming comfortable working with special needs children.

Most of her shots are done with her Canon EOS 5D Mach II camera.

“What I do does not require a lot of equipment,” said Byington. “I prefer shooting outside with natural light and using fun and interesting settings.

“My main thing is expressions – capturing that perfect moment.”

She also specializes in shooting portraits of family, couples, and newborns.

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To contact Vince Rembulat, email or call 209.249.3537.