And then there were three. Well… six if you include their two pups and the kitty! It’s been a big year for the Hilt’s and I’ve loved being able to document their ride. You may recall their beautiful wedding (some peeks in the wedding section under “portfolio”) as well as their park maternity session.
Baby Matthew made his arrival a few weeks before we all expected, but was perfect as could be. This sweet little peanut was 5 days new when I got my hands on him, and slept throughout most of his session with just a quick nurse and diaper break in between. While I believe any time is a good time to photograph your children, it’s important to take newborn pictures as early as possible. I recommend before their 10th day in order to achieve those serene sleepy poses. After this time, babies begin to stretch out their little arms and legs, making them harder to mold into those squishy positions most parents want.
I’ll leave you with a peek into new baby yumminess below. Just click on the first image to start a slideshow.
Having a son myself, I always enjoy mother/son(s) sessions with older kids because I know that will be me one day. It’s like a small glimpse into a few years from now!
This family was so incredibly sweet and you could tell just how much love there was. Weather was gorgeous! Sunny but breezy. Just how I like it!
Take a peek at this session below. Click the first photo to open up a slideshow and see the full image.
In my last posted a spoke a little on why autism is a cause I care so deeply for. Three years ago Autism was something I had heard of and seen ribbons for however, that all changed when one of my sons best friends got diagnosed. They say your friends are the family you choose, and that’s exactly how I feel about Caleb and his family. Upon hearing his diagnosis I knew the first thing I needed to do was educate myself as much as possible. His mom was my biggest teacher -still is!- and would always share with me what he was doing in his therapies and school. The milestones, the ups, the downs, and how we could more effectively interact with him. She is a total warrior mom and her passion for her son is downright contagious. I found myself always wanting to know more.
So being that today is Autism Awareness Day, I wanted to share a couple of facts with you all:
The Dan Marino Foundation lists these common characteristics of individuals with autism:
While these statistics and characteristics give you a general idea of what autism is and looks like, they are just that. Statistics and characteristics. Autism does not define a person, it’s something they have, and if I’ve learned anything from interacting with these kids it’s that they are just like any other child. Sure there may be sensory issues, speech delays, or an occasional tantrum, but at the end of the day they’re kids. They want to have fun, they want to be loved, and they want their voices heard whether it’s verbally or through the help of a device like a PECS board or ipad. It’s up to us to spread knowledge and tolerance awareness. For example, you may see a 6 year old throwing a “tantrum” at the grocery store, when in reality they’re experiencing a sensory overload. Personally, I believe autism awareness includes adding a little bit of compassion to our everyday lives in general, because you never know what someone is truly going through. A little extra kindness in this world would do us all good!
I look forward to seeing greater advancements in autism research, and eventually a cure. As far as my photography goes, I promise to keep educating myself so I may continue to provide a fun and stress free option for families of special needs children, because portraits ARE possible!
As some of you may know, I’ve been working with special needs families for a few years now. I became more aware about Autism in particular a few years ago when one of my sons best buddies got diagnosed. Autism instantly became more than statistic, it was someone we loved. Throughout the years I began photographing not only his buddy Caleb, but other special needs families and kids. As a result I’ve fallen in LOVE with photographing these little cuties, and around 6 months ago I teamed up with The Autism Notebook Magazine as their official photographer. They are a resource magazine for families of children on spectrum in South Florida and Pittsburgh, filled with tons of great info. This opportunity has allowed me to learn more about working with children on spectrum, and I’ve met some amazing families with even greater stories.
This year A. Cotto Photography was at the Dan Marino Foundation WalkAbout Autism, at The Sunlife Stadium, to show our support for the community and Adrian’s buddy, Caleb. We were also proud to be a sponsor for The Baudhuin School’s PTO. The really cool thing about this walk in particular is that the money raised here, stays here! That means that all of those donations will benefit local autism service providers, as well as special needs programming at Miami-Dade and Broward County schools. As of today, March 11th, the walk has raised over $400,000!
Walk day was an absolutely GORGEOUS afternoon full of fun for all, and my family and I were proud to be able to walk side by side with our dear friends -and 24,000 other South Floridians! AMAZING!- I’m sharing a couple of photos I took that day for The Autism Notebook Magazine, and encourage you all to get involved in causes that touch your heart. Personally, working in the special needs community has fulfilled me in a way I couldn’t even begin to describe and I’m looking forward to continuing to meet some great kids and families along the way!