It would be a vast understatement to say that Schuyler Smith, 19, loves Star Wars.
The energetic teen, is on the autism spectrum, has his own lightsaber, can identify any of the films with just one quote, and can tell you, in some detail, why Luke Skywalker is the best Jedi ever.
Getting the young space adventurer to pose or sit still for a photo, however, had long been a losing proposition. That is until Schuyler’s mom, Leslie Smith, took him to a photo shoot with Tammy Fraley, owner of Fraley Photography — a specialist in photographing kids with disabilities.
“It can be a nightmare experience for a special needs family to go to a photographer and be told they all have to do things a certain way or pose a certain way,” Leslie Smith said. “I’ve had friends go to Walmart for photos and tell me their child just screamed. Often families like ours just don’t get pictures because of that.”
Children on the autism spectrum and those with disabilities often have problems sitting still and posing alone or with family members. And it takes a significant amount of patience and skill to capture a genuine smile in a picturesque setting.
But Fraley has a secret: She’s had tons of practice with her own son, Justin, 25, who has Asperger’s syndrome.