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I started working as a production assistant in the video and media business in 1995. I loved the video industry so much that I went to school for 3d animation and became a producer at a video game company making slick product videos using compositing and 3d animation.
I got burnt out working too many hours and sleeping at the office, so I left the industry and decided to give back and went to work as a program counselor for special needs children for nine years. I developed a system that helped teachers document and compile children's behavior for their IEPs by utilizing video editing.

I realized I missed being creative, so I asked the principal of the school if I could try being the school photographer and 10 years later here I am.

One of the critical challenges of special needs school photography is keeping the children's attention. These children may have physical, emotional, or learning disabilities that make it challenging to sit still or smile for the camera. I've developed many skills working with special needs children, but patience was the most significant skill I developed when taking pictures of these students. The key is to work closely with the child's teachers and sometimes parents to ensure that the photo session is a positive experience for everyone involved.

I photograph students at conventional public schools, but the special needs schools are very dear to my heart because some parents have never had a photo of their child looking directly into the lens of the camera, and yes, I can do that. I try to make instructions enjoyable rather than intimidating or difficult because I know how difficult it can be to listen to and comprehend them having been diagnosed with dyslexia in my early teens.

I look forward to capturing what matters most to you because this is what matters most to me.

Jason Janes

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