Being Inclusive:

How to Photograph Someone with Autism

Tera Girardin had been a portrait photographer for a couple of years when her youngest son was diagnosed with autism at age three. Although that came with challenges, she was also inspired but the autism community and she felt compelled to photograph children with autism. Marrying her portrait expertise with her personal insight, she quickly learned how to craft a photography session for those who find a typical portrait session challenging. And eventually, she published the book, “Faces of Autism.”

With 1 out of every 68 children in the U.S. diagnosed with autism, it’s likely you have encountered someone with the diagnosis. Tera will share how she puts her clients with autism at ease. Including questions to ask before the session, making accommodations in your studio or on location, and how to interact with your subject (even if your subject is non-verbal). Many of the tips Tera will share are applicable to other special needs and varying abilities, and will even apply to your neurotypical clients. Become an inclusive photographer! 

Meet Tera

Tera Girardin has been a portrait photographer in the Twin Cities for 14 years. Her specialty is children and primarily uses natural light. After her own son was diagnosed with autism, she became a part of that community which led her to photograph and self-publishing the book, “Faces of Autism.” Her work and book have been featured on KARE11 “Land of 10,000 Stories,” WCCO Mid-Morning, PPA Professional Photographer Magazine, PASTE, and MN Parent Magazine.

Tera is currently a Fellow at the University of Minnesota as part of the MNLEND Program, which is an interdisciplinary leadership training program in neurodevelopmental and related disabilities. 

Tera is not only a photographer, author and U of M Fellow, but also a graphic designer & content creator for Fueled Collective in Minneapolis. She is mom to three teenage boys and volunteers with their swim teams and Boy Scouts. In her free time, she sleeps! 

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