Photography Created for Those with Autism

by: Tera Girardin on

The "Faces of Autism" book has been out since April and it's been so well received. One of the comments I hear is "Will you do another book? And how can my child be a part of it?"  My answer to the first question is, "I don't know! This book is so new I'm still trying to see straight!" But the second question got me pondering. 

My purpose in life is to reveal beauty. And I happen to be lucky enough to really "get" children, especially those with special needs. So I love love love being able to reveal their beauty through my camera lens. 

To be photographed goes beyond the images created. It's an experience of being seen, heard, and validated. Oftentimes that is something a person with autism doesn't often experience. I want to change that! I want every child with autism to feel that way. To feel like a superstar of their own photo shoot! 

Thus the Faces of Autism Portrait Experience is born. This is a way to have the same experience the children in the book had. A portrait session where the child is the star. And it includes some awesome tangible products to treasure and share including a 12x12 framed print that has your child's photo, the "one word" to describe your child and my heartfelt narrative of who your child is and why I admire them. 

This is what one mom wrote after receiving her portrait package:  

"You are an amazingly gifted photographer. Besides your superior technical skills, your people skills truly set you apart. Your kind, gentle energy helped us relax and enjoy ourselves, and you caught some candid, special moments. We are also so grateful for your respectful and genuine connection with Amanda."

So my answer to that original question is I'm not working on another book at this time, but you can have that same experience for your child right now!  Learn more about the Faces of Autism Portrait Experience and book your session. 

- Tera

Be Unique. Be Amazing. Be You.

by: Tera Girardin on

LIMITED EDITION T-shirt supporting the Faces of Autism book. This fundraiser not only spreads a positive message about being yourself, but the proceeds help publish this amazing book featuring children with autism. Order yours today!



To follow along with the making of the book find us on Facebook!

Getting Real! Faces of Autism

by: Tera Girardin on

Faces of Autism Update

Things just got really real for the Faces of Autism, Stories of Hope book! It's getting closer to being birthed. 

And like all births, there is an incubation period. It's not a quick process but things are progressing along. First of all, I've met and will be signing a contract with a local publishing company, Wise Ink. They help purpose-driven authors launch their books -- this is a hybrid method between traditional publishing and self-publishing. It's going to be a good option for me as I'll get assistance with the planning, marketing, design, editing, and launching of my book. But that also means some serious dollars. It'll be well worth it as I want to do it right but it's been a bit daunting if I'm honest.

Which brings me to Highlight It Up Blue for Autism Awareness -- some of you are aware of this autism awareness event I've held at my photography studio the last 5 years. For a small donation, people get blue hair extensions and a Facebook photo to show their support for the autism community. It's a great event and we've been fortunate enough to contribute funds to local organizations that help our autism community. 

This year, the other two organizers surprised me by insisting the money raised go towards the funding of my Faces of Autism book. I was delightfully surprised and honored. And extremely grateful because it will give me the seed money to hire Wise Ink and begin the process. Yay!

I want to be transparent with this whole process with you so you can share in the excitement. I want to share the VERY rough timeline for the project is looking something like this. Don't hold me to this! But the plan is to launch the book in one year. Whoo-hoo!!

April -- complete work on all images and hire Wise Ink
Spring - Fall -- content, copy, flow, beginning design work, editing
Late Fall / Holiday -- pre-order and crowd-funding campaign launched

February -- book is finalized and off to print
April 2, 2017 -- World Autism Day and Book Launch Party!

You all have been such a big part of this project and I feel it's been less my project more that I'm a conduit to making this book happen. There are ways you can help and I will be needing help to make this all happen. Share the page, share the journey, share these amazing children!

Thank you for being a part of this journey!
Love - Tera
Tera Photography

Happy Holidays

by: Tera Girardin on

I am so glad to be wrapped up for the season and looking forward to a little down time and a light schedule in the next two weeks. Before I hit the ground running for 2016! I have classes planned (including a Basics of Photography for those getting new cameras from Santa), lots of headshot sessions booked, a big winter sale, more Faces of Autism sessions to schedule, and possibly an e-course online incorporating gratitude and photography (what?! I know!). 

I am so very grateful to all my Tera Photography clients and fans. Thank you for making 2015 an amazing year! And may your holidays be filled with peace, joy and love!

- Tera

Fall Family Sale

by: Tera Girardin on

Fall is the best time of the year for family portraits. The crisp sunny days and beautiful colors of fall makes for classic portraits. Be sure to book your date early and take advantage of the best deal I run all year... 50% off your Custom Session fee if you reserve a fall date by Labor Day. 

Custom Sessions only. Available dates (these will book quickly!)

Sept 12, 13, 25, 26, 27
Oct 10, 11, 15, 16, 17, 18, 30, 31
Nov 1, 7

Evolution of a Brand - 10 Years Old

by: Tera Girardin on

I have a pretty big milestone to announce... Tera Photography was officially born 10 years ago this month! TEN YEARS! That's the longest I've worked anywhere! :) LOL Obviously I like my job. 

It's been quite the evolution too. Much like the subjects of my photos, it has grown from a newborn baby business into something a little more grown up each day. I thought it would be fun to take a look back on my journey.

I started very innocently. I got a Canon Digital Rebel for Christmas and decided I'd best learn to use all the buttons. So I took a class. I was hooked. This was the first photo I ever took that I submitted for critique. It's my oldest son Drew when he was 5. Isn't he adorable? I had cute subjects to practice on. I was excited because I used my new 50mm 1.8 lens. It actually won the class contest that time. (Hmmm, maybe I have an eye for this...)

I loved loved loved photography and especially photographing children. I had photographed a couple of friend's children and they loved what I had done so I thought "Maybe I could make this into a business..." I researched and decided to give it a go. I started with a portfolio building period. Oddly enough, I did this while I was pregnant with my third child. NOT an ideal time to launch. But it worked ok, because I tested the waters and then put myself on "maternity leave."  

It was a good idea because I was SWAMPED with requests. (Side note, what was I thinking with that name?! Wow it's a little embarrassing to look at my early stuff!) And guess what? Much of what I still do is on-locaiton sessions. Both kids in my sample above are my own. In fact they were often early subjects for me. I love this one of my older two and they STILL act this way. I have this photo in canvas hanging on my wall. It's a treasure.

Baby Alex came along and I got lots of practice in on him. This photo actually got some recognition from a large online community back in the day. When that email arrived, I was really stoked! Feedback and recognition from peers! I CAN do this! Time to make it real.

Putting myself on maternity leave was a great time to retool and rethink how to make this a viable, professional, business. I needed a brand, I needed a pricing structure, I needed policies and a framework of how to operate. Not to mention setting up as a legal operating business. I took baby steps each day. Thus my business was born in April 2005.

Yes, that is my youngest son on the cover. He saw that recently and told me he doesn't remember being and angel. :) As I pulled these old marketing materials out, something struck me... much of what I was doing then, I'm still doing and valuing now. My focus has always been children and that is still my first love. I still use natural light. I still strive to capture a child's true spirit. 
I didn't mention that this early stages of my business was while our family was living in Little Rock, Arkansas. We moved a year after I started up. Which could have been disheartening but I actually took as an opportunity to rebrand and retool and learn from a year's worth of business. So when we landed in Minnesota, I created a new look.

I loved this blue and brown combo and I had this for several years. It was a great way to carry my branding throughout my marketing and packaging materials. It was becoming recognizable. And I grew my business and expanded in many ways.

I learned a lot! And in 2011 I experienced a big life change that made it clear it was time to make a business change as well. I became divorced and changed my last name. Couldn't really continue on with Tera Windfeldt Photography any more and frankly that was always a bit clunky and long for a business name. I dropped the last name entirely and went with what my business is called today:  Tera Photography. 
This seemed like a good time to have my brand evolve as well. Even though I loved the brown and blue and the script font, it wasn't really reflective of the style of photography I was shooting. My style had evolved. I wanted something that reflected my brand that is whimsical, authentic, clean, fresh, fun, editorial, storytelling, memorable, timeless. I wanted to keep the blue but needed to ad a bit of pop to catch your eye. And so...

My logo as you see it now. And I love it. It's everything I wanted it to be and I feel it represents my entire business so well. Bright and fresh and fun. It works so well for me. 

And that's where I am today! Still photographing children, on-location in a fresh authentic way. I simply cannot believe it's been 10 years. I'm so grateful to all the families that have been a part of my journey. It's a amazing to me how many children I've photographed and to be able to watch them grow up through my lens is an honor. 


Basics of Photography Class

by: Tera Girardin on

So you have a great camera but all the buttons and functions seem intimidating. And maybe even with this expensive piece of equipment, you still aren't quite getting the shots you want. Let's change that! Come hang out with me at the studio and I'll teach you the basics of exposure and how to make that camera work for you! We will go over the 3 things that go into making a good exposure (aperture, shutter speed and ISO). We'll talk about composition a little, we'll talk about what types of shots are frustrating you, we'll actually take photos and we'll turn that little dial off of AUTO (gasp!). Yes, that's right, we'll learn how to use your camera in manual mode. You can do it! I promise not to talk over your head or get too technical. This is me guiding you to get comfortable with your camera. We'll use some still life to practice on and then we will have a model come in so you can practice on a real live person. (Speaking of which I'm looking for a volunteer -- ideally a child between 5-12 - to hang out with us for about an hour). Who should attend? You should have a DSLR camera and a lens or two. This is a very basic class so if you've never taken the lens off or turned the dial off of auto, this is the class for you. More advanced users I welcome too, but understand my goal is to get everyone shooting on manual by the end of class. The studio is a fun place to practice so come on in! Bring your camera, any lenses, the manual and a notebook. What's included? The three hour class will be very hands on from the start. It includes a copy of the book "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson so you aren't lost after the class. As mentioned we'll be practicing our new skills with a model. And there will be light snacks and refreshments. The class size is limited to 10 people (minimum of 3 people to hold the class). The class is only $75 which is a great value. Previous students have commented they have gotten so much out of the hands on shooting part of the class. It clicks! I've been photographing children and their families for almost 10 years. I mainly use natural light and I always shoot on manual. I am not the kind of photographer that gets caught up in the technical aspects but more so focuses on the subject and the connection. I know what I like and I know how to achieve the results I want. I can teach you how too! Sign up by filling in the form below "I'm in!" And bring a friend - life is always more fun with a friend. :) See you soon!

Sign up by emailing Tera and reserve your spot! Only 10 students max. 

What are you doing July 11? REVEAL Party!

by: Tera Girardin on

With a quiet house (my kids are on vacation), I've been madly working on the launch of a new product. I'm having so much fun working on this photos and materials! What exactly am I working on you ask? Let me tell you... BeTween Friends - a portrait experience just for teens (and tweens)!  And I'd love it if you'd come to my open house on Friday, July 11. I'm having a Reveal Party for all the kids who were my recent models. They haven't seen their images yet and I'll be showcasing the promotional video slideshow that night. Show up, hang out and see what it's all about! There will be cupcakes and door prizes and savings on sessions that night only. I'd love to chat with you. Open House style from 6-8 p.m.  190 River Ridge Circle Ste 306 | Burnsville, MN   Open House invite Take a look at some of the behind the scenes shot by my own son and assistant for the night. He even grabbed a selfie (ok more than one selfie! but I deleted most of them!). If you can't make it on July 11, watch for more details or message me and I'll make sure you get the scoop on this fun new experience. Your kids will love it! [contact-form subject='Between Friends Info Please!'][contact-field label='Name' type='name' required='1'/][contact-field label='Email' type='email' required='1'/][contact-field label='Comment' type='textarea' required='1'/][/contact-form]

NEW! Introducing Snack Pack Sessions!

by: Tera Girardin on

I got to thinking...what if a client wants just a little taste of Tera Photography? Not the full meal deal with all the bells and whistles of a full custom session (like clothing consult, slideshow, ordering help, private shopping cart, outfit changes, different sets, lots of images to choose from, etc). So I am pleased to introduce SNACK PACK sessions! An alternative to a full custom session offering just a taste of the full experience. Short sessions, no frills and no decisions and digital images only. SNACK PACK SESSIONS postcard frontSNACK PACK SESSIONS postcard back Keep in mind this session includes only digital images and you won't see any proofs (yay! no decisions!). You'll receive all your images (one dozen of my favorites) on a flash drive that will be mailed to you 2 weeks after your session. Each image will be fully touched up, high-res files (5x7 300 dpi) in color and black and white. Suitable for printing up to 11x14 size (not recommended higher than that). PERFECT for the client that wants a quick session to update their kids photos, for little milestones like missing front teeth or braces off, for the yearly holiday card, or something fun like playing at the park. At only $495 this is a great deal -- it would be double this if you went with a custom session and only ordered a dozen digital images. So this is an AMAZING deal! Half of the session fee is due at the time of booking to reserve your date and the other half is due the day of the session. Sales tax will be added. Contact Tera to get on the calendar! [contact-form][contact-field label='Name' type='name' required='1'/][contact-field label='Email' type='email' required='1'/][contact-field label='Give me some details - who? where? when?' type='textarea' required='1'/][/contact-form]

Complimentary Autism Friendly Portrait Sessions in April

by: Tera Girardin on

I know how hard it can be to take a child with sensory challenges to do anything as a family - restaurant, hair cut, grocery store. And forget about a trip to a photography studio for a family portrait session! Who knows what you'll get and why waste the dollars on something so iffy. That is why for the month of April (2014), I'm offering complimentary portrait sessions for families affected by autism. No risk. If your child has an off day, no big deal. The session fee is complimentary but doesn't include any products. Please review the product guide before applying. Because I know you'll love your images and you'll want to purchase a few  (or all of them!). Why chose Tera Photography for your family portraits? Because I understand autism and I love children - all children. And I want you to have beautiful portraits of your family. Without stress. Sessions will take place at my natural light studio and is subject to limited availability. You'll need to contact me to schedule an appointment. I can't guarantee I will have time to do everyone that applies but I'll do my best! [contact-form][contact-field label='Name' type='name' required='1'/][contact-field label='Email' type='email' required='1'/][contact-field label='Comment' type='textarea' required='1'/][/contact-form]