Thursday, September 24, 2009

The ring bearer was a real dog!

Jessica and Dan got married on September 19 under a brilliant Autumn sun. God smiled on them and gave them a perfect afternoon after showers in the morning.

The ring bearer's name is Pudge and I am fairly certain that there has never been a more beloved ring bearer in any wedding anywhere! It was a bit of a challenge to get him down the aisle but, with the promise of a treat, he was willing to waddle down the aisle!

There were a few tears, well chosen words from Grandfather, and a smashed cake in the face to top it off.

Dan and Jessica's life is off to a great start!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Warm Autumn Day...Little Fishies in the Stream

I just photographed Abby to celebrate a milestone in her life: turning 10. It was a perfect day to be wading in a stream. Abby found that she could catch the tiny fish at Dallas City Park. Getting her to look at the camera was a challenge after awhile.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Defining Moments

Self-discovery, stretching, growing, learning new things. That has been what my life has been about for the last two years.

As part of a quest to redefine myself, I have been doing a lot of reading, some photography, some inspirational, some self improvement, some business. Last night I was reading "Good to Great" by Jim Collins. It is a business book about major corporations that made the jump from being good companies to great companies. Although I am certainly not part of a major corporation, I am finding lots of food for thought about leadership and change.

Living With Adversity

There is an amazing story in the book about Admiral Jim Stockdale, the highest-ranking US military officer in the "Hanoi Hilton" POW camp during Vietnam. Tortured over 20 times during the 8 years, Stockdale lived out the war without any prisoner's rights, no set release date,and no certainty as to whether he would even survive to see his family again. He shouldered the burden of command, doing everything he could to create conditions that would increase the number of prisoners who would survive unbroken, while fighting an internal war against his captors and their attempts to use the prisoners for propaganda. At one point, he beat himself with a stool and cut himself with a razor, deliberately disfiguring himself so that he could not be put on videotape as an example of a "well-treated prisoner." He instituted rules that would help people to deal with torture (after x minutes you can say certain things--that gave the men milestones to survive toward). He created a series of tap codes so the men could communicate during forced silence.

Stockdale was asked many years later, how he dealt with it when he was there and did not know the end of the story? He said, "I never lost faith in the end of the story. I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade."

Then he was asked, "Who didn't make it out?"

"Oh, that's easy," he said. "The optimists."

"The optimists. Oh, they were the ones who said, 'We're going to be out by Christmas.' And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they'd say, 'We're going to be out by Easter." And Easter would come and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart."

Then he said, "This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end--which you can never afford to lose--with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be."

What are your goals? What adversity are you facing? Have faith and, "Never give up, never surrender!" (Galaxy Quest)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Friday, July 3, 2009

Lizbeth and Bart

Lizbeth grew up in Monmouth/Independence and even went to school with Anna but we never had a chance to photograph her until she got engaged. Bart kept hearing about Haugens and he insisted that they needed to come in and talk to us about photographing the wedding. We are SO glad you did, Bart. It has been a joy getting to know the two of you.
Loved the Mariachi Band and the great food!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Jenna and Trevor

It was a perfect day. Clear sky, farm land stretching up to the foothills of the Cascades on the east and Marys Peak smiling down on us from the west. A perfect day that Jenna and Trevor had been planning for a year. The day they laughed, cried, danced and partied. The day they said, "Like it or not, you are stuck with me now!"

Jenna, you have an inner beauty that shines through you. Trevor, you are a true "class act". It has been awesome to get to know the two of you and I look forward to photographing your babies some day!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Looking Forward to Inglewood

Neil and I have been working in partnership with Club Services of America for the last 2 1/2 years, photographing the membership of Country Clubs. The owner of the company is Paul Gittings, a name that is legendary in the portrait photography world. His father was a pioneer in the area of dye transfer printing and Paul, Jr. was the youngest person to be awarded a Master of Photography by the Professional Photographers of America. When Paul called, asking if we would be interested in photographing Creekside Golf Club, we jumped at the chance to work with him.

In July and August, we will be traveling to Seattle to photograph the membership of the Inglewood Golf Club. With a beautiful club house and one of the oldest golf courses in the Pacific Northwest, we are really looking forward to this. It is a chance to meet new and interesting people!

Here are a few sample portraits from other clubs we have photographed.

It Pays to Get up Early

June 14-16 was the annual Professional Photographers of Oregon Summer conference in Bend. It was a great time for learning and sharing with other photographers!

My passion is centered around photographing people, so I rarely photograph landscapes. This time I had an opportunity that I couldn't pass up. Friend and colleague, Adrian Kline, led a sunrise expedition to photograph Mt. Bachelor at Sparks Lake. It meant getting up at 3:30 in order to get to the lake by 5:00 am but it was totally worth it!

The predawn mist rising over the lake was just magical and turning the camera in the direction of a bunch of photography geeks was an opportunity not to be missed. :-)
Here is a word to the wise: 1) If you plan to get up at 3:30 am, it is best to get to bed before 1:30 am. 2) When hiking befoe dawn in the high Cascades in June, dress warm! I forgot to put in my hiking boots and only had sandals. After the first 10 miutes, my feet lost all feeling and I was fine.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The moment you've all been waiting for...

The winner of Haugen's 2009 Children's Contest is....


Congratulations to Lindzee and her mom, Kristina. They will be receiving a 24-inch wall portrait for their home!

Now, we weren't planning on having a prize for second place, but we just couldn't help ourselves! This next little guys got way too many votes to ignore. So,

Our second place winner is...


Austin's and his mom, Jill, will be receiving an 11x14 portrait!

Thank you to everyone who participated in this years contest!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Stay tuned...

We will be announcing the winner of the Children's Contest TOMORROW!!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Vote for Haugen's

We know a lot of you are busy voting for the Children's Contest right now, but can you spare a minute to vote for us? Statesman is is inviting it's readers to vote for their favorite businesses in Marion and Polk counties. Just click here to vote for Haugen's! Thank you so much for your support!

Adell - Children's Contest

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Grady - Children's Contest

Grant - Children's Contest

Lindzee - Children's Contest

Ty - Children's Contest

It's time to VOTE!!

We're starting to post images from the Children's Contest today! Check back often and leave comments for your favorite portrait. Each unique comment counts as a vote. The portrait with the most votes wins!! We will announce the winner in April.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Background Choices and Clothing Tips for the Children's Contest

General Clothing Tips

1. Stick with solid colors as much as possible.
2. If there is more than one child, pick a color scheme, i.e. everyone in blue and white.
3. Avoid contrast in the clothing like black and white because it pulls attention from the faces. It is better to go all light or all dark.
4. Classic, timeless styles and vintage looks are great.
5. Bare feet are usually preferred.
6. There is nothing more classic and timeless than a naked baby. If they are under the age of 7 months, naked or just a diaper with a nice diaper cover is usually my first choice. We continue to suggest just a diaper cover for some of the portraits up to the age of two. If you are going to be holding the baby in some of the images, bring a change of clothes for yourself in case you get soaked!
What about props?
If you don’t feel imaginative, don’t worry because simple pictures are often best…but sometimes the right prop can be wonderful. What do you look for?
1. Items that will help to tell a story. For our “Mary had a Little Lamb” photograph we brought in an antique desk, a chalkboard, a flag, a shepherd’s crook and a live lamb!
2. Items that have special meaning. We included an heirloom baptismal shawl from Norway in each of our children’s baptismal portraits.
3. Antique, vintage or rustic items can be very cool. Like an old wash bowl, milk can, antique fire extinguisher, wagon, baby buggy. Use your imagination!
Background Choices

The Beige and White Hall

Clothing suggestions: All white is my favorite for this setting but any pastel will work. Khaki shorts or pants are good choices, too.

The White Sweep- This is a classic.
Clothing suggestions: Absolutely anything goes here. If you have patterned clothes that you just love, this is the background to use.
Props: Any prop that your imagination can come up with works great with the white sweep. Toy cars, pets, wagons, rocking horses, special chairs, doll buggies, firefighting gear, you name it, we have done it!

The Blue Forest
Clothing suggestions: Classic clothing in dark, rich colors are very nice with this background. Burgundy is particularly good but blue, green or white work, too. Woodland fairy costuming is a possibility or even a “Huck Finn” feeling with rolled up jeans!

The Tuscan Wall
Clothing suggestions: Black turtlenecks and jeans work well with teens, adults and older children. Blues, browns, yellow and white are the colors of choice. Avoid red.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

My Photo Mentor is Up and Running!

We have been busy, busy, busy writing articles, making videos, posting galleries and building MyPhotoMentor into the best instructional website out there for amateur and aspiring photographers! Thank you in advance for checking it out, telling us what you think and sharing it with others.

Are you an amateur or aspiring photographer? Do you love picking up your camera? Do you look at some of your images and secretly think, “Hey, that’s pretty good!” Would you like to learn more, but:

1. You feel overwhelmed by the technical jargon in many magazines and articles;
2. You wonder if you’re creative enough;
3. You worry about the cost of pursuing your photography passion.

What if there was a place where you could gather with people just like you? What if you could learn without feeling anxious about the technical aspects? What if you could pursue your passion in an affordable and fun way?

Welcome to

What do we offer?
Articles, Forums, Galleries, Critiques, Webinars, One-on-One Mentoring, and most importantly, OURSELVES!

I am doing this in partnership with the two most amazing photographers I know, my husband, R.Neil and Cherie Renae. We are all passionate about photography and passionate about helping other photographers succeed. To find out more about the other two members of the team, go to: and

Be a Charter Member of My Photo Mentor! We will be looking for you!

Warm regards,
P.S. Have you seen the movie?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Haugen's 2009 Children's Contest!!

Our children's contest has a whole new look and you're going to LOVE it!
The entry fee for the contest is $35 and goes in it's entirety to benefit children in the Mid-Willamette Valley. We support the Boys and Girls Club of Corvallis and Operation Backpack which purchases school supplies for needy school children. You will receive a complimentary 5x7 portrait with your entry.

The sessions are 30 minutes with master photographer, Miriam Haugen, one of the Northwest's top children's photographers!

View a slideshow of entries from previous years.

Sign up and get the Top Five Secrets to Ensuring a Great Portait Session of Your Child absolutely free!

How does the contest work?
1. Schedule your portrait session before March 31
by calling the studio today - (503)838-5416 or 1-800-838-5416. This is when you pay the $35 entry fee.

2. We'll email you the Top Five Secrets to Ensuring a Great Portrait Session of Your Child.

3. Select a background and clothing to match. We don't have a set theme this year, but feel free to be as creative as you want with props and clothing.

4. Arrive at the studio a few minutes early for your session with clothing (and props?) in hand. Don't stress. You will have time to dress your children (or undress them) and fuss with their hair. Let us worry about everything else! Get directions from Corvallis or Salem.

5. Schedule a selection appointment for a week after the session. This is very important. Without this appointment, you will not be eligible for the contest. This is when you will select an image to be entered in the contest and the images you want for yourself.

Click here to view our special event pricing.

6. Voting. After you have decided on your entry, we will post the image here on our blog, along with some fun facts about your child (fav toy, food, activity). We will send you an email with the link and then it is time to VOTE, VOTE, VOTE! Each unique comment left about your entry is counted as a vote. So, get your friends to comment, get your family to comment, get everyone you know to comment!! The portrait with the most unique comments will win the contest and a 24" Wall Portrait valued at over $700! Voting will end on April 10th, with the winner announced shortly after.

FAQ's about the Children's Contest:

Can I have all of my children in one portrait? Absolutely. This is not an individual beauty contest (all children are beautiful, aren't they?) so the more the merrier. We can even include parents, grandparents or cousins. You decide what YOU would like to have.

Is there any advantage to having the portrait session done early in the month? Yes, the first people photographed will have more time to collect votes (post comments.)

What if my child doesn't smile? Many times, the most interesting and compelling images do not have a smile. The face may not even show. Be open to the possibilities.

What if I need to reschedule? We ask for a minimum of three days notice for rescheduling sessions or selection appointments so that time can be made available to other people. If your child wakes up sick on the day of the session, we will allow you to reschedule. Your selection appointment must take place within two weeks of the portrait session in order to be eligible for the contest and the special contest pricing.

I have no idea what props to bring. Are they important? No. Often simple pictures are best and we do have props here at the studio. Bringing your own props will make your portraits unique and more personal. The kinds of things that work best are antique or vintage items, items that help tell a story, or things that have special meaning to your family like something that has been passed down in the family.

I don't want my child's photograph on the internet. Is that required? No. You can still participate by having your child's photograph made and making the donation to the Boys and Girls Club or Operation Backpack. You will not be eligilble to win the wall portrait unless the photograph can go on our blog (no names will be used without your permission.)

If you have any questions, please call us at (503)838-5416 or email us!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Why I am a Photographer

Have you ever had an ache, an inner longing that just wouldn’t go away? Deep within me I have had a need to create for as long as I can remember.

Music was the first outlet for me. My mother dutifully took me to piano lessons as she had with my older siblings and I struggled with commanding my childish fingers to do as they were told. One day a corner was turned and I began to feel the music. I loved to play with LOTS of expression. My mother saw the rising interest and bought season tickets for the two of us to the local fine arts series of concerts and took me to the Shakespeare Festival. I never told her because I didn’t fully know it myself, but I didn’t want to just sit there and watch, I wanted to do it. I wanted to act, I wanted to sing. I wanted to dance. As I grew, I became frustrated that my hands and my voice couldn’t reproduce the art that was inside of me. I became an elementary music teacher. It was a practical choice.

As I was growing up, photography was a part of my life, as well, but it was nothing I took seriously. My father was an avid amateur photographer and one of our bathrooms doubled as a dark room. We washed prints in the laundry sink. For my 12th birthday, my father took me to a camera store and bought me my first “medium format” camera, a Yashica twin lens reflex that used 120 film. He taught me to develop BW film and make prints.

Then I met and married the love of my life, Neil. He was working toward the goal of being a high school English teacher but with access to cameras and a dark room a new passion was born within him. Two years later, teaching was set aside and our studio was born. Through his encouragement, I picked up a camera once again and discovered that this was the outlet for that inner longing that I had been searching for.

Why I am here:
There is something inexpressible within me, a need to say something that there are no words for. The view through my lens is my window to the world, the print on the wall is my notebook and each person that comes before my camera allows me to take a small peak at the miracle of life that God has given us.
I hope that some of what I leave behind causes people to notice, to feel more deeply what they already know to be true … to feel slightly more of whoever they are.

Master of Photography degree, PPA
Two time Oregon Portrait Photographer of the Year
Three Fuji Masterpiece Awards
Lecturer, consultant and mentor to professional photographers
Member of: Professional Photograpers of Oregon, Portland Metropolitan Photographers Association, Professional Photographers of America, National Association of Photoshop Professionals

Monday, January 19, 2009

Stay tuned...

We are excited to be launching a new and improved children's contest this year! Details to come in Febuary. You won't want to miss out!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Happy New Year 2009

2008 was a year of joy and sorrow in our family, of an ending and a new beginning.

Neil’s father, Bob, passed from this life in April at the age of 88. He was known by his friends and family as an avid bowler (he quit when he could no longer maintain a 190 average) and as a storyteller. He had so many wonderful stories of growing up near Minot, North Dakota; a year of living with an Aunt in Canada (after his mother died when he was 8), and getting beat up during recess by the Canadian school children for singing a revised version of “God Save the King”; traveling with his father, Nels, to Norway for several months when he was 9; pitching semi-pro baseball for money (during the Depression) at age 15; and antics with his friend, “Storley”, during WWII.

The end came peacefully at home, with his wife Alice and children (Jackie and Neil) by his side, holding his hand. He will be remembered by us as a very loving father and grandfather.

The joy came with Nels and Dannielle’s wedding Dec. 19 on Kauai. While the Pacific Northwest (and much of the continental US) was paralyzed by major snow and ice and power outages, we were wearing shorts and sandals and praying that it wouldn’t rain on the day of the wedding (it didn’t). Kauai was having some of the worst winter weather that it had seen. We got treated to a couple of days of torrential downpours. Did you know that the wettest spot on earth is the mountain peak on the center of Kauai?

The wedding was held at the Smith Tropical Gardens with a Luau following and it was beautiful! The gardens are family owned and operated. It seemed that everyone that worked there was related and the staff was awesome. They bent over backwards to make sure that everyone was taken care of. Nels’ Grandma Alice was having hip problems and they were right there to make sure that she was taken care of at all times, even to the point of the owner staying close on one of their stretch-limo golf carts just to drive her around. When we came up short a boutonnière for Nels, one of the staff ran and made one a half hour before the wedding.

Anna officiated at the wedding and did a wonderful job but she will never live down the fact that she forgot to tell Nels to kiss the bride. She was motioning them to leave and Miriam was waving her arms and hissing, “The kiss! The kiss!” Nels turned to walk down the aisle, but Miriam and Dannielle would have none of this! Dannielle was resisting being “ushered” out and Miriam was whispering “Kiss! Kiss!” Nels (after the quick start out) got the idea and planted a big one on Dannielle.

Our dear friend, Cherie, came as the photographer (no, we really can’t photograph and be part of the wedding, too). The photograph on the card is her handiwork. Her son, Nick, was Nels’ best man. Dannielle’s brother, John was the groomsman. Dannielle’s sister, Sarah and friend Stacey were the Maid of Honor and Bridesmaid. A classical guitarist was hired to play. Nick and Stacey sang a duet: “The Prayer” by Celine Dion, and Nick sang “The Lord’s Prayer”. It was beautiful. All told, 25 friends and family were there to celebrate.

Lars turned 10 this year with a Civil War themed party, and says that his 11th birthday should have a Revolutionary War theme. He is shooting up fast! Last measurement had him at 5’4”. What was Lars’ favorite part of Hawaii? He got to pick the restaurant that we went to one night. He looked at options in the guide book, taking into account price point, location and everyone’s tastes, talked to the concierge and came up with a very nice pasta place which 5 Haugens went to and enjoyed. Lars’ universe seems to center around food (and history)! He had fun playing in the sand and surf and even did a little snorkeling on the last day.

The most eventful part of the trip for us all came in trying to get home. We were scheduled to leave on Saturday, Dec. 20 but when we tried to do online check-in, we saw “flight cancelled” for the last leg of our journey. What?! We were aware of the bad weather back home but it didn’t occur to us that they would close the Portland Airport! After several phone calls to United Airlines, we were told that the only flight that could get us home before Christmas left Kauai at 10:30 pm on Dec. 22 and got in to Portland at 9:30 am on the 23rd. We got two and a half extra days in Hawaii and actually saw the sun shine! Nels and Dannielle were supposed to have an extra three days without the family hanging around for their honeymoon but no such luck. We were all right there next door to them!

When we got to Portland, we had to dig out the 3 foot pile of snow behind our van and chip off ½ inch of ice from the windows. Because the Oregon Department of Transportation had not seen fit to plow the freeway, we had to creep home on badly rutted ice and snow in bumper to bumper traffic. The trip from the airport to Salem normally takes an hour but on the 23rd it took us about 6 hours.

Within a week, we were headed up to Marysville, Washington, to help Nels and Dannielle move into their first home. Between Ma and Pa Ritacco and Haugen, we got the place scrubbed and all their stuff packed and moved in. They are both so thrilled to have a home together … and also, to have their own stuff “living” with them too! They are such a happy young couple!

Down home, we are facing a tremendous amount of cleanup on the property after the big December storm. Many trees are down and many that are still standing have large broken limbs swinging about high up in them. There are huge limbs and complete sections of trees lying all about on the grounds. Our little foot-bridge got crushed by TWO trees but our house was undamaged, thank goodness. We have firewood to spare!

Anna, fresh off her first wedding, is mid-way through her internship-year at First Evangelical Lutheran in Greensburg, PA. She is known as “Vicar Anna”. Check out her blog and you can even hear recordings of some of her sermons: In the Lutheran seminary system, the third year of the four year graduate program, she is working as an assistant-pastor-in-training in a parish. She’s having a wonderful time and looking forward to completing the last year of “Sem” next year and getting into her own parish. We don’t have a clue yet what Region and Synod of the country she’ll be assigned to. We do know that she spent probably her last summer at home this year.

It is very clear our older children are moving on with adult lives. Our youngest is growing fast in so many ways. And our business life is changing rapidly, but we’ll be able to say so much more next year.

What a year!
Neil and Miriam Haugen