Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wall Portraits of Children turn Nightmare into Bliss

I love what I do! Every day brings something new but the greatest satisfaction comes from bring joy to other people's lives. I just got a message from one of my favorite clients, Cristy, and thought I would share:

"These portraits have made all the difference for me.

"At the beginning of November, our house was flooded. All of our possessions that were salvageable were put into storage and we had to move into a hotel while all the flooring was replaced, the walls repaired and the entire house repainted. I love the holidays and being in a hotel during this time was really depressing.

"To make matters worse, the people doing the work did shoddy workmanship and we had to fight with them every step of the way. It was a nightmare!

"We spent Christmas Day in the hotel. We watched the kids open a few presents but Paul and I couldn’t muster the enthusiasm to open our own presents. Finally, Paul told me that someone had brought a surprise out to the house and we needed to go over there. I had no idea who or what it would be.

"When I walked in, my jaw dropped. I saw a brand new grouping of portraits of my children on the wall. Miriam had selected some of her favorite images from the sessions she had done of them over the last five years and had created a grouping and hung them on my wall for me.

"I can’t stop looking at them! They are the most beautiful portraits I have ever seen. Now I want to go home. We have arranged the furniture in the room to make the portraits look best and I made sure that my chair is where I get the best view. I spend hours looking at them. They are so beautiful! I want to have an open house just so I can show them off. I am sure every mother is going to be jealous!

"I don’t even know what to say. Nothing seems adequate. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Miriam!"

I feel very loved!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Family Portraits in the Studio

"We want a portrait that expresses who we really are." This came from Christy, a pretty and vibrant mother of three that I met with recently to talk about their upcoming family portrait session. She told me that they are passionate about athletics (basketball in particular) and try to instill in their children to always be improving, always doing their best. Like good coaches, Mom and Dad lead by example. They stay clear about what is most important in their lives and work hard to be the best they can be.

My challenge is to capture something more than just another attractive family portrait. Something that captures the essence of who they are without being artificial. Another factor is that it is December so we need to be thinking about studio options. I have an idea of them on a hillside with lots of sky but that will need to be another day.... another month.

I promised Christy that I would show her some ideas and I thought that the best way would be in a blog post so that I can share the planning process with other that are thinking about their next family portrait. The portrait at the top was a studio composite that I did for a family of very individualistic sports enthusiasts. Fun and definitely unique.

This portrait doesn't include mom but I like the simplicity and the way the boys are all little copies of Dad.

I like the white sweep because it is a blank canvas that you can do anything with. You will never guess which team this family roots for!

I included this one for the background. It works well for small groups (3 adults or 2 adults and 2-3 little ones posed close together.)

Here is our Tuscan Wall background.

Two more ideas with a family of five.

I never heard the joke but I was ready to record the aftermath!

I love the closeness of this group.

Closeness and relationship...

Finally, let's end with an outdoor portrait and dream of warmer days to come!

Hope this give you some ideas of the possiblities!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happenings at Haugens for the 2010 Holidays

I LOVE the Holidays! Turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, beautiful music, candles, cozy fire in the fireplace, presents, Christmas trees and lots of hubbub. I love it all!

To add to the craziness, we have some crazy sales going on at Haugen's... Gift Certificates are 25% off, Black Friday Door Busters, Holiday Card Special... make sure to read on to find out more!

Black Friday @ Haugen's!
Friday, November 26th

Yes, you read it right, we're doing a BLACK FRIDAY DOORBUSTER from 4 to 6 am on the day after Thanksgiving (yes, I mean the wee small hours of the morning when all the sane people will be sound asleep).

In fact, I plan to be one of those sane people at home in bed so don't come beating on the door of the studio at 4 am. Just log onto your computer (or your Iphone while waiting at Fred Myers to buy socks) and purchase our BLACK FRIDAY special. During those hours we are offering a certificate for a Signature Portrait Session PLUS $100 toward your portrait session for only $50!! Holy Moly! That's something like 78% off! You will have until February 28, 2011 to use the certificate.

Now for the catch... We only have TEN of these special certificates to sell. So set your alarm and email us! We'll contact you and let you know if you're one of the first ten to respond and to get your payment info.

Holiday Card Extravangaza

November 15 Through December 4
Our holiday cards are really beautiful. They are custom designed 5x7 folded cards that are pretty enough to be framed! If you haven't ordered them yet, don't fret, we have a really fast turn around and can even give you envelopes now so they can be addressed and ready to go when the cards are done.

Order our professionally photographed and custom designed cards and we will even do a portrait session just for your holiday cards between now and Dec. 4 for FREE!

Sip and Shop December 3 and 4

From 10-6 on Friday, Dec. 3 and 10-3 on Saturday, Dec. 4, Monmouth downtown will be alive with music, art and even Santa's Reingoats (not ReinDEER, ReinGOATS). We will have a special guest in the studio, Janet Rosaio, displaying and selling her handmade children's clothing made from antique pillow cases and handkerchiefs. One of her dresses is shown at the top of the page.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town
December 8 and 11

Come have your portraits taken with Santa at the studio! He'll be here December 8th and 11th.

~ 15 minute sessions ~
~ Multiple poses to chose from ~
~ View and order your portraits immediately following your session ~
~ Packages start at just $12.00 ~
~ Orders will be ready by December 20th ~

Call (503)838-5416 or email today to schedule your session!

Gift Certificates on Sale until December 15!

Back by popular demand, purchase GIFT CERTIFICATES for 25% off the face value. In other words, you will only pay $75 for a $100 gift certificate. These can be redeemed any time in the next year. Use it for family portraits, senior portraits, you name it. Use this for a Christmas gift for that special someone.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day- Honor, Duty, Pride

We all have our heroes. Some are famous, some are not. Abraham Lincoln is at the top of my list of famous heroes. This week I met a man who is never going to be famous but goes on my list of heroes because of his courage, his pride and his belief that no debt goes unpaid.

The story began a few weeks ago when I picked up the phone at the studio. The voice at the other end was craggy but vibrant. "Hello, my name is Wes, I am a Navy veteran."

"A few years back, I donated a model of a Corsair airplane to the Evergreen Air and Space Museum in McMinnville and I haven't been able to go to the museum in years to see it. I am crippled up and can't really get out and about anymore. I would like to pay you to go and take pictures of it so I can feel like I am right there looking at it."

“You called the right place,” I told him, “Neil and I love that museum and we would love an excuse to go and take photographs.” I never told him what our normal fee would be for travel time, photography time, processing the images and making prints. It was irrelevant. We had a chance to give back to one of our veterans and were happy to make his day.

Tuesday I delivered the prints and finally got a chance to meet Wes face to face in his home. His wife offered me a fresh scone and a cup of hot tea and I settled in to hear his story. His story moved me profoundly and I wanted you to hear it, too.
At age 17, Wes stood in the local post office looking dejected. He had been earning money to support his family, which included his mother and 4 siblings, for 7 years. He did odd jobs for neighbors, worked for a seed cleaner, sewed sacks at the end of a combine, worked in the woods and in a hop yard. His father had been in the Navy during World War I and had been partially paralyzed. He died when Wes was 10 and his mother had scraped by on a pension from the government and what money Wes could earn.

Ever since he could remember, Wes had wanted to be in the Navy, like his dad. He had worn his dad's old Navy caps until they had all worn out. Now at age 17, he wanted to join up but he needed his mother's signature and she wouldn't do it.

"Why not wait until you turned 18?" I asked, "Then you wouldn't have needed her permission."

"But the Korean War might have been over by then," he answered. He had no desire to be in the peace time Navy. He had been too young for World War II and the Korean War would be his chance, his only chance, to serve during war time.

"Why the long face?" asked the postal clerk. Wes explained about the problem with his mother. The postal clerk had a solution. "Why don't you join the Navy Reserve? You can tell your mother that it meets right down here at the airport and you get $90 a month, $45 for her and $45 for you."

Wes thought that sounded fine and the postal clerk helped him fill out the paperwork which he took home to his mother. She signed off on it and he took it back to the post office.

"Do you want to sign up for active duty?" asked the clerk.

"You bet," replied Wes.

He did actually go to two Reserve meetings before getting his train ticket to take him to San Diego for boot camp. His mother never quite forgave him.

After boot camp, he was assigned to the aircraft carrier, Princeton (CV37). One day one of the planes trying to land had a big problem. The procedure was to drop any bombs that you were carrying in the water before landing. One of the bombs got hung up and did not drop in the water as it was supposed to. Instead, it landed on the deck right by where Wes was standing. It made a hole in the wood planking and was slipping down to the lower decks. Wes grabbed it and held on for dear life. If it had hit the deck below and exploded it would have been all over for hundreds of men. The bomb was red with Wes’ blood. Splinters from the wood deck had made a mess of his face. His muscles screamed under the weight of the bomb. It was only minutes but felt like hours when the forklift finally got to him to pick up the bomb and they were able to disarm it. The captain later told him that he saved the lives of 400 men that day. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.

During the years at home as he watched his mother pinching pennies and buying groceries with their government pension, Wes felt gratitude but he also felt that he had a debt to repay. That day he said to himself, “Debt paid in full.”

When his two year tour of duty was over, so was the war and Wes went home with the satisfaction of believing that his debt for the assistance that he and his family had received had been repaid.

He sustained injuries during his act of heroism to his back and foot that continued to plague him but he did not want disability money. He would have been owing again and he couldn't have that.

This is why Wes goes on my list of heroes. It is his sense of honor and duty that I find admirable. He epitomizes the famous quote from JFK, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."

Thank you, Wes, and all our veterans this day when we pause to remember the sacrifices you made to preserve our freedom.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

New Things

“I like my job because it involves learning. I like being around smart people who are trying to figure out new things.”Bill Gates

I came across this quote from Bill Gates this morning. I totally agree with the sentiment. I have found that being a photographer is not just about creating visually pleasing images, it seems to be all about learning new things. New software, new equipment, new ways of marketing, new ideas. The amount of "new" stuff to absorb is breathtaking, sometimes scary, but never, ever boring!

Sometimes, I need to let the left side of my brain rest and let the right side play for a bit so I am working on new backgrounds and sets, both for the studio and for 8.5 acre portrait park. Here is one that I have been having fun with. I am calling it "Silver Tiles" but really need a catchier name, don't you think?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Newborn Babies, Life's tiny miracles

I got to meet baby Emma today. At 10 days old she is still settling in to this life on the outside. She misses Mommy's nice warm tummy but she loves music and Daddy's touch.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Maternity Portraits- a Corvallis - Monmouth connection

It Was a Glittery Day

I have been a member of the Corvallis Chamber for awhile and just love going to Greeters. Every week, a bunch of business owners meet at someone's business for coffee and networking. I enjoy the open, friendly atmosphere and have gotten to know some really nice people there.

Louise-Annette Burgess, a very dedicated Mary Kay rep, has been a very faithful attendee at these functions right up to her due date. Baby Emma decided to make her debut into this world on Sunday so I have a feeling we won't be seeing Louise-Annette as much at Greeters!

These images were done a week ago today. At last week's Greeters, Louise-Annette introduced me to Ananda Elyse Reeves who, in addition to teaching and Life Coaching, paints pregnant tummies! Photographer of expectant moms and painter of expectant moms is a natural fit, right? And gee, here was a very pregnant mama right before us. A painting/photography session was meant to be! Since Louise-Annette's baby, Emma, was due on the scene at any moment, we had to move quickly. That very afternoon, Ananda and Louise-Annette came into our studio in Monmouth and we did these awesome images.

When we were done, the studio was very glittery!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Planning a Family Portrait? Choosing the right clothing is key.

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to clothing for your portrait but planning does make a huge difference. The goal is to have an artful image on your wall. We want the clothing you are wearing to enhance the image, not distract from it. Usually, the goal is to keep the clothing simple so that the attention goes to the faces and the relationship between the people in the portrait, not the eye catching new outfit.

1. A color scheme is the number one thing to consider. Here are ideas:
• Put everyone in white shirts and jeans. It is easy and works really well at the beach or with light backgrounds.
• Swap out the white shirts for black shirts or sweaters. This looks great with a medium to darker background and it is true, black is slimming!
Dress everyone in one family of colors. For example, light to medium blues work well and are easy to find in most closets. Earth tones are another good choice.
Avoid really bright colors (i.e. bright red, neon orange, hot pink.) You want the attention going to the faces, not the clothing. There are exceptions, of course. It might be great to have a touch of red for an accent color sprinkled throughout the group, particularly if you are using it as an accent color in the room in which the portrait will hang.
• With large family groups, you might want to separate sub-family groups by color. For example, everyone wears dark slacks and each sub-family group wears a different colored sweater.

2. Solid colors are best. Muted patterns can work if they blend with other clothing but please, please, please avoid wide, bold stripes, bright plaids, or clothing with big logos on the front. Here is another exception, though. If the whole family just loves the Ducks or the Beavers and the portrait is going in the den with all your team memorabilia, then the team clothing is the perfect choice.
3. Casual clothing, such as slacks and sweaters, gives the photographer more options for a variety of poses. Suits and ties just don’t work well if you are sitting on the ground!

4. Long sleeves are usually preferable, because they create a flowing line. A short sleeve interrupts the flow with a horizontal line across the body. The guys can dress down their button up shirts by rolling the cuffs up.

5. To look slim: We are often asked about this. Wear dark colors with little or no contrast between top and bottom. Your eye is drawn to areas of contrast. If you wear a dark shirt with light pants, where is your eye going to go? Your eye will be drawn to where the two join: which would be your waist or hips. Not good!

6. Avoid photogrey glasses on outdoor portraits! Your optometrist may be able to loan you empty frames or show you how to temporarily remove your lenses. If that is not possible, we may ask you to take your glasses off for a few of the portraits. You would never want a portrait without your glasses on? We understand. We use the “no glasses” images for artwork purposes.

7. Shoes matter and the family portrait is not the time for little Joey to be showing off his cool, glow-in-the dark Nikes. The goal is for the shoes to blend in and disappear. The feet may not show on every image but they will likely show in some. If possible, have everyone wear brown or black shoes. We often go barefoot in the studio!

8. Think about the room in which the portrait will hang. You will want this image or wall grouping to enhance your décor so pick colors that will work in your home.

9. Should the dog be in the portrait? I am happy to photograph dogs, particularly when they are an important part of the family. If you are worried about them being uncooperative, we might want to do a few with the dogs and then plan a comfortable place for them to be while we do portraits without them.

10. If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t NOBODY happy. One last word of advice, the mom in the portrait needs to feel good about how she looks in the portrait. She should put on the outfit she is planning to wear and make sure it makes her feel good when she looks in the mirror. The men and the kids are not allowed to complain about the clothes Mama picks out for them. Why? Just tell them I said so.

Questions? I am sure you have them. I can help you with any dilemmas that you come up against so be sure to call or send me an email and we can chat about the clothing.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Family Portraits at the Beach- A Perfect Day at Neskowin!

The Oregon Coast doesn't often get this sunny and warm so we were reveling on Saturday! My favorite time is September. There is less chance of rain, fog and wind than at any other time of year.

I got a chance to meet the whole Naughton clan and play with Dashiell and Clara. Doesn't get much better than this!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wedding Photography in Portland a blast!

Alison and Brian
Click on the link above to see the slide show.Alison and Brian were so much fun to photograph!

Alison and Brian

Wedding video

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thoughts on Clothing for Family Portraits

1. A color scheme is the first priority with group portraiture. There is not one color scheme that is the best and only possibility. Take a look at the room in which the main portrait will hang and select colors that will harmonize with that room. You don't want a portrait over the mantle that clashes with the room! Here are some ideas.
• Dress everyone in one family of colors. For example, light to medium blues (like denim) work well with many decors, compliment any skin tone, and are easy to find in most closets. White or pastels can be wonderful, particularly at the beach or with a lighter background.
• If you are challenged getting everyone to agree on one family of colors, try for muted tones, like blues, grays, and browns.
• With large family groups, consider separating sub-family groups by color. This works best if clothing styles match closely. (For example, everyone wears blue jeans and each sub-family group wears a different colored shirt or sweater.)
2. Solid colors are best. They help draw attention to faces, not clothing. Muted patterns can work if they blend with other clothing. However, please try to avoid bright red and fluorescent colors.
3. Casual clothing, such as slacks and sweaters, provides opportunity for a variety of poses. I often ask families with children and young adults to sit on the ground or floor so be thinking about that before you consider a short skirt. You see a lot of blue jeans in the samples because that resonates with much of my clientele here in the laid back Pacific Northwest. That does not mean that jeans are the only or best choice.
4. Three quarter length or longer sleeves are preferable, because they create a flowing line. A short sleeve interrupts the flow with a horizontal line across the body.
5. Dark colors are slimming! It is true. If you want to look your skinniest, wear dark colors, like black or navy, with little or no contrast between top and bottom.
6. Avoid glasses on outdoor portraits, particularly photogrey! Your optometrist may be able to loan you empty frames or show you how to temporarily remove your lenses.
7. Make sure that the adult women in the group are wearing clothes that they feel good about how they look. If you choose an outfit because it harmonizes with the group but is unflattering, you will never be happy with the portrait. This ONLY applies to the moms in the group. The men and children may complain if they don't like what you choose for them but they will get over it. A woman will never be happy with the portrait if she thinks it is unflattering. I can say this because I AM a woman and know exactly what it feels like!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

So you want a Haugen's portrait... how much is it going to cost?

I just got a Facebook message asking about family portraits from a friend who has never been to our studio before. "WooHoo! That is so cool," I am thinking, but once again I need to explain the different options. Then it occurred to me that there are probably other people out there that are curious about how it all works but are afraid to ask.

"How much is it going to cost?" is naturally one of the first questions. The real answer is that everyone is different, makes different choices about what they want, and therefore invests widely varying amounts of money. That answer is not very helpful, however, so here is some info that will tell you what is involved and help you make some decisions.

There are two directions you can go.

The first and most popular option is called our Signature series which includes a portrait planning consultation, custom portrait session with lots of choices, and beautifully finished, fully retouched prints. The session itself can be in the studio, outside, in your home or even at the beach. In a typical Signature portrait session, we create a large number of images for you to choose from (usually 40 or more) to make sure that you have images that you love! Most people will choose a number of images: a print for the wall, some smaller prints for gift giving, and then a grouping of some of their favorite images from the session. There are no packages with the Signature series but if you have it in your budget to spend $500 you will be able to get one larger print and several smaller prints.

We added the Galleri Series as an affordable option for our clients who wanted to have portraits done more often but didn't always need a full Signature session. It includes a 15 minute session in the studio where we take 8-10 images to choose from and you sit down to make selections right after the session. There are a number of packages to choose from starting at just $29.95 for 1-4x5. The most popular package is $149.95 and includes 1-8x10, 2-5x7's, 4-4x5'5 and 16 wallets all of one pose. Retouching is an extra charge with the Galleri series.

There it is in a nutshell. Keep in mind that we have fun specials from time to time (like Portraits with Santa)and the prices can get ridiculously low. If you have more questions (and I know you do) shoot me an email:


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Follow Your Passions

Sometimes I feel so ordinary. I really love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, making turkey pot pie for my family, building a fire in the wood stove on a cold winter day, and even doing laundry. Sometimes, I think I could be quite content filling my days with the simple pleasures of these everyday things.

But...would I be truly happy?

I do have an inner drive that pushes me to do more. To be more.

It is a push for Excellence with a capital Ex.

I have always pushed myself to give the best that I have to each client, to enter print competition, to stretch beyond what I know and am comfortable with. And now, to teach and help others to stretch and learn, to see the world more clearly as they follow their photography passion through MyPhotoMentor.

Now I will be teaching live classes in addition to online. They will be great because they MUST be.

2010, here I come!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Decide to Love It

This story was in my email in box this morning. You might think it touching or you might find it sappy but there is a basic, important truth in it that bears repeating. Here goes:

A 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud man, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o'clock, with his hair fashionably combed and shaved perfectly, even though he is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today.
His wife of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary. After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, he smiled sweetly when told his room was ready.
As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of his tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on his window. I love it,' he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.
“Mr. Jones, you haven't seen the room; just wait.”
“That doesn't have anything to do with it,” he replied.
“Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn't depend on how the furniture is arranged ... it's how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. It's a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do.”
Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw from what you've put in.

Remember the five simple rules to be happy:
1. Free your heart from hatred.
2. Free your mind from worries.
3. Live simply.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less.

End of story. Now for my postscript:
There are people that I know that are always happy no matter what happens to them, they take joy in life. There are others that can't open their mouths without telling you everything that is wrong with their life. I suspect genetics and chemical imbalances play a part in this but also how we decide to live our daily lives.

I decide to love it.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Haugen's 2010 Children's Contest

The entry fee for the contest is $35 and goes in it's entirety to benefit children in the Mid-Willamette Valley. We support Operation Backpack sponsored by the Willamette Valley Auxilliary of the Assistance League 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.

How does the contest work?
1. Schedule your portrait session before March 31
by calling the studio or emailing us today - (503)838-5416 or

2. 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. Click here to see background choices.

3. 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.

4. 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.

here to view our special event pricing.

5. Voting. After you have decided on your entry, we will post the image online. We will send you an email with the link and then it is time to VOTE, VOTE, VOTE! The public will have chance to vote for their favorite images by making donations to Operation Backpack. You will also have an envelope so that you can solicit donations and pass that link on to all your friends, of course. The portrait that raises the most will win the contest and a 24" Wall Portrait valued at over $700! Second prize is an 11x14 portrait. It is all good fun and stuffing the ballot box is encouraged. :-) Voting will end on April 10th, with the winner announced at the end of April.

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.

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 is only available at that time.

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 Operation Backpack. We will not be posting names or any other personal information.

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