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!