Written by: Jamie Eilts, Spotlight Editor

We are so excited to roll out a brand new, exciting addition to our HubHack Blog/Community – the Hubhack Member Spotlight! Twice per month, we plan to showcase the work of YOU – our valued members! We’d like to think of this as a way to help you learn and grow as artists as well as a chance for us to promote any current courses or educational opportunities that you are taking on! But even if teaching isn’t your gig, we hope that you will enjoy learning about some of your fellow HubHackers and possibly find some new inspirational artists to meet and follow!


So, without further ado, we’d like to introduce our first HubHack Member
Spotlight – Melissa Haugen (pronounced How-gen with a hard G). You may know Melissa from her beautiful work on Instagram over at @missmelis1112, but we’re excited to share more about this talented artist.

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Melissa is a California girl, born and raised. She is happily married to her high school sweetheart and is raising three beautiful children in Northern California. She is happiest when she’s outdoors – specifically at the ocean! When Melissa isn’t busy being a wife, mom, nurse, or photographer, she loves to get outside and hike. She also exercises 4-5 days per week – primarily weightlifting and some running. She also enjoys cooking and experimenting with new recipes when time allows!

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Melissa has had a camera in her hands since she was a little girl, but she really got involved in photography in high school where she spent hours in her school’s dark room. She took a break from it for a bit, but when she got her first digital SLR camera in 2005, she was hooked once again. She shot off and on for years following that, and like many young moms, she really started to focus on photography more when her first child was born in 2010. Even though she was shooting consistently, she didn’t really start taking classes or honing her skills until 2015. Since that time, she’s been hooked and shoots almost daily.

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Melissa also has a breakout with ClickinMoms that is LIVE now! It runs until January 23rd. (A breakout is an online photography course that is taught in a forum-style environment, where student can interact with each other and gain valuable feedback from their instructor. Instructors are typically active in the forum threads to answer questions and provide a final Question & Answer video.)

Melissa is inspired creatively by her fond memories of childhood discovery, adventure, and the simple, carefree in-between moments. She strives to capture these moments in her work with her own children.

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She will also occasionally look to art for inspiration as well, with Norman Rockwell being a favorite. She loves how he really encapsulates all the things she loves about childhood in his paintings.

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As for artists we may know that inspire her, she has lots! Some that come to mind include Julia Crim (@julia_crim), Meg Loeks (@meg_nlo), Ardelle
Neubert (@ardelle_neubert), Laura Wood (@ourkiddo), Caroline Jensen
(@carolinej), and Elizabeth Blank (@elizabethblankphotography). In fact, two of her all-time favorite photography classes were Communicating with Color and Light with Caroline Jensen and The Mindful Approach with Ardelle Neubert.

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Melissa describes her photography style as a balance of lifestyle, environmental portraiture, and fine art (with some occasional documentary moments in there as well). She primarily shoots with natural light but enjoys experimenting with creative light sources as well. She loves how those light sources allow her the creative freedom to shoot anytime and anywhere!

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So, what is in Melissa’s camera bag? Her main camera body is a Nikon D850, but she also has a D610 as a backup body. The D610 serves as her underwater camera as well. Her favorite lenses are her Sigma Art 35mm and 85mm lenses, but she has really been loving her Sigma 15mm fisheye as well! Melissa is a gear collector, and she believes that the lenses she owns are like tools in her garage – she may not use them all the time, but some are perfect for the infrequent odd job, so she keeps them for when she needs them!

Melissa’s bag of choice is a Burton Focus backpack, and she can’t say enough about it. It literally holds ALL of her gear and is great when she needs all her lenses for traveling!

She also has two Vanguard tripods – one is lighter and more compact for travel, and the other is her day to day tripod. The latter has an extendable arm which is what she uses often to take overhead shots with herself in the frame!

For lighting, her favorite light is her Profoto B10 off-camera flash. She loves how it is small, portable, and easy to use!

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If you haven’t yet, go check out Melissa’s work at www.melissahaugen.com or on Instagram at @missmelis1112! She’s also a moderator over at The Sincere Storyteller on Instagram as well! You will be so inspired by her beautiful photographs!

And, here’s the best part – Melissa is teaching a course where she gives you alllll the juicy details about how she captures childhood in such a creative, carefree way. The course includes a beautiful ebook AND shooting and editing videos so you can get behind the scenes and learn from her! Her breakout, Adventure Abounds: Photographing a Carefree Childhood, is live until January 23, 2019 – so don’t miss out! (She’s including a bonus Drone Photography Guide only for the live run!)

After the live run, the course will still be available for purchase,
but you will miss out on the valuable information in the ClickinMoms forum and the price will go up once it hits the store.

photographing childhood

Melissa, thank you for allowing us to share a little about you and your journey, and thank you for inspiring us all with your beautiful work!

Stay tuned later this month for another HubHack Member Spotlight!


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Melissa Haugen is a birth, newborn, and family photographer in Northern California.
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