Adventure Abounds: Photographing a Carefree Childhood

with Melissa Haugen


all materials are downloadable & yours to keep

This is the Breakout that will change your approach to everyday childhood photography!


Come behind the scenes with Melissa Haugen in a series of carefree shoots and an original eBook filled with tips, techniques, and exercises that reveal the secrets to discovering the adventure in your everyday.  Learn how she works with all ages (from newborns to teenagers!) and takes the mundane moments from ordinary to extraordinary! 

From hiking forests to building forts, from artwork to homework, from backyard to schoolyard, this is the Breakout that will change your approach to everyday childhood photography! 

what you’ll get

Stylish notebook-96px

A beautiful 128 page comprehensive guide to photographing childhood

Eleven creative exercises that will push you to work with your children, create opportunities for adventure and become stronger storytellers


Go behind the scenes on two shoots:

a bright beach shoot and a

low light urban shoot


Over two hours of editing videos from the beach and urban shoots

See how Melissa works with composites, sky overlays, color manipulation, and extending canvases in eight unique edits

Black camera-96px

Bonus drone PDF exclusively for members of the live Breakout

A 6 page PDF featuring Ardelle Neubert about working through the teen years

A Q&A about getting in the frame with your children with some of Melissa’s favorite photographers

what you’ll learn


From bright light to low light, watch Melissa create beauty in any conditions


Creating powerful images with composition, light & storytelling


Let go of control and create opportunities for adventure


Composites, sky overlays, color manipulation, canvas extensions and more!


The expected psychosocial and developmental stages from birth through 18 years & how Melissa uses this information to effectively tell childhood stories 

about your presenter

Melissa Haugen is a wife, mother, and visual storyteller residing in Northern California. Inspired to document the everyday adventures of her family, Melissa is drawn to light, emotion, and finding beauty in the mundane. When she’s not behind the camera, you can find her outside hiking, working in the garden, trying a new recipe or dreaming up plans for their next family trip. 



  1. Lauren Johnson January 23, 2019 at 8:42 am - Reply

    I am thoroughly enjoying this breakout! The exercises have rejuvenated my creativity, providing a list of inspiring scenarios to shoot at an ordinarily drab time of year. The editing videos are phenomenal. I have taken both LR and PS but learned a ton of new things while watching Melissa edit. Melissa has been incredibly engaged with the live run class and has really poured her heart and energy into sharing it all – she has been an open book. It is a fabulous value at $25 and I am so glad I signed up.

  2. Erika January 22, 2019 at 10:50 pm - Reply

    This breakout was the perfect start to my New Year! The PDF is packed full of guidance and inspiration to get out and shooting my littles. The ELEVEN different exercises really helped me observe our every day in a new light. Melissa’s shooting and editing videos were amazing and seemed like add ons – I would have paid $25 for just the PDF! A huge thank you to Melissa for all of the time and effort she put into this course, including her CC throughout!!

  3. Kellie Overholt January 22, 2019 at 7:07 pm - Reply

    This breakout was exactly what I needed in the midst of an unproductive and uninspired rut with my work. As soon as it started- and I mean literally, the very first assignment- I was instantly tuned back into my creativity, and probably even more so than I ever was before. I didn’t want it to end! Melissa’s breakdown of childhood development is invaluable and something I will apply to all of my sessions, and when working with my own kids. The PDF will be one that I come back to read over and over again in the years to come. After completing the breakout, I am floored that this was only $25. The lessons themselves are worth so much more, not to mention all of the bonus content. I cannot say enough good things about this one. So beyond happy that I’ve invested in this course, and learned everything I have. Thank you Melissa! Such an incredible breakout!

  4. Joanna Alanko January 21, 2019 at 2:10 am - Reply

    This breakout is fabulous! I LOVE the pdf, there is so much inspiration and information! The BTS videos are also very well made and they give nice information. I also liked the editing videos a lot. Melissa answered all the questions we asked and gave us personal feedback which was awesome. Definitely recommending this breakout!!

  5. Wendi Matt January 19, 2019 at 3:37 pm - Reply

    The thing that was intriguing about this breakout to me was the information about developmental milestones. I love how she talks about how to shoot keeping those milestones in mind! It also has info on color theory, composition, and so much more. There is even information about drones!! A definite must have!!! So much information at an affordable price.

  6. Nicole Davis January 18, 2019 at 9:32 pm - Reply

    I can’t say enough good things about this breakout. It was so timely for me both as a photographer and a mom. The written course material is filled with really helpful technical and practical information with beautiful examples of each concept from Melissa’s own photos. The exercises really pushed me to examine my own day to day family life from many different angles and to tell my own beautiful visual stories. I was thrilled to get new ideas for the actual sessions from the Behind the Scenes videos, and the editing videos were fantastic. As a live participant Melissa gave me great, thoughtful feedback on every single one of my posts, and she answered all types of questions that came up throughout the session. It pushed me to dive into learning things that had intimidated me before. But the best and most unexpected benefit of this course is that my photography now included my children and didn’t take me away from them. This breakout challenged me to observe them more closely and to appreciate and document each developmental stage with all its challenges and joys. I was challenged to just say “Yes!” more often and really ENJOY this time with them. And it has encouraged me to look for and capture the beauty in both the mundane, quiet moments as well as the adventures. Thank you Melissa for all the work you put into this fantastic breakout.

  7. Beth Shephrerd January 17, 2019 at 8:31 pm - Reply

    This breakout is filled to the brim with all sorts of innovative ideas, fun assignments, and tons of technical tips! Melissa’s imagery is breathtaking and she is so open and supportive to those of us taking this breakout, no matter what our skill level. I was like a deer in the headlights looking at the the abundance of talent from the other students in the breakout, but seeing what others have done with the assignments is nothing short of inspirational. I think anyone looking to shake up their photography would benefit from this breakout. The assignments really encourage you to stop and think…and then shoot.

  8. Heather Thomas January 17, 2019 at 1:57 pm - Reply

    This has been an amazing breakout session, I’ve been trying to work on storytelling in my images and this taught me that and so much more.

  9. Kristen Ryan January 15, 2019 at 10:56 pm - Reply

    Melissa’s breakout is truly phenomenal and inspiring! She is so genuine and real and shares both directional tips and creative ideas so you can capture your own magic with your kids. Her images never cease to draw you in and she leads you with exercises to get you shooting and motivated. The breakout is both inspiring and actionable. In addition to her pdf and editing videos, she also offers a bonus pdf on teens, getting in the frame and drone use. There is something for everyone. Definitely do not hesitate to jump on this breakout! For $25, it is a steal. You won’t regret it!

  10. Meg Loeks January 15, 2019 at 10:19 am - Reply

    One of the most incredible breakouts ever. Melissa is an amazing photographer and writer. Her pdfs are FILLED with technical information and inspiration. It is a steal at only $25. I love her approach to photography and her breakdown of developmental stages. Her tips for giving children a carefree childhood and how to capture that are invaluable. Her editing tips are helpful and impactful. Not only that, her bonus materials are worth the $25 alone with inspiration on drone photography and self portraiture. It’s definitely a must by that I will keep referring to for years to come.

  11. Krista Taylor January 14, 2019 at 3:47 pm - Reply

    This is such a great breakout (at such a good deal!) for mamas and anyone who photographs children! There’s so much good info about how children are thinking based on the age/stage they’re in, which is helpful to know while trying to get them to cooperate! I also love watching the behind the scenes videos, they are SO HELPFUL, and watching her edit- you can learn something new from watching anyone edit, even if you have been editing for years! I’m so glad I joined this breakout!

  12. Rebecca Willette January 12, 2019 at 12:57 pm - Reply

    Ok! I just have to leave another review. I’m not through all the material yet, but this breakout is awesome! The editing videos are helping me sooo much! I just love watching someone else edit. She is so fast and I am learning lots of new shortcuts, even though I already took the LR workshop, there is still so much I have to learn. The more breakouts I take, the more I know I have to learn. So beware, if you take this breakout, you might get addicted:) Seriously, though, return the Christmas presents you didn’t want anyway and invest in yourself with this breakout:) The exercises, pdf, editing videos, behind the scenes videos, and feedback make this a steal at $25!

  13. Natalie Greenroyd January 11, 2019 at 9:05 pm - Reply

    This is such a great breakout! I’ve always admired Melissa as a photographer, and all the eye candy in this breakout just totally reaffirmed that for me! She is also so knowledgable on the minds of children and how they operate, and it’s such a refreshing new way to approach shooting with my kids. I feel like I know them better after having read this, it will help me to be more mindful about how the shooting experiences effect them as well. She gives such great, concrete examples on how to take better photos, and I loved her behind the scenes videos. It was so neat getting to “tag along” on her family’s adventures and watch her shoot. This breakout is a steal and I highly recommend it everyone!

  14. Theresa Ratermann January 11, 2019 at 1:46 pm - Reply

    I just finished this Breakout and was in awe of the incredible amount of information it contained. From the very beginning the material flowed in a systematic manner with each new topic building on the previous! In addition, there were stopping points along the way to work on exercises that helped solidify the material. Melissa’s review of the developmental stages of children (from newborns to teens) is extremely helpful, especially as a photographer to help understand and capture authentic and realistic moments at each stage of life. Melissa walks you through so many fabulous ideas of documenting the adventures of childhood, from the simple to the more planned out. Her photographs throughout the pdf are absolutely beautiful and pair perfectly with the material presented.

    I cannot say enough about this fabulous Breakout! There is no doubt that each participant would walk away a more confident photographer as well as have the best tools/knowledge to obtain more mindful and meaningful images! What a bargain this Breakout is! I highly recommend it!

  15. Sara Grayson January 11, 2019 at 1:21 pm - Reply

    This breakout is absolutely FANTASTIC, and if you are a parent (or an aunt, uncle, grandparent, or otherwise lover of children) with a camera, it is hands-down a necessity. Melissa’s work speaks for itself, and every image of hers is filled with wonder and creativity and vision and soul. But even above her natural giftedness behind the camera, Melissa has an organically heartfelt way of teaching. Her thoughtfulness around childhood and how she takes the time to really understand and explain the process with developmental stages in mind was truly eye-opening for me. As someone with children ranging from 2 to almost 10, I am so grateful for this breakout. It certainly applies to children spanning a wide age range, and Melissa’s teachings have inspired me to really seek natural joy while capturing my kids’ childhood. This is beyond a bargain at $25 and I will recommend it to everyone I know! I am just so thrilled to have it and learn from it going forward. Thanks, Melissa!

  16. Zuly January 10, 2019 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    I love this breakout! I binged it haha oops! I made little laminated notes with a lot of the breakout material to help me out on shoots. I get so nervous it’s like everything goes right out the door. The lessons are simple and easy to grasp even for a total novice like myself. I take a few seconds to look through my key ring of notes and I feel like a pro again. Definitely worth the time!

  17. Kellie Bieser January 10, 2019 at 10:44 am - Reply

    If you need a jolt of inspiration in your photography, THIS is the breakout for you! Filled with gorgeous imagery, heartfelt writing, and actionable steps to connect with your kids while creating images you love, Melissa has created a resource that every photographer and parent should have. No matter where you are on your photography journey, the PDF, supplemental videos, and bonus materials are sure to keep your wheels turning for a good long while.

  18. Laura January 9, 2019 at 8:24 pm - Reply

    I am loving this breakout! The PDF is beautiful, I can’t wait to work through all of the exercises with my kids. It is packed with information I have never seen in a photography course before, such as child development stages and milestones and how they come into play in documenting childhood and beyond. I have younger children but I found the information about older children very interesting and it will be a great resource in a few years. I am also excited to learn more about drone photography which you can only do during the live run! Get it now!

  19. Laura Smith January 9, 2019 at 6:49 pm - Reply

    WOW….i couldn’t stop reading this breakout! I LOVE how Melissa is a down to earth person and shares the struggles she has faced in her life. You can definitely tell though her sincere words how much having a magical childhood for her children means to her. Her style is amazing and she captures children as they are where you can almost see their personalities shining through. A great reminder to stop in those moments and document…and also to get in the frame. So many “I really need to start doing that” thoughts while reading it! Love that she added bonus materials for the live run as well….you want this breakout, i promise!

  20. Rebecca Willette January 9, 2019 at 4:29 pm - Reply

    This breakout is just what I need to get me out of my funk and energize me again! I have been stuck in a rut after the fun of photographing holidays and now everything just seemed BLAH. The 8 exercises are already getting me shooting more & thinking about the same old same old differently:). I have skimmed the PDF and especially enjoy the ‘what to look for’ at the developmental stages…i.e. my toddler is asserting her independence now, so this morning I shot her makin her own peanut butter & jelly sandwich:) And I’m challenged to take my camera public this afternoon while we go grocery shopping. Sometimes these challenges and instructor feedback just make all the difference for me, and at $25 is very worth it:) Looking forward to reading the rest of the pdf and viewing the videos as well! I love live run breakouts!

  21. Ebony Logins January 9, 2019 at 2:30 pm - Reply

    Melissa’s work has always been so compelling to me and I am especially drawn to her ability to tell a story about her family. I am truly in awe of her artistic capabilities. In this breakout, it’s not only her photographs that inspire but her words as well. I loved learning more about compositing to enhance the environment and story in her editing videos! The low light shooting video was really inspirational, too. I’m grateful for all the work that was put into this breakout and I look forward to using the information to enhance my own work and client family sessions. Thank you so much, Melissa!

  22. Niki Bidinger January 9, 2019 at 11:17 am - Reply

    Melissa’s breakout is exactly what I needed to shake myself out of the after holidays funk. Her work is so inspiring and she reminds you of why you shoot in the first place. Her unique understanding of child development helps you to see your tiny (or somewhat bigger) subjects in a new light. I love that this breakout isn’t just about the little kids but also our bigger kiddos too. Because we all know how hard it is to capture the finicky nature of a pre teen or teen!

  23. D'Ann Boal January 8, 2019 at 7:26 pm - Reply

    It is clear Melissa has poured her whole heart and brain into this breakout. With so many tips on childhood development and the importance of capturing our children in their carefree environment, I have learned so much. Melissa’s beautiful writing and inspiring images along with quotes and so many exercises to practice, there is no doubt in my mind that every participant will grow as a photographer (and a parent for that matter!) At $25, this breakout is a steal!

  24. Janel Peyton January 8, 2019 at 2:02 pm - Reply

    If you are looking for one of the most comprehensive courses on capturing childhood, this is it. Melissa describes childhood psychological development in order to highlight the various ways to capture children in those stages. In doing so, she gives you lists of different perspectives and concepts at every stage of childhood to capture with your lens. I am in awe of the amount of information she provides– everything from behind the scenes footage of how she photographs her own children to how to integrates drone photography into her portfolio to describing why she uses certain lenses at certain times to unique editing tips and tricks to how she gets in the frame with her children through self portraiture. This course is a one-stop shop for capturing children in a natural, free, hands-off kind of way. Whether you are a rookie or veteran, you should take this course — it’ll open your eyes to so many opportunities for photos you are missing of your children throughout their development.

  25. Mickie DeVries January 8, 2019 at 10:24 am - Reply

    Melissa poured her heart and soul into this breakout. Not only is it filled with so many practical tips for approaching composition, storytelling, light, etc., her words also sink deep into my being. She is so incredibly vulnerable and open with her life story, and how that influences her approach to photography. I love her message and tips for giving our children a carefree childhood and how to capture it masterfully. I also love the extra pdfs that were included. I wasn’t sure if this breakout would apply to older children as much, but it does! There is a whole extra pdf giving tips for older children and other tips in the main pdf. There is also one on getting in the frame and drones!! I’m now trying to figure out if I should sell a lens to buy a drone ha!! This is a steal for $25!!

  26. Jyotsna Bhamidipati January 8, 2019 at 12:42 am - Reply

    This breakout has opened a whole new way to approach photography for me. Melissa discusses understanding psychology of children first along with their developmental milestones; which in turn helps us as photographers, artists and parents – tell the stories of our children and their childhood better. She gives great tips and ideas on seeking adventure as a family as well as documenting the simple moments of the daily. As a photographer; as well as a mom who wants to capture/and document the carefree childhood of her children; I cannot wait to reference her breakout as years pass by! Melissa is a fantastic photographer and I adore her beautiful storytelling and style! Her images are powerful; while taking the viewer into the scene wanting to know more! She has inspirations quotes throughout her guide! She also has a bonus guide on all about DRONES!! Something; which I know I am dying to get and use! She also has a bonus guide on shooting teens as well as getting in the frame! Now this is so amazing for only $25!! Get it now during the live run guys!!!
    Thank you Melissa for sharing your passion with us! I absolutely LOVE this breakout and cannot wait to dig into her editing videos next!

  27. Kate Luber January 7, 2019 at 10:13 am - Reply

    This breakout is PACKED with eye candy and inspirational words. I love how Melissa approaches her photography with the child in mind FIRST. It’s a great reminder to us all WHY we do this and how to make it fun for both us as photographers as well as our favorite subjects. This breakout is packed full of photography tips for the beginning photographer as well as ideas and inspiration to give photographers of all levels some great ideas to get those creative juices flowing again. I cannot wait to reference this breakout for years to come as she has included a guide on shooting teens as well as drone photography!!! This is seriously a steal at $25!!!

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