My Story

Hiring a photographer is like making a friend. You don’t want just anyone! You’ve got to choose someone you like and trust. If I’m going to get true images of your family, I will have to become part of your life!

Before hiring someone, get to know them a bit to make sure it’s a good fit. If they are any good at what they do, they’ll be doing the same thing!

In that spirit, I want to share the story of how I came to do this work.

I grew up loving art, and loving to take pictures.

But mostly I grew up loving stories.

This love led me to a degree in documentary video.

It took me over 15 years of living to realize that I was needed right here, where the most important stories – our stories – are happening every day.

I am one of the lucky ones in my generation. I have a lot of beautiful images from my life growing up because my mom (although modesty would probably stop her from admitting it) GOT IT.


She not only saw the value in capturing the everyday things, and the action, and the emotion, but she had the eye to make beautiful, well composed pictures that were uncommon for those of us growing up in the early 80’s – a time of Olan Mills and Sears Portrait Studio… I’m sure you know what I am talking about. These are the type of portraits most people in my generation seem to have. My husband’s family has a remarkable collection of family photos.


There is very little that is true about these images.

You can’t tell anything about the personalities of these people. You don’t know what they love. You don’t get to understand their relationship with each other, or the world at large.

When I look at the wonderful pictures I have of myself growing up, however, I notice that my mother is almost entirely missing from the story.

That is one thing the Olan Mills experience offered to families; the ability to get a good clear image of the whole family together. It makes me sad. Because I know she was an amazing mom, and I want to see the evidence! I want to remember our early relationship with clarity. I want to see her playing with me. I want to see her looking at me with love in her eyes.

Now, as a mom myself, and I want to be able to look back and feel even closer to her by sharing the same challenges and triumphs.

That’s why I love doing this work for you.

So when you ask me to photograph your family, you are bravely asking me to be there for the whole story.

I want my images to be something you can look back on decades from now and say “Yes – THAT is what our family was like. That looks like a normal day in our lives. Can you believe how beautiful it was?”


I can’t wait to walk this path with you. I can’t wait to show you your truth, and watch you as you realize how beautiful it is.

Serra Hadsell, Photographer

Portrait of Serra Hadsell, Portland based lifestyle photographer

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