Christmas Stories: The hunt for the perfect tree | Storytelling and Documentary photography in Cambridgeshire

I mentioned in my last blog post how I love getting our family together to decorate the Christmas tree. This festive time of year is so beautiful where our hearts as well as homes are lit up. It's also a time when we rejoice and reflect on the memories we have made and promises we like to take forward to the following year.

Coming from a Chinese family, we did not really celebrate Christmas in the way I think Westerners do. My mother did make an effort with having some decorations up and we always had a roast turkey or beef on Christmas day, but when my father was stationed back in Hong Kong for his job we stopped bothering to carry on with this. Instead my brother and I would spend our Christmas holidays split between two countries.

With my own children, I've been conscious of making Christmas magical for them. It's lovely to watch them being fascinated in Santa and writing out their Christmas wish list for him. Although we try to explain the real meaning of Christmas – it is not just about presents and chocolates(!) - we all like a little make-believe this time of year.

We have some Christmas traditions we like to do every year. Such as attending a Christmas market, seeing the lights switch-on, doing some Christmas baking, ice-skating at the Winter Wonderland and seeing Santa.

This year, we have panto added to the list and we begun a new tradition, one that I hope we will continue, with our hunt to find a Christmas tree. I always loved the idea of going to a real Christmas tree farm and managed to find one not too far away in Bottisham, Cambridgeshire. It was so lovely to choose our Christmas tree and pick out the size we want, have it chopped down and netted all in front of us. It made the experience really special. Of course, the boys loved running between the rows of trees as well. After that it was a matter of just checking we could fit the tree into the boot of our car to take home.

Here are some freelensed pictures from our trip. To see what my freelensing friends have been doing in November, go next to my clever and inspiring friend Julie Godbolt. Click through our blog circle until you get back to my post to finish.

Do you have a Christmas tradition you like to tell and would like captured in a storytelling session? Only 1 slot left before Christmas, so hurry to book. Email: hello@dianahaguesphotography.co.uk

Christmas (UN)wrapped | Storytelling and Documentary Photography in Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Norfolk

Do you have a favourite family tradition in the run-up to Christmas? Like Christmas tree decorating, Christmas crafts with the kids (involving lots of glitter!), family reunions or working out how to get that gingerbread house to stay up.

Mine is getting the Christmas tree and joining in with the children to decorate it. Usually we pull our artificial tree out of the loft that we have had for years, but last year we treated ourselves to a real one. The heavenly scent of fresh pine smells so delicious and we have some Christmas songs playing in the background as we decorate.

In the past, we've lost a few baubles along the way in the reach of little hands, but I'm hoping with the children now a little older we won't see too many casualties. They will still need supervision to help put the decorations on the higher branches, but we don't mind if the tree looks a bit bottom-heavy with Christmas decorations.

We are going to get a real Christmas tree again and I am looking forward to take the children to our first visit to an actual Christmas tree farm this year, which I am sure deserves documenting in pictures.  

Would you like your fun family tradition captured with some beautiful photographs this holiday season and give yourself the chance to be in your family photos too? Hurry to book your Christmas storytelling sessions - dates are booking up fast!

Christmas tree decoration - Cambridge storytelling Photography.JPG

Documentary Baby photography: An alternative approach to an in-home lifestyle and studio portrait session | by Cambridge family photographer Diana Hagues

I love observing the adoring looks that parents give to their new baby. Maybe I recognise those looks of how you cannot take your eyes off your baby, to absorb every feature of their face or expressions, because you are simply fascinated by how quickly they change and also how beautiful they are. It really is true that having a baby becomes the centre of your universe.

I met Martin and Laura on one fine autumn day eight weeks fresh of them becoming new parents to a baby girl. They had wanted their first professional family pictures outside in one of their favourite spots. Being an outdoorsy couple, the country park seemed a perfect place to introduce their daughter to somewhere that they both enjoyed and no doubt she would soon be running around in herself. The familiar environment and outdoor setting also made the session felt more relaxed. Although I was already impressed upon meeting Martin and Laura how relaxed they were as parents - the love and happiness they had for their daughter, and as a couple, was so visible throughout our session together.

I loved my time with this family. I loved that they wanted something a little bit different to create memories of them that best represents who they are. Seeing the love of the parents and meeting their gorgeous baby girl gave me great joy in being able to record this very special period of their lives for them.

Free 52 project: September & October | by Cambridge photographer Diana Hagues

It's been a busy couple of months since the children went back to school and our long summer adventures came to an abrupt end. With client shoots and general trying to get back into a routine, I've not had much time to pick up my camera and indulge in personal photography projects. I am thankful though that I do have photography friends that encourage me to keep practising my craft and one thing that I have continued to keep going is my freelensing, which I have since joined with an international group of ladies in sharing our monthly freelensed (Free52) photographs. 

We missed sharing last month, because as I said, life got busy. Happy to do a double-share from a few adventures we took in September and October. When you have finished, visit Renee Barth next to see the awesome images she has captured.

September

Rye Mead

This RSPB site in Hertfordshire is a large wetland nature reserve by the river Lee. I met up with a friend and her children here at the beginning of September. Our boys had a blast exploring around the lakes together and visiting the various bird hides. They seemed more interested in the insects and spiders they saw whilst there.

October

“Autumn, the year's last loveliest smile.”

The promise of an Indian summer came unexpectedly this month. The colour was just beautiful and I appreciated just sitting back or wandering in awe at the wonderful colours we were greeted with. It was just nice to be able to soak up the full beauty of Mother Nature and go walking in the woods, looking for fungi and at the light dancing between the trees. We enjoyed the Apple Day event in our local orchard in the middle of this month.

All things Halloween

It has to be said that my boys love all things to do with Halloween. One of my favourite trips that I look forward to every year is our annual visit to go pumpkin picking. This year we went a little earlier to the farm and was amazed by the sea of orange pumpkins that awaited us. We brought home a few more pumpkins than we intended.

Autumn session at Hinchingbrooke Country Park | by Cambridgeshire children photographer Diana Hagues

The first of my autumn sessions took place at Hinchingbrooke Country Park in Huntingdon. The country park looks beautiful in autumn and its woodland provide a wonderful, natural playground specially this time of year. The children had a fabulous time finding conkers, playing in the leaves and spotting busy squirrels out foraging for nuts while I photographed them. The shoot wrapped up just as the rain started to pour.

A few highlights from this session.

Autumn session-children photographer-Diana Hagues Photography