Bamburgh Beach (Short family film) | Personal project: Artefact Motherhood | Family Documentary Photographer Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk

Your father and I visited Northumberland on our first holiday together. We stayed on Lindisfarne (Holy Island) and we had wonderful memories of spending time exploring the Northumberland coast. It was a place that we said we would love to go back to. Little did we know that we would be coming back, thirteen years later, with two little humans and our family dog as well.

I made a short film of our time spent on Bamburgh beach. Both of you said it was your favourite beach of all the ones we went to because it had rock pools for hunting out crabs, sand dunes to roll down and large jellyfishes to find on the beach. You even saw some puffins while out on a boat trip around the Farne Islands and conquered the long walk to Dunstanburgh castle. An old ruin that was once the focus of the long battle in the War of the Roses. 

As we packed our bags to go home, I made a vow with your father that we would come back here. Hopefully this time it won't take too long before we visit again.

A few selected photos from Bamburgh beach: 

People on Bamburgh beach on the Northumberland coast
Ringed plover on Bamburgh beach
Lion's Head Jellyfish on Bamburgh beach
Black and white photograph of a boy and his dog in the sea
Child on the sand dune at Bamburgh beach
Boys playing on Bamburgh beach
Child walking on the beach at Bamburgh

This post is my contribution to a beautiful project I am a part of with other female photographers that document our journeys as mothers and creating memories for our children through our photographs and words. It's called ARTEFACT MOTHERHOOD.

Visit my friend Min Mohd HERE to see the next blog post in this series.


Part II: Landscape Speaks + The Travelling Mustard Dress project | Personal Self-portraiture {#P52Radness} | Cambridgeshire Wedding and Family photographer

I mentioned before how I am part of a global community of female photographers (#P52radness) who participate in a weekly self-portrait project. It’s become a project that is dear to my heart, simply because everybody in the group has their own battles in getting themselves in front of the camera and yet is so supportive of others who do get in the frame. It is that kindness and encouragement that helps us overcome our fear and also see past the perception we have of ourselves. Something that I would happily give my female clients if they feel anxious about themselves during their photoshoots. I have also written about some of those feelings and shared the reasons of the importance to be in your own pictures, not just for creating a physical memory for your loved ones but also for yourself, in a blog article here

Last month, the P52radness group had a theme called ‘Let the landscape speak’. The idea of this theme is that the environment or our surroundings take up the centre stage of our images, as opposed to our own portraits dominating the picture. This can be appealing if you find having your pictures taken intimidating, or you just want to have the beauty of the landscape tell the story whilst being in the photo. It's conducive to making an evironmental portrait and helps to set the context of the person in the photo, which I will always try to make a few for my clients using my wide-angle lens. Before I begin a photoshoot, I like to ask each of my clients to pick a location that can be home or outdoors, which are familiar to you and perhaps one of your favourite places to spend time in. We spend most of that time in that location on your photoshoot. By being in familiar surroundings this would put you at ease to be yourself and allow me to capture beautiful pictures that will truly portray you and your personality. 

For my self-portraits below, I wore a yellow summer maxi dress from New Look that a friend of mine got for a travelling dress ('Travelling Mustard') project. I am doing this project along with nearly forty other British and Irish female photographers. Each photographer takes a self-portrait in the same yellow mustard dress. I did a collaboration with a couple of these women recently, which I will share later on or you can see them on the Travelling Mustard blog. My own self-portraits were taken using the technique of freelensing with the help of my husband, who acted as a stand-in tripod when it was a windy day on the beach during our family trip to Old Hunstanton Cliffs.

Black and white portrait of Diana Hagues photographer at Hunstan
Colour portrait of Diana Hagues photographer in yellow dress at
Stepping onto the sand at Hunstanton beach in yellow dress and b
Black and white portrait of Cambridgeshire photographer Diana Ha
Self portrait of Cambridgeshire Photographer Diana Hagues at Hun
Self portrait of Cambridgeshire Photographer Diana Hagues with h
Dancing portrait of Cambridgeshire Photographer Diana Hagues in
British Travelling dress project - artist Diana Hagues in yellow
Toes on the beach next to a razor shell
Travelling mustard dress - Self portraiture - photographer Diana

Is family photography a bit like a ‘Pick n Mix’? | Cambridge family photos | Cambridgeshire family documentary photographer Diana Hagues Photography

Photographs have a way to bring you back to a moment in time; to an experience you had that has now become a distant memory. It’s that sense of nostalgia that feels almost like you have just walked into an old sweet shop and are being greeted by a familiar friend. Maybe there are one or two sweets in the jars that are your favourites; maybe some you tasted that are not so good. Whatever it is, photographs are like those jars sitting behind the counter, waiting for you to pick and tuck into them, so it could instantly remind you of those warm, fuzzy feelings you had from when you were a child or from your past experience.

Copy of sweet shop family photo memories
Copy of Brothers in a sweet shop childhood photo memories

If this picture leaves you craving to pick up a bag of sweets, then go ahead and give permission to yourself to travel back down memory lane and relive those moments. At the same time, you can read on about what makes family photography similar to getting your own ‘Pick n Mix’ and how I can guide you with choosing a family photographer without giving you a toothache afterwards (excuse the pun).

Choosing the right family photographer for you

Family photography is a bit like walking into a sweet shop. There are different photography styles to choose and, if you search online, you will find a vast array of photographers that could provide photography for newborn photoshoots, baby bump or maternity photography, as well as family photo sessions. 

So, how do you choose a family photographer that is right for you?

When it comes to family photography, there are three styles that family photographers generally specialise in. They vary from the traditional or fine art posed portraits, either in studio or non-studio, to the storytelling imagery of lifestyle or documentary photography.  

To explain, let’s go back to the sweet shop analogy. 


Portraiture or Portrait family photography (“Rock”) 

This is a classic and traditional style of photography where typically your family portrait photo shoot is controlled by the photographer from decisions made on how everyone is posing, the lighting and also the backdrop or location of the shoot if outside of a studio. Families would have an expectation of knowing what resulting images they would get from their shoot. It’s the equivalent of what I like to think of as heading to a seaside resort and buying a traditional rock from one of the beachfront shops. There is a regularity and standard set of flavours and colours with only marked differences in the lettering to the place of its origin. 

Copy of Child portrait in natural light home studio
Copy of spring children portrait blue flowers

Lifestyle Family Photography (“Toffee”)

Lifestyle photography is a more relaxed style of photography that is the next step from the traditional posed portraits. It’s like toffee confectionery or chocolate eclair with a hard exterior and a soft or chewy centre in the middle. Lifestyle family photo shoots capture the candid moments of a family, the ‘soft’ feel in family connections, but it still has a ‘hard' element of direction by the photographer. For example, the lifestyle photographer could give suggestions for planning your outfits. They may make changes to the scene, either during the shoot or in post-processing, to create a cleaner image. They could guide you into positions that either captures moments of interactions between you and your family, while perhaps being in an area of beautiful light or select a time of day for your photographs.  

Copy of Sisters playing with wooden toy bus in home.
Copy of parents with baby standing by the lake photo

Documentary Family Photography (“Sherbets”)   

Documentary family photography — the sherbets, gobstoppers or jelly beans of the photography equivalent to a sweet shop. The unposed and relaxed style of family photography, where the beauty is in the unexpected and captures families being completely natural and spontaneous. 

Copy of mum wiping sons mouth in family hallway

Documentary family photoshoots are entirely dictated by the dynamics within the family themselves. The only interaction that the documentary photographer has during such sessions are discussing with you in your pre-shoot consultation what your family likes, your children’s personalities, things you like to do together and where. This interaction is carried through into your session, where the photographer captures you in or around your home, or in places that you like to frequent. The skills of a documentary photographer are in the power of observation; waiting for a moment to unfold, and using light and composition to tell the story of your family that is neither directed nor altered. Because real life is beautiful and you are enough. 

Copy of Family sitting down to a meal

In essence, documentary family photography captures more fully the honest and authentic representation of your family life, including the raw and real emotions. It preserves real, meaningful moments and memories that will tell your family’s story long after they have been forgotten.

Book your professional family photographer

I know that choosing a family photographer that is the best fit for your family is a lot more complicated than buying a bag of sweets from the shops. Knowing your budget and location are important deciding factors, but so is the photography experience and what you like to get from your photographs. Both of those is influenced by the style of photography and photographer you choose. 

Ultimately, you want to invest in a photographer that speaks to your heart and fulfils your purpose of getting professional family photos that could best reflect your family. Just like eating your favourite sweets, your photographs should connect you to a special moment in time and bring you joy for a lifetime.   

Diana Hagues Photography is a storytelling and documentary family photographer who specialises in photographing families, small children, newborn and couples. She offers short lifestyle-documentary sessions along with half-day and full-day day-in-the-life family documentary sessions. Find out more details here and to book email Diana