The L. Family | Cutting Down their Christmas Tree (Lake Forest Gardens, Zelienople)

If you’re cutting down your Christmas tree with your toddler, then you need to bring a camera along. Or better yet why not bring a whole photographer, so you can get in the pictures yourself??

The L. Family did just that, inviting me to join them as they cut down and decorated their Christmas tree this year. I had SO MUCH fun with their little 1-yr old girl AND we got great, relaxed portraits, too! Win 🙂

THANK YOU to the L. family for inviting me along on such a special occasion!


Lake Forest Gardens out in Fombell, near Zelienople, is the perfect place to cut down your Christmas tree. Though admittedly I’m a bit of a cut-your-own-tree novice (We sadly have had an artificial tree 11 years strong.), I was incredibly impressed with the options there.

First off, if you’re cutting your own tree, you NEED to bring boots (this was my novice mistake #1). It gets muddy, and there are ruts everywhere. The small gravel parking lot was full, so I had to park my little Kia up on the grass on the side of the road, along with dozens of big trucks and SUVs. My pants were splattered in mud as soon as I stepped out of the car.

(Also bring something to cut the tree with!! This may seem obvious, but these people aren’t in the business of handing out saws to strangers…)

We chose a very busy Sunday to pick a tree, as the weather was pretty warm and it was not long after Thanksgiving. Lots of other families had the same idea! After paying for the tree, we got up in line for the tractor ride out to the tree farm. At first I was confused that the hay bales were only lined up on one side of the tractor bed, until I realized (DUH) the other side was for the trees! (But MAN did it small fantastic for the ride back to the parking lot.)

Despite the crowds, wandering through the trees on the farm it felt like we were the only ones there. There were dozens and dozens of rows of different species of trees, and everyone spread out as soon as they got off the tractor ride. It was surprisingly quiet, and ALL of the trees seemed like perfect ones.

I admit I’m hooked. Next year I will be back to the tree farm at Lake Forest Gardens, this time with my kids, boots, and saw in hand. 🙂

It just smells SOOOOOO good there.

Do you cut down your own Christmas tree here in the Pittsburgh area? Why not combine pictures there with your annual family photoshoot? My sessions start at 2 hours and include portraits. Let’s talk!

BTW I prefer the video format but if you prefer having control to flip through the images, here are my favorite photos from their session in the gallery below…

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Pamela Anticole

Serving PA OH & Beyond

Pamela Anticole is a Pittsburgh based newborn and family photographer. Her award winning style is thoughtful and emotional, and your client experience is both relaxed and fun!


Pamela will photograph your baptism, birthday party, anniversary, bar/bat mitzvah, or wedding in a documentary style learned as a newspaper photojournalist. It is her focus on real, natural relationships and ability to anticipate emotional candid moments that bring sensitivity to her work as a documentary photographer. Pamela is located in the Wexford area of Pittsburgh, PA and available for family photography within 45 miles of downtown Pittsburgh. She also offers photography education for parents both online and on location in person in the Pittsburgh area.