Family

Boys on the Beach: A Lake Linganore Beachfront Family Photo Session

I love supporting my local community and one of the ways I do that is to offer a complimentary photo session a handful of times a year to important causes. This year, one of those events was a race at my kids’ elementary school. I loved supporting their silent auction and couldn’t wait to meet the winners -- an amazing neighborhood family who happens to have a son in my son’s grade! The two boys both knew of one another and yep, a playdate is already in the planning stages!

We met at a nearby beach for an evening session that offered us gentle breezes, gorgeous golden light and a lot of laughs as we explored and adventured both on the beach and on a nearby trail.

The boys are so adoring of one another and of their parents and it made the session a true joy. There were races, dancing, silly faces and a lot of beautiful posed photos in between, too.

I loved their coordinating and classy outfits that screamed summertime happiness and felt so lucky to capture these blonde-haired, blue-eyed boys and their parents.

Enjoy this peek into an incredible family and a heck of a lot of joy!

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Aubrey is Adopted! Celebrating a Love that Will Never Leave

This will forever be one of the most special days I’ve ever witnessed.
Just a few days ago, in a Frederick County courtroom, a judge made official what had been true for more than a year: that sweet little Aubrey would be loved unconditionally and for always in her forever family.

Let’s back up for a moment.
I photographed Erika, Dustin and baby Aubrey almost exactly one year ago when they had just received Aubrey into their homes and hearts. I watched them love up on this girl as if they had known her her whole little life and that love came so easily and so beautifully. We enjoyed the most beautiful Autumn day last year, capturing snuggles, hugs, giggles and so much joy. I’ve followed their family, mostly through social media, and always hoped for the absolute best for them all.

And then, a week or two ago, I received an e-mail from Erika sharing that the day had come where Aubrey would be officially adopted by her and Dustin and asking if I wouldn’t mind capturing this important day. Were there happy tears? Definitely.

I didn’t know what to expect but any expectations I did have were blown out of the water.

In the 10 minutes prior to the start of the adoption ceremony, the hallways outside of a circuit courtroom on the third floor began to fill up slowly and steadily with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, colleagues, friends, neighbors. All there to cheer on and support, once more, this incredible family that was meant to be together. There were balloons and stuffed animals and countless hugs and wishes of congratulations. There were so many people there that when we entered the courtroom, we had to pause to find enough places to sit for everyone.

The ceremony is short and to the point (all the work has been done in countless hours and days of paperwork and questioning) but incredibly powerful. The state says that Erika and Dustin are the best parents for Aubrey and that they no longer need to be guardians of her -- they can be her parents. The judge thanked them for their “faithfulness” to Aubrey in all of this time.

We stole some time outside near Carroll Creek in downtown Frederick for photos of the “official” family and Erika showed me a sign that we used in the photos that read:

“Today I’ve found rest in a love that will never leave. A home where I will always belong. A family that is forever mine. Today I am adopted.”

This day showcased the purest love out there -- the love of people who WANT to love, NEED to love and are ABLE to love -- truly, completely and for always.

Congratulations to this incredible family! I’m so happy for you!

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Location, Location, Location: Choosing an Ideal Family Photo Session Spot

My repeat family photo clients may already have realized that I don’t always go back to the same spot for photo sessions, even for my regular neighborhood photo session days here in Lake Linganore.

Sometimes, even on back-to-back days, I don’t use the same location as the day before. And, ready for this? Sometimes, my morning sessions will be in a different place in our town than my afternoon and evening sessions.

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There are several things I consider when choosing the ideal photo session location for you and your family here in the Frederick County area. Here’s a few of the reasons:

1. Light!
In my opinion, lighting is one of the most important things I consider when photographing. You can be the most technically-capable photographer, but if you’re outside and aren’t reading your light, your photos won’t be as “wow”-worthy. I hardly ever photograph in midday because the sun and lighting are just way too harsh. Soft lighting, especially softly-diffused lighting through trees or clouds, is just perfection. So a spot that works great in the morning will likely have sunlight streaming through in the opposite direction later in the day and that’s not always as successful.

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2. Safety!
A session with an adult couple or a family with older teens will almost always feature a different locale than an adventure with babies or toddlers and a huge part of that comes down to safety. Some of my favorite lakefront spots for photos are so absolutely beautiful but I would never test fate or put a client’s child at danger for any shot - not even the most perfect one. Edges of cliffs or waterfalls, uneven terrains, walkways without handrails -- these things just aren’t ideal for children -- unless my clients specifically request such a spot and understand my concerns.

3. New vs. Old!
When I have a repeat client, I often times will ask them if they loved their first spot or most recent spot or want to try something new. If they are so sold on the field in my neighborhood or the beachside trails in another that we’ve used before, then that’s where we’ll stay, as long as it works for all the other concerns.

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4. Weather and Foliage!
If it’s recently rained or there’s a chance of precipitation, I try to stay away from places that could have muddy spots -- not many people want muddy shoes or pants in their family photos. Similarly, if we’re going for an authentic fall-foliage look, I am most definitely going to be driving by some of my favorite spots in the days before our session to see where the color is popping out best.

5. Versatility!
My favorite photo session locations are places that offer several different backdrops in a relatively-small area. I love when I can get waterfront images plus a forested path and an interesting building or colorful row of boats all in one photo spot. It’ll make your photos seem extra-interesting and you’ll probably have a lot more of them, too!

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There are a lot of things that go into planning a family photo session behind the scenes. At the end of the day, I want you and your family to be safe, feel comfortable and have a lot of fun.

I can’t wait to photograph you!

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A&K: A Lakefront Childrens’ Birthday Photo Session in Lake Linganore with Wendy Zook Photography

When Mom contacted me about a photo session to hit the pause button on her kids’ rapidly-growing and rapidly-changing childhood fleeting by, she was understandably nervous about a photo session. Photo sessions can be intimidating, especially if your kiddos are energetic and don’t like to slow down. But I welcome this! I love adventuring with young children -- they get to be in charge and we go with the flow and keep them comfortable.

For my photo session with A and K, who are 2 and 4 years old, we met on the beach in our Lake Linganore neighborhood. We first explored down a nearby forested path along the edge of the lake. They ran, twirled, pointed out little animals. We then made our way back to the beach where we let them enjoy time playing in the sand and wading in the shallow water of the lake. It was just pure joy and whimsy.

About halfway through our session, Mom gave me a supreme compliment, saying that she was so comfortable and that I made the experience surprisingly easy for her and the kids. That made my heart so happy to hear. I love that we can make the capturing of memories easy and enjoyable for everyone.

Enjoy this peek into two adorable kiddos adventuring on the beach!

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An Extended Family Photo Session as a Gift for Mom and Dad

I’ll be the first one to tell you that I think memories and images are one of the most treasured and important gifts in this world. So, when I have a client reach out to me about gifting images or photo sessions to a parent or grandparent, my heart is so happy.

The session was a gift for a mom and dad, parents of five children and grandparents of two adorable little girls. Capturing all of them plus significant others made for a fun photo session with 11 people exploring a favorite local photo location.

Everyone had great outfits that worked with their individual personalities but complemented each other really well with hues of blues and greens and whites. And, each of them could easily have been a model -- easy and natural in front of the camera and so photogenic, too!

We started with the kiddos first -- two adorable sisters in matching outfits with a love for hamming it up in front of the camera. They made it so easy! We captured a variety of groupings -- the five siblings, the couples, the family of four and then a large photo of the whole group.

I’m so grateful for this opportunity to capture this group and these memories just in time for Mothers Day and Fathers Day this past year. I know the photos were treasured and I’m so happy my clients saw the value of images as gifts.

Enjoy these peeks!

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Bright and Vivid Outdoor Family Photo Session

My hour with the Tilbury family was laughter, love, joy, boldness and a great sense of ease. Their daughter is 4000% toddler, meaning it was one of my favorite type of sessions as we work to overcome stubbornness with persistence and just a smidge of bribery.

I know it always makes parents nervous when their kiddos “act out”, but really, it’s no big deal. Truly. As a momma myself, I’ve been down the road of temper tantrums and attitude and I welcome it in other families because it makes me feel less alone! I just take my time and let the kiddo run the show for a few minutes -- do they want to explore a path or climb a rock? Do they need cuddles (adorable photo opps!) or a walk alone? We just go with the flow and great photos are bound to happen.

I loved the bright colors the family was wearing and the way they contrasted so beautifully against the gorgeous greens of a spring day. Our photo session was at one of my favorite spots in Lake Linganore in Frederick County, Maryland -- it’s a spot with a ton of versatile backdrops in just a little bit of space which is ideal for little ones and avoiding long walks while still creating variety in the final images. We had forests and meadows and lakes, oh my!

In the end, we captured so many fun moments that were totally true to the personality of our littlest one and her doting parents -- you can see laughter and exploration and giddiness and adoration.

I hope you love this peek into this beautiful family!

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A family’s first photo shoot: Capturing a Frederick County family of three

When the H family first reached out to me, it was actually the dad who emailed first, which doesn’t happen nearly as often as the momma in the family contacting me to schedule a session does. Dad was excited to take part in the Wendy Zook Photography spring sessions I offered in Lake Linganore along with his wife and their 18-month-old daughter, E.

I was so honored and grateful when I learned that the H family had never actually had photos taken of them as a family of three. I couldn’t wait to explore our neighborhood together on a gorgeous Spring day, letting Miss E take the lead as she checked out forested paths, rocky trails and lakefront views. She was so adorable, really bright and just so much fun to capture.

We chased ducks and shared a lot of laughs and were able to capture some really adorable moments for them to enjoy long after these fun and funny toddler moments are over. This stage is one of my favorites -- slightly clumsy, super curious and really cute! -- and it goes by so quickly.

After I shared their final gallery with them, they were so appreciative of the images and these captured memories. Sessions like this one seriously make me feel like the luckiest photographer in the world because I get to do something I love, something that means so much to my clients and something that turns my clients into familiar faces and friends in the neighborhood.

Enjoy this peek into little Miss E and her parents!

Fall family photo sessions in Lake Linganore are taking place soon! You can grab a spot here.

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An Outdoor Extended Family Photo Session of Generations, Grandkids and Giggles

Some of my favorite photo sessions are the ones that go well beyond the families of four (although those are the ones I do most often!). I really love having even more people of all ages to combine in different groupings and capture in mini reunions that are so special to them and me.

This session took place in my favorite neighborhood location in Lake Linganore -- it’s a spot that offers a great variety of backdrops year-round -- forested paths, meadows, rocks along a small lake.

There were 11 people in three different generations all together. We were able to capture Grandma and Grandpa with their grandkids, the smaller individual families and all of the kiddos together and in solo portraits. Extended family photo sessions take a bit more organization and at the same time a bit more of a go-with-the-flow attitude and flexibility. I always wind up with a few photos that are so exciting and surprising that I can’t wait to share with my clients.

Enjoy this peek at this Lake Linganore extended family photo session. You can request your own extended family photo session here.

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One Family, Many Sessions : Capturing One Frederick County Family with Multiple Photo Sessions

Ask any photographer and I guarantee they’ll tell you the ultimate compliment is a repeat client. Someone who has trusted you with their family and their story not only once but multiple times over the years. They truly become friends and you get the privilege of watching their little ones grow.

While Wendy Zook Photography has many repeat clients who come back annually or even a couple of times a year, one of the best supporters of WZP is the Davis Family.

Jen has become a woman and mom I admire and respect so much for so many reasons. She’s incredible with her babies (four of them, including twins!), but even more inspiring as a strong woman who doesn’t give up and is fearless with her dreams. I’ve had not one, not two, not even three but FIVE different sessions with Jen, her husband and her family in the past year. Each one has a different style, location, theme and purpose but all of them tell the story of one incredibly special family.

Jen and Tim modeled for me during a collaboration with Frederick County makeup and lash artist Gina Marie Beauty in a spectacular field on a chilly winter day. I also captured Jen in solo portrait sessions -- one on a snowy day and another springtime session -- both of which cemented the fact that Jen is gorgeous inside and out. And then, two really fun Lake Linganore family photo sessions with the entire family of six -- hugging, jumping, exploring and loving.

I’m always grateful for Jen’s support of my business and the opportunity to capture her amazing family in images she can keep and reflect on for always. I can’t wait for the next session with them all!

You can sign up for the next round of Lake Linganore photo sessions here.

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Ashley is beautiful (glamour/senior portraits)

While family was out visiting our home the other day, I picked up my Nikon and grabbed my niece and we disappeared for a few minutes taking photos and having Girl Talk. Like most teenagers, my niece's Instagram account is covered in selfies and, again like most teenagers, she looks in the mirror and picks apart her flaws far before anything she loves about herself.

So I told her to put on her makeup and trust me and away we went!

In her first couple of minutes, just like many of my clients, Ashley was a bit too aware of herself and questioning every position. But barely a block away from the house, the comfort and trust settled in and she let down her guard. I loved seeing her sassy side and her goofy side. She started to get excited about different backdrops and poses and I think we were both sad to see my house come back into view.

I might be biased, but I think there is a beautiful young lady peeking out from her shell.

Sara's Seasons Greetings!

On a bitterly cold morning along the Susquehanna River, a very brave and very beautiful little girl forgot about everything but being a perfect model!

Little Sara and her mom joined me in Wilkes-Barre for some photos for their Christmas cards and of course, treasured memories!

Sara rocked two gorgeous outfits, some sweet blonde curls, big bright eyes and just the right amount of sass! We talked Frozen princesses and mischievous Elf on the Shelf friends!

Sara's mom thanked me recently for capturing their love and these memories, and that was far greater an honor than any order or recommendation. I love what I do -- freezing time (even in freezing temperatures!) and showing emotions and stories.

Sara and her family will have some great Christmas cards, a custom-made large-sized collage of some favorite photos and a whole lot of memories. We've already booked a Spring session together and I am already looking forward to more time with this great model!

Merry Christmas, Sara and Mom!