Photos

Dreams & Realities, Friends & Rockstars -- National Down Syndrome Society New York City Photo Shoot

***This is one in a three-part perspective on the #rockinNDSSstudios experience with the National Down Syndrome Society. To see more of this journey, visit my co-photographers Nicole and Sherri who are also sharing their adventures in blogs today. ***

 

 

Months of planning, new and old friendships and a gathering of wild imaginations and big dreams came together earlier this month in what will most definitely be remembered as one of the absolute highlights of both my professional and personal stories.

A little background and then a lot of fun memories:

In mid-October I shared my friend and newborn photographer Nicole Starr's donation of photography sessions to families affected by Down Syndrome with my never-met-but-feel-like-true-friends friend Sara Weir, President of the National Down Syndrome Society. I thought it was a long shot and I thought I might be bothering with Sara's already busy schedule, but lo and behold, Sara requested a conference call with us. We were excited, but puzzled. Perhaps, we thought, Sara had some connections in Nicole's Boston area for some well-deserving families to receive photos.

But Sara is a dreamer. A big dreamer and a big believer. And that's what makes her and the NDSS so fabulous -- they're almost afraid of the word "no" when it comes to advocacy, human rights and possibilities and futures for those with DS.

She offered up her idea that maybe, just maybe, we could all collaborate for a NYC rock-and-roll-themed photo shoot to use for the NDSS annual fundraising Gala, held in March at BB King Blues Club. The rest of that phone call is a blur because I felt such extreme emotions overtake me.

When Nicole and I hung up with Sara (after agreeing that YES YES YES we were in!), we of course called each other and simply alternated between shocked silence and excited squealing. And we took off running from there. We joined forces soon after with Kandi, Kristie, Maddy, Amy and several others from NDSS. There were conference calls and Pinterest boards and model calls on Facebook and then e-mails, phone calls, Excel spreadsheets and travel plans.

Sherri, a mom to a daughter with DS and Nebraska-based photographer, volunteered her time and efforts, too.

Before we knew it, a sunny, mild December Monday morning arrived.

I sat on my seat on the plane, smiling out the window as I texted a picture of the plane to my aunt for the kids to see. I half-wanted someone to ask me where this plane was taking me, just so I could answer, "To the most INCREDIBLE opportunity I've ever been given! You would not believe how lucky I am!"

At the NDSS New York offices on the 600-block of Broadway in the heart of the NoHo neighborhood, it went from a big dream to a huge reality. We tested our lighting and camera settings, took a tour and scoped out corners. Poured some coffee, grabbed our lenses and for about the longest five minutes, just stood in our own little quiet worlds. Then the first models arrived, hair and makeup began their work and it began!

We had more than 200 volunteer applicants and wound up with more than 50 models. We represented just about every genre and style of music and every age between infant and 50 years old. Men and women, boys and girls. Quiet and shy and confident and strong.

You know how they say, "It's the little things in life"? It is. Truly.

I felt so many powerful moments.

Many of my 15-minute sessions were outside in a side street off of Broadway, with cobblestone and wrought iron gates, graffiti, cool staircases and a true NYC skyline and vibe.

I remember crossing over the cobblestone with one of my older models holding my hand, tenderly gracing her feet over the bricks as she told me in one breath about her recent ankle surgeries and a trip abroad for advocacy work.

A teenage boy was painfully shy and his parents warned me he may not come out of his shell. But just a couple of minutes later, I saw the most beautiful smile. His mother wrote me that the photo shoot has changed his confidence and self esteem.

My Billy Joel sang "Uptown Girl" while acting smooth on the front steps of a nearby business. My Elvis Costello suggested wonderful poses and locations along the street and nodded, "That looks so good!" when I showed him the back of the camera.

I received hugs and got so many hand squeezes. I took selfies with my new friends and just couldn't stop smiling.

(Photos below are camera phone behind-the-scenes shots:)

 

It wasn't just the rockstars. It was the tough Momma who gracefully balanced her other children with love and attention. The Dad who wasn't afraid to make a fool out of himself to get his son to loosen up in front of the cameras and strangers. Proud aunts and grandparents and friends, too. Big sisters who helped little brothers and all of those behind the scenes, holding fans and lights, grabbing coffees, allowing flexibility and not worrying about who won't wear their wig or whether or not glasses are part of the costume. Some of the best moments were when I wasn't holding my Nikon -- instead I was blasting and dancing (poorly) to some Taylor Swift or asking about hobbies and hometowns and listening, truly listening.

Moms who learned I have a son with Down Syndrome offered resources, phone numbers and the best of bear hugs. The kind that say "I get it" and "Our lives rock!"

There was talk about fighting for the right classroom, open-heart surgeries on sweet babies, scars from tubes and so many battles that are fought on a daily, hourly basis. But there was no complaining. There was no 'why me.' Over the course of two days, we had one common purpose with some sunshine and a lot of love. We created beautiful art with our experience and equipment and all of those big dreams. But our models and their families are the reason for the success of those days. Their patience and open-mindedness and their incredible positivity.

 

I was keeping it together pretty well.

And then, in the most unlikely of moments, it all hit.

Nicole was photographing our little Buddy Holly and he needed a little encouragement from his big sisters and Mom who were watching from the back of the room. They were great -- a little dancing and some laughter and he was ready for his time in the spotlight. But the moment that truly defined his time as a rockstar? Not the solo photo that Nicole nailed in the camera of him with a guitar and a little black suit. It was the instant before when he stood in the center of four of his family members, all of them grooving and giggling. THAT, is what NDSS celebrates and strives for and that is why I think we all wanted to be a part of this. That reminder of hope and beauty. Of a life that is absolutely remarkable. A life lived like a dance party.

But, I couldn't put that in words, and I quietly retreated and broke down in tears in the hallway.

I apologized for being weak and creating a scene, but then Kandi of NDSS, also a mom to a little boy with DS, held my back and said "This is all for Zack."

But this is for all of them. The 400,000 people living with DS in America today. The moms and dads who have been through it all and the new parents of the 1 in 691 births with a DS diagnosis every year. This is for my new friends who have college degrees and who dance or sing or act. It is for their past accomplishments and their future successes. They are all rockstars. They are all role models for us all.

 

 

Several families have sent me/us thank-you messages. I am appreciative and yet I shake my head and whisper, "No, thank YOU."

You who rearranged doctor appointments and missed school and work. You who traveled five hours in the morning for one hour in our little makeshift studios just to turn around and drive five hours back home -- because you told us you 'just had to do this.' You who trusted a stranger with a camera. You at the NDSS who travel multiple times a month, endure difficult phone calls and long Senate meetings and House bill lingo. You who march and fundraise and do not sit quietly with the status quo.

 

(Images below are of some of the models I worked most closely with, emulating the following rockstars: Usher / Pink / Elvis Costello / Billy Joel / Elvis / Michael Jackson / Lenny Kravitz / Lady Gaga / Gwen Stefani / Janis Joplin / Pat Benatar.)

 


Images from this photo session will be used in promotion for and on display at the NDSS 30th Annual Gala and Auction. This year's honorees include ABC and actor and advocate Chris Burke. Final posters of our rockstars will be available for purchase. All proceeds from this event will go toward the NDSS.

Boho Bridal Shower {Styled Shoot} - Part One -- The Details

Sometimes, when all of the T's are crossed and I's are dotted, and a group of amazing creatives gather together and rainclouds hold off, magic happens. When models are as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside and everything around you inspires you, special moments are captured. Such was the case with a styled boho-themed bridal shower shoot that took place earlier this week. Led by Candice of Patchwork Planning and Renee of Forget Me Not Vintage Rentals and Styling, our images now inspire others!

We were surrounded by the most beautiful color palette -- pinks and greens with a touch of whimsy --  and the most beautiful textures -- woven vibrant rugs and decorative dreamcatchers, lace dresses and floral crowns. Fabulous food with even more delicious displays and the blingiest chandeliers ever!

Tomorrow, I'll highlight some of my favorite moments between our models -- a group of eight lovely ladies (and one handsome guy!) near a fabric teepee, enjoying a delightful dinner set-up, wrapped up in a sunset in a field and more. Today's blog, however, is showing off all of the tiny little details that helped create a one-of-a-kind atmosphere.

I'm going to let the images tell the story, but please take a moment to acquaint yourself with the terrific vendors I've listed below!

All photos taken with my Nikon D700, switching up between my 24mm/50mm (with and without macro filters) and 85mm.

Patchwork Planning {Planner}  Forget Me Not Vintage Inc {Rentals & Styling}  Monzie's Floral Design {Flowers}  Peculiar Culinary {Desserts} Woven the Shop {Dreamcatchers} The Hunter Collection {Pillows}  The Post Home and Body {Soap Favors} Christine Conrad {Jewelry}  Make Pie Not War {Rings} Thrift Store Decor {Candles} Ryan Kenton {DJ}  The Dusty Daisy Shop {Feather Name Cards and Driftwood Decoration} Momental Designs {Invitation Kit} TattooByYou {Tattoos} Confeteti Warehouse/Lavender Linens {Linens} Jammin Barefoot (Karen) {Jamberry Favor}

Wendy also worked with some FANTASTIC photographers, including: Kelley Spurlock Photography / Elizabeth Lilly Photography / Chelsey Travelpiece / Photography by Seneca -- thank you for sharing your talent and many, many laughs!

*Special thanks to Mandy and Doug Chapman, for allowing us to use their property and disrupt their lives for a few days! Your family is beautiful and we are all so grateful to you.

You can see more images, including behind-the-scenes snapshots at WZP Instagram and WZP Facebook!

Favorite Moments

There are honestly a million things I love about being a photographer. So I thought I would share a few (not all 1,000,000, don't worry!).

I love getting to know a client -- whether it's an engaged couple planning their wedding or a little girl twirling in the snow. I love the transformation that occurs in a boudoir session when a woman loses inhibition and self-esteem worries and just embraces all of her beauty. When I capture an unscripted "real" moment -- a father and newborn locking eyes or Grandpa crying as his littlest girl walks down the aisle.

Some recent highlights:

* I will usually start a private Pinterest board with my brides or moms for family sessions. It's an opportunity to get on the same page and usually, it just takes a few photos and I already have a style pegged or am jotting down ideas I can't wait to try. Recently, a 2015 WZP bride and I started a board and within FIVE MINUTES, we both unknowingly posted the EXACT SAME photo! She sent me a message: "You get me!"

* An expectant mom and I were sharing ideas on Pinterest and what I loved best about planning this newborn session was the transformation. I think she went into it thinking of props and poses and within those few weeks, the board actually took a turn to a much more natural, lifestyle-type photo session. (I admire the Anne Geddes and Heidi Hopes of the world; the ladies like my dear friend Nicole who create beautiful images with bonnets and chairs and vintage suitcases and tell a gorgeous story! -- but, it's just not me, and that's OK!) We were on the same page and we were so comfortable on the day of the session. It turned into a "Day in the Life..." and it was a really special day.

* I am a natural light geek. I've been known to rearrange couches and sit clients in front of or behind or to the side of a beautiful window inside. And outside, oh my my my how I lose my mind over a golden sunset and soft dusk light. I step out of my car and am looking for the sun.

*At one of my 2014 weddings, the bride and groom wrote their own vows and read them to one another during the ceremony. Their words were so beautiful. I watched grown men in pews before them wiping away tears and watched women sob over this couple's love. I may or may not have had a shaking hand once or twice. Oh, it was so touching.

* Earlier this year, I photographed my teenage niece. Much like a woman in a boudoir session, I watched her teenage awkwardness disappear and saw her self-confidence rise. Even if it was only for a couple of hours, it was so amazing to have that sort of positive impact on someone with my camera, some poses and positive conversation.

* A client's grandmother recently passed away. I saw on Facebook an image she posted of her and her grandma on her wedding day that I had taken and felt such a blessing inside of me to know that in the smallest of ways, I provided comfort and memories to her on a much different occasion years later. She later told me how much she treasured the moments with her grandma that I captured on her wedding day.

* I can not help but share an "LOL" moment or two. Like when a boudoir client changed into her next outfit and I just heard "I'm sorry my butt is just out there." We laughed but it really wasn't a big deal. I'm focused on flattering poses and great light. There's moments where people see my camera looking their way and they have tripped or walked into a chair (they didn't get hurt!) and a couple of other giggly moments. Things happen, life happens. I trip all the time. I do a lot of backwards walking for images and am constantly walking into things or barely holding my balance. It's life and what I do is very, very real!

Like I said, there's a million things that I have captured, seen, loved and enjoyed, but I wanted to share some of my favorites. The list grows all the time. My blessings multiply with every session and every new client. I love what I do!

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Wendy is at wendyzookphotography@gmail.com !

Spring Sessions (remaining dates available)

It's going to be a busy year! I have a few dates to be solidified with engagements and family sessions, but despite the frigid cold going on everywhere right now, Spring really, truly is going to happen soon and my dates are very limited!

I am accepting engagement, family, headshots and boudoir sessions for the following dates (broken into a couple of central PA dates and the rest in NEPA):

Northeast PA:

April 11, 12, 18, 19

May 2, 3, 25, 30, 31

June 14

Central PA:

May 9, 10, 24

June 21

*These will be the last photo session dates in Blair/Bedford/Cambria counties until November!

If you and I have a tentative date or if you've been waiting for warmer temperatures and sunshine to book, please don't wait too long! I only have these dates listed above for photo sessions and only a limited amount each day!

I can't wait for sunrises and sunsets with all of your smiles!

E-mail Wendy at wendyzookphotography@gmail.com to book your preferred date!

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Looking ahead

I have loved the journey of Wendy Zook Photography so far and get so, so giddy when I think about what the future holds for this business/passion. (It's both, you know!) There are things like trainings and practice, mentorings and behind-the-scenes workshops and webinars. I don't believe you ever need to stop learning in any area and at any time. I pick up my camera at least a couple of times every day, whether it's aimed at my kids or for a brief lap around the block. Every click teaches me something.

Minor things like branding and packaging are in the works, too. You might have noticed my new logo and those fantastic headshots I've been posting any chance I get.

View More: http://hopetaylorphotographyphotos.pass.us/wendy-headshots

I'll be revealing a new pricing layout, too, in a couple of weeks. Part of the new packages will be careful consideration of what I want my finished products and offerings to be for my clients. Currently, my wedding and engagement packages vary in value based off of whether they include a gallery to order prints, an album, a CD or a mix of any or all of those. Soon, all of my packages will be based off of the number of hours and one simple end result -- a fantastic online gallery (and app you can download to any device!) that is easy to use with great, high-quality printing available through them at a reasonable price (or free digital downloads of high-resolution images to your computer or phone). Options like custom-made albums, holiday cards or a USB drive (instead of CDs!) will still be available but will now be an a la carte possibility to consider. These changes are meant to keep it simpler for clients to understand and have control over their final products.

One final tweak coming up for my wedding clients -- a second photographer option on your big day! Double the angles, extra shots and another set of eyes! I have been a second shooter and I am using second shooters this year and I can't tell you how exciting it is to have that other talented person working with the same goal -- to capture your story, in its entirety, of your wedding day. Ask my second shooters and they will tell you I go through a pretty intense process to find the best person for your day. A second photographer is a small add-on option you'll see when I unveil the new pricing soon.

Despite all of the changes, it's still me, it's still Wendy Zook Photography. We're going to work together to make your photo session easy, comfortable, special and timeless. We'll use things like a private Pinterest board to share ideas and likes or dislikes. We'll build a relationship to the point where you feel comfortable sending me a message or text with random questions or suggestions. I love getting to know my clients and watching them become friends.

"Potential" and "possibility" are two of my favorite words. I know Wendy Zook Photography has a lot of both of those in 2015 and I look forward to finding them in love stories, hugs, kisses and first looks.

So, stay tuned for all of the excitement! View More: http://hopetaylorphotographyphotos.pass.us/wendy-headshots

Hello, couples!

Is there love in the air or am I just on a chocolate high from my heart-shaped box of sweets? Definitely both!

If you are a recently-engaged couple, I want to be one of the first to wish you many, many congratulations! I'm so happy that you found me and this business I have built on passion and professionalism. I love photographing couples -- it's like hitting the pause button on different chapters of a love story.

I still remember the way everything felt when my now husband placed a diamond ring on my left hand. I cherish the photographs we had taken of us to capture that moment in time.

If you are recently engaged and looking for a wedding/engagement photographer, look no further! I still have several 2015 weekend dates available.

I'm also offering a special now through February 22nd! If you book by then, you'll receive 20% (yes, TWENTY! One-fifth!) off of my two highest wedding packages! This is an amazing deal!

Reach out to me on Facebook, Instagram or by e-mail (wendyzookphotography@gmail.com) and let's make plans to capture your love story! Congratulations, lovebirds!

The other side of the camera (Who is Wendy?)

I've been so overjoyed meeting new friends recently, thanks to the only-slightly-creepy world of social media and following and being followed by amazing peers and neighbors and everyone in between, that I thought I should do a post all about me. OK, that sounds a bit narcissistic, but consider it a "hello" more than anything else. Even if you've trusted me with capturing a memory in the past, I trust that we will meet again and I think it's important to know who's behind the camera.

Speaking of behind the camera, I found myself on the OTHER side of the camera recently during my mentorship with Hope Taylor Photography and Ms. Hope captured my awkward, uncomfortable self with great skill and a keen eye and transformed me into something worthy of a headshot! Haha! So clients, don't worry, I completely understand what it's like to have someone putting you in angles that maybe don't make sense in the moment because chances are something great is happening and you are going to be very pleasantly surprised.

View More: http://hopetaylorphotographyphotos.pass.us/wendy-headshots

So, hello! Who the heck is this Wendy Zook?

First and foremost, I'm Momma to Zack and Addie. Because of Zack, I am a lover of hugs, sloppy kisses and advocacy for Down Syndrome. Because of Addie, I am a lover of coffee, imagination and colors.

My husband bought me my first "serious" camera in the weeks after our son was born. Two years later, a friend needed a last-minute wedding photographer and the adrenaline, creativity and fun I felt in that day led to part-time pursuing of photography opportunities.

After leaving my full-time job one year ago, I began to dedicate time to Wendy Zook Photography. 2014 was about training and learning and reinventing myself and my passion. 2015 will be about even more incredible things. My hope is that in December we can all look back on this post and this moment I'm freezing in time and shake our heads with how far I've come and how far WZP has journeyed in just a few months.

I am an old soul trapped in a young heart.

I love classic films and current chick flicks but would rather have the radio on (Van Morrison on Pandora lately) or a book on my lap than see a TV on in the room. I wear ballet flats every chance I get and have a silly amount of shoes that look very much alike.

I love it when I capture a story with my photographs. Two people in love strolling through Christmas lights weeks after their engagement. A groom fighting tears as he watches his bride walk towards him. A new business professional finding himself. A woman who feels like a princess for the first time in her life. A woman discovering her sexy side after a boudoir session.

There is adrenaline and emotion (I'm probably crying behind the camera during your vows) in every session I do and I care about each client like a friend.

Aside from my family, photography is what brings me great joy.

It's been a slow journey, but it is a great adventure. And I'm glad you're along for the ride.

Drew D. - Business Headshots

Are you looking for a knowledgeable, caring realtor with a fantastic personality in the Lansdale-Doylestown  area? I know the best one for you! untitled shoot-020

Drew is joining forces with a family member's longtime realty business in southeast Pennsylvania and asked me to take some headshots and business images for him. We met in gorgeous Jim Thorpe, PA, amidst an icy afternoon. Drew was so awesome though, handling bitterly cold drops and a harsh breeze as well as me asking him to pose near beautiful brick and darling doorways.

Headshots are a fun departure from regular portrait photography. Instead of telling a tale like a couple's love story or recent engagement or depicting an entire special day like a wedding, business images need you to depict the story of a person and what they bring to the table for you.

I like to take some time and get to know the person and their business. Do they want to come across strong and serious? Or perhaps more friendly and warm? A mix of the two? And backdrops matter, even in business portraits -- rural versus urban and so on and so on.

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I've said it a thousand times, but I love photography. I love telling stories with my camera. Other than being a mom, this is the best job I've ever known!

Mentoring with Hope Taylor

If you want to be the best, you have to learn from the best.And the lovely, lively Hope Taylor of Fredericksburg, Va., is one of the best in the future of photography. Her use of style and keen fashion sense plus a consistent beautiful golden light in all of her photos is going to take her so far. I was beyond blessed to have spent a day with her, soaking in all of her ideas, watching her in her happy place behind the camera and starting a very long list of things I am excited to do with Wendy Zook Photography.

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Hope reminds me of why I love photography. It's not just the fun hobby or even the occasional paycheck I get to bring to the family; it's about capturing moments and telling stories.

I am so excited to do many great things with WZP in 2015. My mentoring session with Hope is just the beginning. She has given me tools, but more importantly, confidence, encouragement, support and empowerment.

Below are some of my favorite moments from my day of braving the "cold" (those Southerners thought 40 degrees was chilly!), putting it all together and taking those very first steps in the very awesome direction of my future and my potential. Morgan and Johnny are a young couple who are so in love. They are just smitten with each other and it's incredible to watch. It doesn't just stop when the cameras go down. They were so patient with Hope and I talking technical jargon about ISOs and aperture and wide-open lenses.

And the Fredericksburg area is so lovely! This amazing and historic town with tons of character just comes out of nowhere as you travel down a quiet highway for a couple of miles. We did photographs at a Civil War battlefield site, an old silk mill, a gorgeous field draped in ivy and golden sunbeams and then caught a sunset at a nearby railroad station. Amazing!

I'll begin sharing some new things soon, so stay tuned! Make sure to check out this page to catch the last few days of my Valentines' specials!

A & G (engagement)

It's not very often as a photographer that you're able to watch a future client/couple in real life before you're even hired. With Andy and Gina, though, I knew there was going to be a ring before she did! (Well, OK, I'm sure she had a hunch, but still...!) You see, I was the Maid of Honor at Andy's sister's October wedding, and while we were talking, Andy told me he was going to propose to Gina soon and he wanted me to photograph an engagement session.

I remember watching the way he looked at her with such love as they spun around on the dance floor and I can still hear her laughter at something he said to make her smile. I knew they were the epitome of love and I was keeping my fingers crossed that I would indeed be able to attempt to capture some of their story with my camera.

Fast forward two months to a chilly night at Peddlers' Village, New Hope, Pennsylvania, with a giant, gorgeous ring on Gina's left hand and a lot more of their laughter in the air.

Gina and I had shared ideas together on Pinterest, which is a huge help in making sure the photographer and the client are on the same page. (We even incorporated her love of running and the fact that he proposed at the end of a race into our session!) We had photos near a carousel, along quiet wintry paths, breaks along benches and inside of coffeehouses and so many "picture-perfect" stops in between.

I am so grateful for this time with Andy and Gina and look forward to watching more of their love story unfold.

CHRISTMAS GIVEAWAY!

It's the season of giving and my heart is full. I am blessed with so much and thankful for so much. So, I'm giving away, giving back... Between now and Dec. 23rd, I am accepting e-mails, FaceBook messages, Instagram comments and any other form of communication to accept nominees for a COMPLIMENTARY photo session to take place in early 2015. It's a free session, with editing and a private online gallery to view and order photos.

You can nominate yourself, a recently-engaged couple, a superstar senior, or anyone your heart is asking you to share with me.

For every FaceBook share (find me here) or Instagram repost (@wendyzookphotography), I'm adding another entry for your nominee.

I'll be announcing the winner on Christmas Day here!

*Does not apply to any session already scheduled *Does not include weddings

So please share and best of luck!

Merry, merry Christmas!

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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!

Fall, Photos, Families... and what's coming up!

Last weekend, Wendy spent time on a beautiful Autumn afternoon photographing two special families. The "E" family -- two young girls, a teenage son and Mom and Dad, are the epitome of beautiful inside and out -- they are constantly giving back to their community and instantly create a positive, upbeat atmosphere. I so enjoyed my time at their property and appreciated their patience and hospitality. An excited pup followed us around (and joined in some pictures!); the youngest girl was a model in the making; the older girl was quiet with a gorgeous smile; son was so cooperative in what is clearly not a dream afternoon for a teenage boy; and mom and dad looked like they were newlyweds or even dating!

The "A" family met me at the public squares of a nearby downtown where Mr. R, almost two years old, let me play in the leaves with him and bask in some great late afternoon sunshine. Nothing puts a smile on a little boy's face quite like a goofy photographer with a dancing leaf on her head! I love it when parents put their trust in me even when I know they're worried we're not getting any shots because of a running and exploring toddler -- we wound up with some GREAT final shots of R's blue eyes.

I had rented a beautiful lens for these sessions and I'm so excited to share that Santa is bringing me not only me very own version of this lens, but also an INCREDIBLE new camera body! My future sessions will have not only my practice and trainings and experience, but now also some really amazing technology behind it!

I have several sessions in the rest of November and then December and am still booking weddings for Spring, Summer and Fall of 2015!

AND THAT'S NOT ALL! At the end of this month, I am doing an entire day of mentoring with a very talented, very stylish photographer named Hope Taylor. (You MUST check her out HERE!) We've got some models lined up and I have a list of questions for her. I'll have new head shots and most definitely, new enthusiasm, passion and ideas! I can't wait to start yet another exciting chapter with YOU! Let's get together in 2015 and capture some life moments!

Without further ado, some Fall Family photos to brighten your Monday!

Autumn Engagement (McKenna & Kyle -- and Wyatt!)

I was on my way to an engagement session with one of my 2015 wedding couples recently and while enjoying some country music in the car and a rainbow to my right, I knew it was going to be a special morning. McKenna and Kyle and their son Wyatt celebrated their love on a beautiful Fall morning -- crisp and a little drizzle here and there, but nothing was going to dampen their day.

We were so fortunate in that we didn't even have to stray off of their property to enjoy some great backdrops -- barns and farm buildings of all different textures, a wooden rail fence, a calming creek and of course tons of Fall foliage.

Wyatt was a ham and Kyle was a good sport and really, when your groom starts coming up with fun and creative ideas during the session, you know you've made him feel comfortable!

I am so looking forward to their wedding next year. I know their rustic touches and fun, laid-back personalities will shine through and I'm so grateful to have been chosen to be a part of their journey!

Witches & Wine (special events)

Wendy recently was invited to take part in a charity fundraiser for the Luzerne County Dress for Success. The event, called Witches & Wine, was held at the Woodlands Inn and featured about 40 vendors from all different areas (food stuff, crafts, jewelry, clothing, makeup, etc) and hundreds of women behind and in front of the tables dressed up in costume! It was a fun event for sure and I felt so incredibly welcome -- a blessing when you're new in town! -- and met several great ladies I hope to call friends.

I've already been invited back to next year's event and you better believe I'll be there -- with camera and witch's hat!

(Check out their FaceBook page HERE.)

Do you have a special event coming up soon? Do you need a photographer to donate time to help publicize your hard work and capture some images for future use? E-mail me today!

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Giving back

Community service and volunteerism has always been important to me. We're only given one community, one world -- when given the chance, I feel we should do our small part to make it better or richer in some way. Wendy Zook Photography will be represented at two events on opposite sides of the Commonwealth this weekend!

On Friday, Oct. 17, there is a fantastic event -- the 2nd Annual Witches & Wine event at the Woodlands Inn in Luzerne County. The event, 6-9 p.m., has raffles (including a complimentary session from me!), swag bags (they look AMAZING), and, best of all -- I'll be photographing the whole thing! I can't wait to capture some images of dressed-up attendees, excited winners and just a special event with all proceeds benefiting the Luzerne County Dress for Success.

I'll be creating an online photo album of photos from the night, so e-mail me your contact information if you'd like to view this!

Then, on Sunday, there will be a Multi-Vendor Bingo event at Memorial Park in Martinsburg, Blair County, PA. I'll be there in spirit, but my businesses will be there in the form of a complimentary photo session and $100 worth of Mary Kay goodies! All proceeds go towards the park, which is an incredible and invaluable place for our community and our family. Zack and Addie and their friends had a hundred playdates on that playground and Zack went to a special-needs classroom on property. The public library and a bowling alley are there, too.

Both are great events with important causes -- and a bit of WZP, too! :-)

(Another exciting event this weekend? I'm photographing my latest 2015 wedding couple for their engagement session -- and I am SO excited!)

Stay tuned for photos from Witches & Wine and my engagement session!

Have a great weekend!

Handsome boys

My camera has spied several handsome boys lately! While I love the lace and pigtails of a shoot with a couple of girls, there is something to be said for the soft, serious side of boys of all ages.

Last week, I photographed two little brothers, Owen and his 'Baby Alex.' They were so cooperative and very, very photogenic! (The last time I photographed Owen, he screamed for at least 75% of the session!) We had fun around a local park and kept it easy and fun for the boys, just grabbing great shots here and there in between playing and climbing and exploring. I think it worked out great!

Then, a couple of days ago, I photographed my first senior, Zach. Although he was not a big fan of the session idea, he was a good sport and we captured some great images of him in his soccer uniform and then out and about on the family farm where he works. I love how comfortable he got at the farm. He's got a great smile when he lets one slip out!

I have a few more photo sessions coming up in the next week or so, including the long-awaited wedding this weekend of Megan and Joe and a beautiful girl I photographed about a year and a half ago.

I'm booking photo sessions for next week in the Blair/Bedford counties areas and then am working on filling up my schedule in the Scranton area at the end of August and September in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre areas. Schedule your session now! The camera is the last thing to be packed.

And now, some handsome gents:

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Blue eyes x2

A last-minute photo session, again in my backyard, captured the gorgeous greens of our surroundings alongside two siblings who have quite possibly the brightest, bluest eyes my camera has ever seen.

This is a very special family and I was so honored to have their time, patience, cooperation and pure joy in my world for a short while.

And now, may I present, Cora and Wyatt, both celebrating birthdays!

PS -- Accepting sessions for July 22, 24, 25 and Aug.8 and 15 in the Blair/Bedford areas!

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