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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The Docal Family: Celebrate the Special Photo Sessions with Wendy Zook Photography

This year was the first time I offered complimentary photo sessions for families with children with special needs. The blending together of my advocacy for the National Down Syndrome Society and special needs with my passion for photography is so important to me. I have a gift that I can give to people I can scream “I get it!” to and that, to me, is really a huge blessing.

My Celebrate the Special photo sessions for families with children with special needs offer a donation to the National Down Syndrome Society but no payment whatsoever to me. The sessions are unique in that we find a location that is safe and most comfortable for your child and family -- whether that’s your backyard or a state park or somewhere in between. We also take our time and use things that will keep everyone happy.

One of my first families to reach out to me about a Celebrate the Special photo session is the Docal family. I first heard from the eldest sister, Maria, who heard about the photo sessions from a nearby cousin. Maria’s first email shared how much her younger brother, Ory, 11, impacted her life.

“My brother has changed my world and my family's world for the better,” she said.

We set up a family photo session for her, her brother, two sisters and her parents at their home with a gorgeous and large backyard this summer. Meeting them all was like feeling like you were already part of the family. There were hugs and questions and just total kindness.

Ory reminded me so much of my son -- and not just because they both have Down syndrome -- because of their smiles and love of family and sports and sweet cuddly personality. Photographing him and his family was such a joy.

Ory’s mom told me before we started that they haven’t been able to do a family photo of all of the siblings together since Ory was born. I cannot tell you what happiness it brought me that I could give her that long-awaited gift of memories and family.

Enjoy these peeks into an incredible family.
For more information on Celebrate the Special photo sessions, go HERE.

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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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Adrianna is 1 {Watermelon-Themed Outdoor Childrens Birthday Photos in Frederick, Maryland}

Some families just make an impact on your world.


The W family came into our lives through my husband’s work and their move into the Frederick area and quickly became much greater than a co-worker or acquaintances. I’ve loved having the privilege of getting to know them, laughing with momma Steph and watching baby Adrianna grow in these past several months.

Adrianna is one of the happiest babies I’ve ever known -- her huge smile instantly lights up the room, takes away all the world’s worries and makes you belly laugh. She’s a sweet girl who adores her parents, loves a little sunshine and breeze on her face (don’t we all?), puts up with barking dogs and yelling kiddos and long car rides and gives the absolute best cuddles.

When Stephanie asked me about photographing Adrianna for her first birthday, I was so honored and so excited.

Stephanie, Al and Adrianna arrived to the watermelon-themed summer photo shoot looking like something out of a magazine. We captured images around Lake Linganore in Frederick County, Maryland on a beautiful summertime morning. We let Adrianna lead the way in the session while holding on to a nearby tree, giving hugs to her mom and dad and touching the grass (not a fan!) for the first part of the session and then gave her some sweet and refreshing watermelon to eat, play with and make a general mess with in a shady corner.

I love how her blue eyes pop and her excitement shows. She was so easy and go-with-the-flow and we captured some fun summery birthday images. But I most loved watching Steph and Al as her parents, watching with huge smiles and such pride.

These moments fly by so quickly and one day, this first birthday will be a very foggy, far-away memory. I’m so glad we were able to hit the pause button and capture some of these moments for them.

Happy Birthday, Adrianna! You are so loved!

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Inspired by this fun watermelon birthday celebration? Pin this image or any from the post above!

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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.

Valentine's Specials

There are only six weeks until Valentine's Day! We just got through Christmas and New Year's Day and, if you're like me, the holiday decorations are just coming down and I am just catching up on unpacking and laundry and organization. But, before you know it, it's going to be time to recognize the significant others (or just some super-special people in your life) and we all know chocolate doesn't always win for most romantic gift.

So why not the gift of memories, captured by me?!

Wendy Zook Photography is offering not one, not two but THREE amazing promotions!

Pick the one that most suits your needs and wants and contact me ASAP before space and time both run out!

1. Boudoir Special This is a fun (no, really, I promise!) two-hour session at a private location with multiple outfits, props, etc. We will create a 10x10 album of at least 20 classy edited photos showing you at your sexiest to present to your significant other for a wedding day surprise, anniversary or Valentine's present. Cost: $125 (Must book by Jan. 15 and session must take place by Feb. 1)

2. Lovey-dovey mini-sessions This is a 45-minute session to take place at the location of your choosing. Great for gifts or for updating the portraits on your wall, you'll receive an online gallery of at least 20 photos plus FIVE complimentary 5x7s or THREE 8x10 prints. Cost: $95 (Must book by Jan. 15 and session must take place by Feb. 14)

3. Single and Super! So you're not taken? No problem! Grab a friend, grab your sisters, grab your pet pooch or any other loved one and enjoy a fun and easy 45-minute session at the location of your choosing, plus an online gallery of at least 20 carefully-edited portraits to view and order. Cost: $75 (Must book by Jan. 15 and session must take place by Feb. 28)

I can't wait to capture some love and joy these next six weeks!

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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!

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!

Upcoming photo sessions (Blair County/Bedford County)

**UPDATE**WZP has changed the dates of the Blair/Bedford-area sessions to the weekend of Oct. 18-19! Contact Wendy ASAP for openings!

Attention, Blair/Bedford counties: Wendy Zook Photography is comin' back to you for some special photo session events!

Oct. 18-19 Wendy will be offering discounted Autumn mini-sessions at Shawnee State Park, Schellsburg. Limited sessions available!

45-minute sessions with gourds, pumpkins, hay bales. Limit to four people/session ($15/additional person) At least 12 edited photos will be presented, in a password-protected online gallery, by Oct. 30. Cost: $50

Nov. 26 A one-day only opportunity to take advantage of family gathering together for Thanksgiving. Create a photo album or box of prints for a loved one's Christmas present. (Grandma or Mom need a collection of beautiful images of their children, siblings, grandchildren?) Or, use the photos to create lovely holiday cards! 60-90-minute sessions with two outfit changes at the location of your choosing. Limited spots available! Online gallery for printing, CD of retouched images or a beautiful canvas album are all available for your choice of a finished product. Contact me for pricing!

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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Some lovely lil ladies

I'm overdue in sharing some of my recent magic! In May, I photographed a two-year-old beauty who has my heart and could be a model. The best part was that we did most of the photographs right here in my backyard. I've always wanted to take advantage of the beautiful fields and mountains out back and this was our chance.

And this week, I capped off a celebration of a sweet lil (almost) one-year-old and her parents at their home nearby. She too could have been a model and we came out with some really special shots.

Bright blue eyes and deep brown eyes comin' up!

(BIG NEWS COMING SOON!... but for now, enjoy Ms. Aubrey and Ms. Brynlee)

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Kacey & Drew (engagement)

The thing I love about photography is the ability to sometimes, with a little light and a little luck and a lot of love, capture a moment, a memory. I love meeting new friends and for an hour or two becoming a member of a beautiful family, but to share the click of my shutter with one of my favorite people in the world and one of my most cherished friends... that, that is perfection for me.

My college friend Kacey is getting married in October to the love of her life, Drew. I am the lucky Maid of Honor... and if that wasn't enough honor for this gal, Kacey also asked me to take some engagement photos of her and Drew to use for Save the Date cards and a guestbook.

I've photographed a lot of happy couples in the past two years and I've been so happy with the moments I've been able to capture -- first kisses and wedding vows and parents-to-be and so many other special moments. But this shoot was different. Maybe because I personally know the journey Kacey has been on or the love story that lies between the Giants lover and her Eagles fan, or quite likely, maybe because of the fact that these two make me believe in soul mates, EVERY snap of the shutter was a moment.

There were times I almost felt like I was intruding, standing in the middle of a candid laugh or so enjoying watching the way he looked at her like there was no one, no other thing in this entire big world.

We got so many great backgrounds and locations around the northern suburbs of Philadelphia on a day with beautiful weather, but none of that is the reason for such great moments.

Love is the reason. True, beautiful love. The happiest, purest, most joyful love I have ever witnessed.

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