frederick family photography

A Momma and Her Kiddos: Family Photos Among the Pine Trees on a Farm

While most of my photos take place at some of my favorite waterfront and forested locations around Lake Linganore, every once in a while, a change of scenery is needed. It’s exciting to find a new location now and then, especially with a returning client and their family.

For Mindi’s section with her three children, we explored a nearby Christmas tree farm to capture beautiful greenery and backdrops.

Mindi has overcome intense difficulties and battles of strength over the past couple of years and in that time she has never wavered in her incredible ability as a mother to her kiddos. She’s patient, strong, funny and so loving. I love watching her in action as a mother.

During our session, the kids were free to explore, run, jump and, perhaps most fun of all, photobomb one another in glee and fun.

My favorite part, however, might have just been watching Mindi love on her kids and her kids love on her. Their bond is so beautiful and so strong. There were hugs, squeezes, tickles and so many giggles.

It is my hope that you can feel the joy in these images — and this great love, too. Enjoy the peeks!

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Lakeside Love and a Sunset: Capturing a Momma and Her Kiddos

Marta is an incredible inspiration as a mother -- in 30 minutes time with her and her children, you can see her strength and love. You can feel the joy she brings to her son and daughter. Their laughter rings loud and gleefully whenever they are together.

Marta reached out to me in the midst of a difficult period in her life. She wanted photos that would capture her children and their love to begin this next new chapter of hope.

We explored the beach and esplanade area at Lake Linganore and followed the kiddos as they laughed and played together. They ran, jumped, played with toys and even dug their hands into the sand at the beach. We watched the sun fall onto the water.

I also loved that Marta’s mom and her partner joined us for the session. Their love for one another and for their grandchildren was so beautiful and powerful.

Love comes in so many different ways and is my favorite thing to capture with my camera.

Enjoy this peek into Marta and her family’s day at the beach.

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Capturing a Family in All of Its Realness and Silliness: A Lake Linganore Family Photo Session with Wendy Zook Photography

I know that everyone wants a “perfect” family photo session -- all group hugs and posed moments -- but I really believe there is beauty in the more “imperfect” moments.

I’ve photographed Michelle’s family several times now and I feel luckier and happier each time I do. I have captured her and her daughter playing in the snow and family photos last year and now these fall family photos this year.

Last year, we laughed because little Dean was bribed with M&Ms that became visible during big smiles throughout most of the session. And this time, Skittles were on hand and Mom and Dad actually urged him to give me some smiles with the Skittles showing.

I love families who appreciate the “real” moments and embrace the candid, the silly and the authentic. Dean with the Skittles in his mouth is just one example of this and they were some of Michelle’s favorite photos.

During our session, we let the kids take charge and explore some forested lakeside paths here in Lake Linganore. We still got the posed moments and the group hugs, but we also captured those candy-filled, grins, too. And that’s a complete story, I think.

Enjoy these peeks!

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Oh, boy! Capturing the fun and joy in a family of boys at a lakefront family photo session

Watching repeat clients and their families return to in front of my camera is one of the greatest joys of my business. I first met Brooke and her family last Autumn while her husband was away on a deployment. I loved hanging out with Brooker and her two oldest boys. We explored, ran around and captured some fun moments of them with their mom.

This year, Brooke asked me to capture her, her husband and her boys with their new baby brother. Exploring another Lake Linganore neighborhood area with this now family of five was so special. I loved watching the middle brother love up on his new baby brother and I so enjoyed seeing the eldest brother explore the woods, throwing sticks and collecting rocks.

Brooke is an incredibly positive, upbeat, patient mother to her boys and I love watching her in action with them. Her boys have unique and differing personalities and it’s a privilege to capture each of them individually and as a trio.

Both sessions so far have been full of joy and love -- from a mom and two boys to a family of five. Enjoy these peeks into their most recent family photo session.

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Lakefront Family Memories: A Lake Linganore Photo Session with a Family of Five

This family includes one of my dearest friends in Maryland and her gorgeous family. Rachel and Adam and their kiddos have been an important part of our lives since we moved to Lake Linganore just over two years ago. Their eldest daughter has been in our daughter’s class two of the past three school years and are two-thirds of a self-proclaimed “Pirate Crew.” We go camping together and have enjoyed numerous birthday parties, ladies nights’, playdates, Girl Scout events and more together.

Rachel is a fantastic mother who always only yearns for more and better time with her two girls and one boy. She actually even makes the outfits for her kids for their first day of school and photo sessions -- the dresses you see the girls wearing (and her skirt!) in these photos were all made by Rachel, late at night, in the quiet of her home after bedtime.

We met for our session near a trail by the dam at end of Lake Linganore, right in front of their home. We used the beautiful early-morning light peeking through some mountain haze for photos along the water, the path and even on their dock.

I love the wildness and freeness you feel with this family and in these photos -- joy and exploration and giddy fun.

Enjoy this peek into a day in the life of this important family with perfect details, huge smiles and a lot of love.

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A Boy and His Momma: A Giveaway Session That Gives Back in Love

Laura first contacted me as a very excited and grateful winner from a giveaway I did with a local family event last year. She was yearning to capture her son, Ethan before the next phase of childhood flew by them without any images to remember it.

Laura and Ethan have had a difficult year and as our session came closer and closer, I was so excited to give them one morning of fun, adventure, love and peace. I couldn’t wait to sneak mom into the photos, too, and I’m glad she didn’t say no. It’s so important for mommas to get into the photos, too, regardless of what they’re wearing, how they feel about themselves or anything else. I want all these child clients of mine to be able to remember their parents through images.

We met in Lake Linganore at the edge of the lake where it meets the dam. We had water, forests, paths in various backdrops during our session and it quickly became one of my new favorite locations for neighborhood photos.

Ethan was such a joy. He kept collecting acorns and leaves to show me and his mom and I loved catching his great smile and hearty laugh. The way he loved on Laura, too, was so beautiful to witness -- so many hugs and kisses and “I love yous”.

Enjoy these peeks at an early-morning, lakefront session between a momma and her boy.

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A Family of Four at Sunset at the Lake

I’m feeling so fortunate this year that my Fall family photo sessions are a beautiful mix of return clients (thank you for trusting me again with this honor) and new faces that have allowed me the joy of capturing memories of their families.

When Meredith first reached out to me, I had seen her name and heard of her through different neighborhood circles and events but had never actually officially met in person. And I’d definitely never photographed her beautiful family before. And it was such a joy!

We met on a gorgeous Friday night, almost at sunset, at a neighborhood beach here in Lake Linganore, Frederick County, and allowed her 6-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son to explore the nearby trail and beach. We caught some sweet daddy-and-daughter kisses, mommy-and-son hugs and so much fun adventuring candid moments.

My son, Zach, knows their son and I loved chatting with Meredith especially about the boys and all the kids’ school time. 


You can truly feel the love between Meredith and her husband and between all four of them. It was such a joy meeting them and I’m hoping that they become those repeat clients who continue to trust me in capturing their memories in future years, too.

Enjoy this peek!

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Returning Clients and a Sunset Photo Session on the Beach

I first met Jen and her beautiful family last winter after her second son was born. We held an in-home lifestyle newborn photo session at their gorgeous home in December. I loved watching Big Brother hold the baby with such joy and admiration. And Jen is such a natural mother -- she is patient, kind, graceful and so giving.

This Fall, I’ve had the honor of capturing their first official photos as a family of four. We met at a local neighborhood beach with a sunset and a shimmering reflective lake as our backdrop. The boys loved cuddling together and playing in the sand.

Jen is so beautifully gorgeous -- inside as well as on the outside -- and seeing her in that easy motherhood role with her boys was so special to me. They twirled, ran together, held hands and enjoyed time together exploring the area together.

Jen told me later that she was in happy tears when she saw the final photos from her family session and that is just beyond wonderful to hear. We only get so many years -- and so many autumns -- with our children -- how lucky we are to be able to freeze time now and then on each phase in life.

Enjoy this peek into this incredible family of four and all of their joy and love!

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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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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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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!

Wendy Zook Photography | Frederick MD family session, Frederick MD family photographer, Maryland family photographer, Frederick Maryland family photographer, family session, family portraits in Maryland, MD family photos
Wendy Zook Photography | Frederick MD family session, Frederick MD family photographer, Maryland family photographer, Frederick Maryland family photographer, family session, family portraits in Maryland, MD family photos
Wendy Zook Photography | Frederick MD family session, Frederick MD family photographer, Maryland family photographer, Frederick Maryland family photographer, family session, family portraits in Maryland, MD family photos
Wendy Zook Photography | Frederick MD family session, Frederick MD family photographer, Maryland family photographer, Frederick Maryland family photographer, family session, family portraits in Maryland, MD family photos
Wendy Zook Photography | Frederick MD family session, Frederick MD family photographer, Maryland family photographer, Frederick Maryland family photographer, family session, family portraits in Maryland, MD family photos
Wendy Zook Photography | Frederick MD family session, Frederick MD family photographer, Maryland family photographer, Frederick Maryland family photographer, family session, family portraits in Maryland, MD family photos
Wendy Zook Photography | Frederick MD family session, Frederick MD family photographer, Maryland family photographer, Frederick Maryland family photographer, family session, family portraits in Maryland, MD family photos
Wendy Zook Photography | Frederick MD family session, Frederick MD family photographer, Maryland family photographer, Frederick Maryland family photographer, family session, family portraits in Maryland, MD family photos
Wendy Zook Photography | Frederick MD family session, Frederick MD family photographer, Maryland family photographer, Frederick Maryland family photographer, family session, family portraits in Maryland, MD family photos
Wendy Zook Photography | Frederick MD family session, Frederick MD family photographer, Maryland family photographer, Frederick Maryland family photographer, family session, family portraits in Maryland, MD family photos
Wendy Zook Photography | Frederick MD family session, Frederick MD family photographer, Maryland family photographer, Frederick Maryland family photographer, family session, family portraits in Maryland, MD family photos
Wendy Zook Photography | Frederick MD family session, Frederick MD family photographer, Maryland family photographer, Frederick Maryland family photographer, family session, family portraits in Maryland, MD family photos
Wendy Zook Photography | Frederick MD family session, Frederick MD family photographer, Maryland family photographer, Frederick Maryland family photographer, family session, family portraits in Maryland, MD family photos

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!