maryland family photographer

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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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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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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Celebrating a First Birthday with an Extended Family Photo Shoot in Lake Linganore, Maryland

There are many ways to celebrate a first birthday, but I can’t think of many that are more fun and more real than a felt crown, a hot dog costume, a much-loved neighborhood beach and several adoring family members to dote on the little ones.

I loved how calm and laidback mom Kelsey was when setting up her photo session to celebrate her son B’s first birthday and during the actual session itself. When B’s big sis wanted to wear a hot dog costume, Kelsey just went with the flow and said “this is real life!”

It’s the thing I love about lifestyle outdoor photo sessions -- you can allow the kids (and adults!) to be their true selves -- whether that’s as a hot dog or twirling in a pretty summery dress (we did both!). While we explored a shady trail on a hot summer day in our Lake Linganore Coldstream neighborhood, we captured hugs, high-fives, kisses and snuggles. We also captured walks and tender moments with grandparents and playing in the grass, sand and water near Coldstream Beach.

I love the posed family photos but I’m most excited about the candid moments of splashing, lollipops, dancing and giggles.

Near the end of the session, we camped out on Coldstream Beach in Lake Linganore and let B play with some Cool Whip (a fun alternative to a cake!) and then watched both kids enjoy the coolness at the water’s edge. Those summertime smiles are so special.

Happy Birthday, little B!

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Wendy Zook Photography | Frederick MD family photographer, Frederick Maryland family photographer, Frederick MD photographer, Frederick family photographer, family photographer, family portraits, birthday photo shoot, birthday photos, MD birthday photos, first birthday, first birthday session, Lake Linganore, Maryland family portraits, Lake Linganore, Maryland photographer, Lake Linganore, Maryland birthday session
Wendy Zook Photography | Frederick MD family photographer, Frederick Maryland family photographer, Frederick MD photographer, Frederick family photographer, family photographer, family portraits, birthday photo shoot, birthday photos, MD birthday photos, first birthday, first birthday session, Lake Linganore, Maryland family portraits, Lake Linganore, Maryland photographer, Lake Linganore, Maryland birthday session
Wendy Zook Photography | Frederick MD family photographer, Frederick Maryland family photographer, Frederick MD photographer, Frederick family photographer, family photographer, family portraits, birthday photo shoot, birthday photos, MD birthday photos, first birthday, first birthday session, Lake Linganore, Maryland family portraits, Lake Linganore, Maryland photographer, Lake Linganore, Maryland birthday session
Wendy Zook Photography | Frederick MD family photographer, Frederick Maryland family photographer, Frederick MD photographer, Frederick family photographer, family photographer, family portraits, birthday photo shoot, birthday photos, MD birthday photos, first birthday, first birthday session, Lake Linganore, Maryland family portraits, Lake Linganore, Maryland photographer, Lake Linganore, Maryland birthday session
Wendy Zook Photography | Frederick MD family photographer, Frederick Maryland family photographer, Frederick MD photographer, Frederick family photographer, family photographer, family portraits, birthday photo shoot, birthday photos, MD birthday photos, first birthday, first birthday session, Lake Linganore, Maryland family portraits, Lake Linganore, Maryland photographer, Lake Linganore, Maryland birthday session
Wendy Zook Photography | Frederick MD family photographer, Frederick Maryland family photographer, Frederick MD photographer, Frederick family photographer, family photographer, family portraits, birthday photo shoot, birthday photos, MD birthday photos, first birthday, first birthday session, Lake Linganore, Maryland family portraits, Lake Linganore, Maryland photographer, Lake Linganore, Maryland birthday session
Wendy Zook Photography | Frederick MD family photographer, Frederick Maryland family photographer, Frederick MD photographer, Frederick family photographer, family photographer, family portraits, birthday photo shoot, birthday photos, MD birthday photos, first birthday, first birthday session, Lake Linganore, Maryland family portraits, Lake Linganore, Maryland photographer, Lake Linganore, Maryland birthday session

Inspired by this fun birthday session? Pin this image or any from the post above to save inspiration!

Wendy Zook Photography | Frederick MD family photographer, Frederick Maryland family photographer, Frederick MD photographer, Frederick family photographer, family photographer, family portraits, birthday photo shoot, birthday photos, MD birthday photos, first birthday, first birthday session, Lake Linganore, Maryland family portraits, Lake Linganore, Maryland photographer, Lake Linganore, Maryland birthday session

Offering Sunflower Sessions in Frederick County Maryland!

“A sunflower field is like a sky with a thousand suns.”

Sunflowers are so many people’s favorite flowers -- their tall stalks and bright blooms make them unique and their fleeting flowers only last a few weeks each summer which makes them even more special.

Wendy Zook Photography has teamed up with Valley View Acres in Middletown to offer a handful of limited sunflower sessions.

We’re offering 30 or 60-minute sessions at Valley View to enjoy the farm’s rolling hills, amazing views of nearby mountain ridges and of course the dazzling yellow flowers. We can do portraits, children’s photography, couples photos or a family photo session in the time.

Sessions are best scheduled in the early morning or late afternoon and early evening hours to enjoy some soft golden sunlight and cooler temperatures.

The Valley View Acres sunflower photo sessions with Wendy Zook Photography will only happen this one week in 2019, so grab a spot and let’s go exploring in the flowers!

You can follow the link here for more information and details and to book your session.

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