rochesterphotgrapher

2016 Behind-the-Scenes fun from Wendy Zook Photography

Wendy Zook Photography had an AMAZING 2016 -- it was our first full-blown, full-time year of wedding photography, with more than 20 weddings captured. About 12 other love stories started their photographic journey with WZP through engagement sessions in four different states! 

We've been looking ahead to 2017 for the past few weeks of "slow season" -- working on a quicker turnaround process for our next clients, improving business management things here at the desk and already participating in our first educational event, thanks to a one-on-one Skype mentoring with Hope Taylor Photography

However, I find it hard to completely focus on 2017 until I take just a few more moments to reflect on the gifts and blessings 2016 brought to me. And there will definitely be some embarrasing behind-the-scenes images of Yours Truly acting awkward, goofy and all sorts of in-the-moment.

I'm extremely proud of this 365-day journey. I began 2016 sitting in a coffee shop with a potential bride. Sweaty palms, nervous giggles and a lot of coffee... and now, a happy WZP bride and a sweet new friend. Beyond any beautiful image I've taken (and I'm really proud of so many), I'm so happy with the new friends I have made -- fellow photographers and couples. I'm proud of the ways I have improved my craft -- finding a style all my own and not conforming to popular colors or edits or anything that's not true to me; improving myself technically, too. 

It used to be really tricky for me to be a leader or in the spotlight. Unfortunately, a wedding photographer is not a field that allows for one to be a quiet or meek wallflower. So, this year, I really grew into the moment-capturer I wanted to be. I'm not exactly dancing on tabletops or screaming through a megaphone, but I've again found my way, wrangling large and loud bridal parties and excited, well-meaning mothers-in-law with snafus in weather predictions, medical emergencies and everything in between, and doing so with grace and confidence and kindness. 

I'm also taking leadership to a new role as leader of the Rochester chapter of the Rising Tide Society's monthly Tuesdays Together meetings -- an opportunity for local creatives of all fields to gather and network, talk business and have all those much-needed "you get it" moments. 

On a personal level, 2016 has been very, very good to us, too. We celebrated seven years of marriage and 10 years of our love story (which began with a blind date!). Our son turned 6 and started an amazing school sure to bring out amazing potential. And our firecracker-personality gal turned 4 and began full-day Pre-K recently. I started practicing Yoga and indulging in occasional Hikyoga adventures, too. And we started the year with celebrations with the National Down Syndrome and the incredible experience had while photographing models with an extra chromosome last winter. I feel truly, truly blessed for all the great things I've discovered and uncovered these past 12 months. 

And now, a little less mushy and a whole lot of awkward. I present insanely goofy images of myself deep in thought and on the move and testing light and making my couples laugh. 

Thank you to my phenomenal second shooters this year -- Kristin, Jenny, Dani and Stacey -- for keeping me sane, organized, laughing and dancing. Enjoy the photos! And Happy New Year! 

{Some backstories:
For one of these weddings, I was REALLY sick with a stomach bug. In the middle of trips to the country club bathroom, I was trying to set up settings with my second shooter outside in FREEZING temperatures for a glowstick departure. 

I apparently really like to take romantic walks with my couples as a third wheel. The prettier the location, the better, haha! 

Dislikes: Speckled light and uneven terrain. 
Likes: Funny faces, my new FitBit and pretty wedding day dresses. 

If I realize I've walked into my second's shot, I try to cover my face and act like I'm invisible. 

Final thoughts: I LOVE my couples. I'm so happy.}

 

Yellow and gray and a beautiful wedding day {A New Jersey Wedding for a Texas Couple}

After getting to know my couples for sometimes two years before their big day, I always experience a moment or two that's most like a Proud Big Sister when it's time to capture their wedding day. 

For Mallorie and Eric, that was even more so the case. Mallorie's older sister and Matron of Honor Allison is one of my dearest friends from childhood. I didn't know Mallorie as well as I wish I had but I've been lucky enough to watch her journey from afar over the years. 

And with a backdrop of weeping willows and lakefront rows of white chairs on a sunny September afternoon, I watched Mallorie's parents walk her down the aisle as her REAL big sister proudly watched. 

I'll come back to Eric in a minute, but let's talk first about the INCREDIBLE Mallorie. She chose a lace-sleeved, tea-length dress with insane Betsey Johnson heels. Mallorie rocked some gorgeous long, sideswept curls and some Old-Hollywood red lips and she looked so fun and elegant, twirling, hands in her dress pockets (um, yep!). 

And Eric was handsome and happy, smiling every minute of their day. The way he looks at Mallorie is so, so beautiful. He just worships her and respects her and it's obvious with every glance. 

Mallorie and Eric chose to do a First Look (peeking at each other prior to the ceremony) and we set Eric up at the bottom and Mallorie at the top of a tall wooden staircase at the historic inn where their reception was held. After some quiet moments alone, they and their bridal party did some photos there and at the ceremony site, a beautiful former convent on a huge plot of land with the aforementioned trees and water. 

I promised Mallorie that some gorgeous images could be captured if we trudged down a hill of tall grass to the water's edge and there, with gorgeous light shimmering through the leaves and the love and comfort of those two, we froze in time some of my favorite wedding photography moments so far. 

A sweet ceremony (complete with their pup!) led to a delicious cocktail hour and hours of impressive dance moves back at the inn. 

They grabbed the mic with five minutes to go, thanked all of their loved ones and danced together, swaying in each other's arms as 100 friends and family circled them, applauding and cheering and dancing. Eric picked Mallorie up in his arms and twirled her once, twice and I couldn't help but feel those Proud Big Sister vibes I always feel during my weddings. All of their planning and preparing and thoughtful gestures for their loved ones created this beautiful day, this beautiful moment. 

 

Congratulations! Here are some of my favorite images!

 

Be sure to visit some of these amazing vendors, too:

Ceremony Venue: Rutherfurd Hall, Allamuchy, New Jersey

Reception Venue: David's Country Inn, Hackettstown, New Jersey

Florist: Calico Flowers, Hackettstown, New Jersey

Cake: Palermo's Bakery, Ridgefield Park, New Jersey

DJ/MC: This is It! Entertainment, Red Bank, New Jersey

Videographer: Noah Rosenblatt, Red Bank, New Jersey

 

Heather and John {Engagement} -- Silly Adventures in Wilkes-Barre, PA

I love a lot of things that came into play while exploring the nearby city of Wilkes-Barre PA last week with Heather and John -- obvious affection, lots of laughter and an adorable puppy. I have had a blast with this young, fun couple since we first talked about their Sept. 2015 wedding a couple of months ago. John asked great questions during a phone interview and apparently was impressed by me! He told Heather, "We don't have to look any further, I found our photographer." How awesome is that?! And then when I met with Heather at a nearby coffee place, we happened to pick a night with a slew of fire trucks on display, free ice cream and long lines weaving around costumed walking coffee cups. We laughed a lot and just really hit it off.

So this past weekend, we captured some love and laughter at three locations -- a riverside park along the Susquehanna, the campus of Wilkes University and then at nearby Kirby Park and it's dyke path.

Heather and John had a lot of ideas for outfits and props and posing but were equally flexible and open-minded with my suggestions.

Heather's ring is gorgeous, yet it was almost overshadowed by their new puppy named .. wait for it... Captain Bacon! (And he even has his own hashtag!)

I hope you can feel the fun in these photos! I can't wait to see them surrounded by their loved ones in just a few months for their wedding. I have no doubt I'll be smiling the entire time!

Heather and John

Engagement Session 7-3-15; Online Gallery delived 7-8-15

Location: River Common Park, WIlkes University, Kirby Park in Wilkes-Barre PA

Wedding: 9-19-15