wedding

Diana & David {A Southern Maryland Summertime Wedding by Wendy Zook Photography}

Elegance.
Joy.
Tenderness.

Diana and David’s summertime wedding at The Barn at Pleasant Acres had all of these things and more. The most gorgeous things -- from a romantic lacy wedding gown to colorful florals and sleek suits and everything in between -- punctuated a day that was filled with big love and little details.

The atmosphere was super laidback and relaxed -- no one seemed stressed or overwhelmed and loved ones just flitted in and out of getting ready rooms with food and messages and love. Speaking of getting ready -- the Bridal Suite at the Barn at Pleasant Acres is dreamy -- it’s huge and bright and filled with little details that make the bride’s early hours on her wedding day even better. And, how amazing was Diana’s hair and makeup? Be sure to follow Kristen C Artistry because she is so talented and such an amazing lady.

The entire day took place at The Barn at Pleasant Acres and the venue provided ample room for portraits around the nearby field, trees, front porch, gorgeous wooden doors and more. The venue staff were beyond helpful. They held open doors, drove golf carts from one spot to another and were able to assist with the most random and most minute requests.

The ceremony brought some of my favorite moments of the day -- David smiling with excitement as Diana approached, many people wiping away tears of happiness and a few moments of giggles and joy.

During the reception, it was all about the dances -- with their parents, with each other, a surprise dance from their best man and singing along to favorite songs. The night ended with bubbles and a limo getaway while dozens of loved ones surrounded David and Diana and cheered them on as they departed.

A wedding day’s success is of course mostly about one couple’s love and the telling of the next chapter of their love story, but it’s also made possible by a team of amazing vendors. Many thanks to this wedding day’s vendors:

Wendy Zook Photography
Photography by Virginia
The Barn at Pleasant Acres
Hardesty Haven Catering
Crow Entertainment
Scarborough Farm Flowers
Kristen C Artistry
Couples Limousines

If you’d like to see more of this awesome couple, be sure to check out their engagement session here, too!

Becky & Mike {Elegant Spring Wedding in Frederick County Maryland}

It was like something out of a postcard -- a pair of newlyweds at the top of a hill with seemingly-endless mountains behind them, leaning against a stunning Rolls Royce while the bride’s veil blows in the breeze and two new wedding bands clink together as he holds her hand.

But this Frederick County wedding was real and beautiful and surrounded by a thousand other picture-perfect moments -- the way Becky’s dad reacted to seeing his daughter in her wedding dress; the sweet moments in a family’s beloved church; the tears of happiness during dances with their parents; laughter from bridesmaids saying cheers with champagne flutes; the snap of a polaroid taken by the groomsmen during the getting ready time.

With backdrops of the historical St. John Evangelical Roman Catholic Church in downtown Frederick and the picturesque Maryland National Golf Club in Middletown and surrounded by adoring family and friends, Becky and Mike celebrated their love story in June.

Becky was absolutely gorgeous in her wedding gown and with flawless makeup by Poetically Brushed Hair and Makeup. Her bridesmaids glowed in different styles of long, pale green dresses. They were such a tight group of friends, sisters and sisters-in-law and filled the air with laughter and excitement.

The mood around Mike and his groomsmen was lighthearted and fun, too. They were there to help Mike out with whatever he needed and were great sports during photo time, too!

There were so many special moments on this day. I loved the way the toasts and speeches included funny memories and poignant anecdotes about how wonderful these two were as kids and now as adults and how well-connected they are and how in love they’ll be forever.

From a photography standpoint, it doesn’t get much better than a hazy summer-like day overlooking mountain ridges with a gorgeous, so-in-love couple, a Rolls Royce and a fantastic second shooter like Photography by Virginia. Grateful to Virginia for being a fantastic wedding photographer partner and friend and for her creative eye.

We had not just one, but two opportunities to photograph Becky and Mike outdoors at Maryland National Golf Club. About halfway during the reception, with the incredible DJ Mele keeping the dance floor packed and fantastic music playing, Becky and Mike gifted us some time with a setting sun and a beautiful field just outside the reception hall. Those photos are some of my favorites of the day -- the pressure and schedule worries of the event long gone, the golden glow all around and pure love and joy captured.

Congratulations, Becky & Mike!

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Wedding Photographer Checklist with Sixth Bloom

Over the past several weeks, I collaborated with Erin of Sixth Bloom (a fantastic website with tips for photographers of all genres and skill levels) to create a series of tips for wedding photographers. I'm so proud of what we were able to accomplish and share and I wanted to include it here, too, for all of my photographer and vendor friends to enjoy! Plus, it features some of my favorite images from my amazing Wendy Zook Photography couples in 2015!

 

This was a 10-part series of how to best capture the story of your couple and their wedding day, all the way from engagement sessions to a genuine showing of appreciation.

 

Part One: 6 Tips for a Successful Engagement Session -- An engagement session is included in every one of my wedding packages because it offers a chance to truly get to know my couples, understand their styles and get all of the kinks out in a laidback, non-formal atmosphere.

 

 

Part Two: Creating a Wedding Timeline to Avoid a Disaster -- One of the biggest mistakes I did when I was first photographing weddings was not being more involved in creating a timeline for my couple's day and not speaking up when there was something that could disrupt their wishes for photos. Here are some tips in creating a solid wedding day timeline.

Part Three: Brilliant Ideas for Working with Wedding Vendors -- Some of my best friends and biggest cheerleaders are other wedding day vendors and creatives. Here's how I keep my "co-workers" on wedding days happy.

Part Four: The Great Debate: Tips for a First Look or No First Look -- I never push my couples into choosing a First Look. There's pros and cons to each side of the decision and I share some of those here.

 

 

Part Five: 6 Must-Have Pictures to Get of the Bride -- I loved reminiscing about some of my favorite moments with my brides this year. It can be a stressful day for her, so these tips not only help you capture her on her wedding day, but also keep things smooth and easy for her, too!

 

 

Part Six: 5 Pictures to Capture of the Groom -- The spotlight tends to fall on the beautiful woman wearing a white gown, but some of my favorite moments to photograph involve the groom. This section included ideas on how to capture fantastic and memorable images of the guys on a wedding day.

Part Seven: 6 TIps for Quick and Easy Family Portraits at a Wedding -- You want to honor the loved ones that supported your couple individually and together, but you also need to get a lot of people photographed in a short amount of time, sometimes in less-than-ideal settings. Here's some tips on accomplishing that with family portraits at a wedding.

Part Eight: 6 Tips to Keep Bridal Party Photos Smooth and Fresh -- The best ways to keep your sometimes-large group focused and organized and allowing them to leave before the photos really become annoying for them.

 

 

Part Nine: 68 Details to Capture at a Wedding -- This focused on all of the little things to keep an eye out for on a wedding day. It's not all about the dazzling diamonds (although those are so much fun to photograph)!

 

 

Part Ten: 6 Tips Photographers Need to Put the Final Touch on a Wedding -- this one is all about wrapping up your experience with this couple with kindness and surprises. 
 

9 Things to Ask a Wedding Photographer

9 Things to Ask a Wedding Photographer

A few suggestions on what you should ask your potential wedding photographer.

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Dear Future Bride --- Advice from recent brides on creating your dream day - Part One

Dear Future Bride --- Advice from recent brides on creating your dream day - Part One

Dear Future Brides -- Recent Wendy Zook Photography Brides offer advice on planning and preparing for your special day -- what they would have done differently and all of their favorite memories. This is Part One of a two-part series.

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Dear Future Bride -- Creating Your Dream Day with Advice from Past Brides -- Part Two

Dear Future Bride -- Creating Your Dream Day with Advice from Past Brides -- Part Two

Past brides of Wendy Zook Photography share tips on what they would have done differently in preparing for their wedding days. In this section, they discuss their favorite parts of their days and the best advice they can offer to future brides.

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A little Q-and-A with Wedding Planner Candice Mock of Patchwork Planning

Next up for a Q-and-A is my dear friend and insanely talented event planner Candice Mock of Patchwork Planning. Based out of Northeast PA, Candice has a traveling heart. Her magic touch has been found on weddings and special events across the country and I know she's itching for her first international experience! Here she talks a little about her start, what she loves most and why a wedding planner is SO important. 

Tropical Barn Wedding by Patchwork Planning -- Image Courtesy of Photography by Seneca

Tropical Barn Wedding by Patchwork Planning -- Image Courtesy of Photography by Seneca

 

When and how did PP begin?

I first started giving tips and advice while I was planning my own wedding in 2013. Word was getting out that we were going to have this incredible DIY wedding for $3,500 and people couldn't figure out how. After our wedding went off without a flaw and we had the best day ever, my engaged friends knew I needed to be there for them on their wedding day (and I wanted to!). So, I operated under "Candice Mock Wedding and Events" and did some "partial planning" and "day of coordination packages for some friends. In fact, our first wedding we got to really be a part of was in Georgia, then our second was in Idaho in the Spring of 2014. We were stoked to have one of our first PA weddings at Friedman Farms right here in Dallas (Pa.), which was such a joy to be able to work with actual local vendors. In the Fall of 2014, I knew I wanted to take this on as a serious business and so I rebranded and became officially Patchwork Planning in December of last year. 

Candice & Evan on their wedding day. Photo by Mika McClurkin. 

Candice & Evan on their wedding day. Photo by Mika McClurkin. 

 

Why did you decide to become a planner? 

After seeing how many details were involved, and how costly things can get, I wanted there to be another way: Another way for a single mom who is working to provide for her kids, let alone trying to save for and plan a wedding; Another way for the bride who has planned it all but wants someone there to make sure the days of is as beautiful as it can be. I wanted to recreate the image that wedding planners are only for large weddings that have lots of money. I guest when it comes down to it, I want to help people, couples, families, on one of their most beautiful days of their lives (and what could be one of the most stressful days as well). 

 

Tell me a little bit about what you do for your couples and clients -- what are the different options for your assistance? What's the most popular type of help wedding couples need? 

We start out with three different packages: Full planning, which can start as soon as they get engaged; Partial Planning, which is a customizable package starting a minimum of four months out, and our most popular and most inadequately-named Day-of Package. As mentioned, our Full Planning Package can start right off the bat. It can include anything that it needs to, from recommending and selecting vendors to attending fittings. It includes monthly checklists of things to do (or things couples would like me to do) and a lot more. I call it the "whole enchilada" because that's really what it is. Our Partial Planning Package is for those that might have booked some vendors, but still need help finding some others. It can also include help with RSVP management and other details that come up in the last three months of planning. Our last package, though called Day Of, starts one month out with a meeting with the couple to get caught up on all the planning they've done. After a venue run-through and a vendor list we put together, we put together our most vital part of the wedding day -- the timeline. This ensures everyone will be on the same page, from bridal party to the DJ. It's also called "Month of" Package and "Peach of Mind" Package. Because each wedding day is so different, we want to be as customizable as possible. That way, you are paying for what you need, and not anything extra. Have something crazy we need to do? (Like making sure your dog can be kenneled during your wedding day?) We can add that, and anything else, to the package. 

 

What are some of the biggest challenges you face in planning?

As movies have pointed out, there is always the chance we will have a "bridezilla" on our hands -- the most pleasant bride ever, until one small detail can set them off. I think the challenge is, especially because people are so different, is finding what can not just calm them down but bring everything back into perspective. We've dealt with screaming mothers, drunk grooms, late caterers and the list goes on. But at the end of the day, it's reminding the couple that they will be married. And no matter if it was the perfect day they imagined or due to things beyond our control it wasn't the ideal day, they will still be married. 

 

What three words would best describe you/your style/your business?

Organized

Thrifty

Friendly

 

What's been the best compliment you've received?

We've worked with a lot of incredible people, from couples that we've planned every detail with to couples we've met one month prior -- and not to mention some awesome bridal parties that we might only have known for two days but still talk about. One of my favorite compliments was for a couple that I planned almost every detail for while they lived in an entirely different country. Though there's more to it than I can say, after the ceremony, the father came up to me and said, "I can't thank you enough, you've truly brought our entire family closer together." I was flabbergasted and may have shed a tear. What can I say to something like that? It is an honor, an absolute honor, to work with couples on such an important day of their lives. 

 

What is this 100-plus item emergency kit? What are some of the strangest things you've had to find/use?

A fellow wedding planner was gracious enough to send me her emergency kit list. As I bought the different items, (everything from aspirin to fake rings), I realized I was going to need a suitcase. Now, when I head to different venues, I call it my "Mary Poppins bag" and everyone is always surprised when they need something and I say, "Oh, I think I have that." One of the first weekends I had the bag with me, I used almost half a bottle of aspirin, medical tape and an ace bandage. Strange because it was a wedding drinking festival and if I didn't have those items, I don't know what I would have done. I truly feel prepared for almost everything.

 

What about your job brings you the greatest joy?

At the end of the night, hearing the "We couldn't have imagined the day without you" is something that always resonates with me. We hear it at every single wedding we have done, and sometimes multiple people at the event repeat it. It's such an honor to be a part of someone's most special day. Sometimes you might not have known you needed a planner, or maybe you are a bride-to-be and don't think you need an extra hand. You will never know how much easier, smoother, peaceful, etc, your day could be with one. 

 

What does your Instagram feed look like? (www.instagram.com/thepwplanner)

My Instagram is a mix of curated posts of inspiration from others in the wedding industry, our own weddings and shoots, our English Bulldog, Stacy, and adventures with my husband. Every day is different!

 

Why is photography so important on a couple's wedding day? What questions should people ask of a potential photographer?

Professional photos (keyword: professional) are unforgettable. So what if you don't think you're the photo type, or perhaps don't necessarily see the need right now. There may come a time that you wish you could see those photos, or that portrait of your grandma that passed away recently. You're on a tight budget? Generally, photographers will be willing to work with you to capture exactly what you want for a price you can afford. 

Definitely ask first and foremost what their style is. So you like alight and airy photos? When you see heavily-edited, saturated photos, you know they are not a good fit. Ask about a payment plan! Ask how long they are there for your wedding day. She if they've been to the venue beforehand. Discuss having a second shooter. The more you know, the more you'll feel comfortable with trusting them to capture your special day. 

 

What's your favorite part of a wedding day and why?

The end. Ha! That's kind of true (because that means everything went well and now the couple gets to focus on their marriage and not just their wedding day). But really, I would have to say the First Look or the recessional. That moment where the bride and groom see each other for the first time makes me forget the frustrated mother-of-the-bride, the jealous bridesmaid, etc. It puts everything into perspective for those few moments that really at the end of the day, no matter if the caterer is late, the flowers don't arrive or there's a hurricane outside, they are married and get to spend the rest of they lives loving each other. The recessional gives me a similar feeling, exuding so much joy surrounded by the people that love you the most. 

 

What's the future looking like for PP? Any changes coming to your services?

Well! We have been booking 2016 for a while now and even have a few weddings in 2017. We are working on a few "full planning" engagements, which is really like planning an entire wedding. In the midst of weddings, traveling and more weddings, we are also teaming up with some of our favorite vendors (Forget Me Not Vintage Rentals and Photography by Seneca) to do at least one styled shoot a month until November. 

There's a good chance we might need to hire an intern for next year's wedding season, which is exciting. We want to rewire the idea that wedding planners are only for the wealthy bride and will continue to work with brides according to their budgets and needs. 

 

Clockwise from Top Left: Mel and Jesse from Alexander x Pat Furey Photography (http://www.longbrookphotography.com and http://www.patfureyphoto.com) / Kaiti and Jon from Mika McClurkin / Sweetheart Table from a Tribal Wedding, photo courtesy Photography by Seneca / Nell and Chandler table set-up courtesy of Forget Me Not Rentals and Kelley Spurlock Photography. 


Be sure to visit Candice and Patchwork Planning at:

www.patchworkplanning.com

www.facebook.com/patchworkplanning

www.pinterest.com/patchworkplanning

www.instagram.com/patchworkplanning

E:mail: patchworkplanning@gmail.com 





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

Chris & Shannon {Wedding} -- A Long Beach Island Love Story

If rain on your wedding day truly is good luck then Chris and Shannon are most certainly blessed in their marriage. Even with 35-mph wind gusts, sideways torrential downpours, collapsing tent walls and a few more unexpected curve balls, these two lovebirds kept calm and didn't let Mother Nature or anything else dampen their dream beach wedding.

Despite being two of the most laidback people I've ever encountered on what should be a stressful day, the details laid out beforehand had most definitely been planned out with such care and consideration. Blues and reds and yellows popped in and out of beautiful wooden signs from Rustic Drift, a gorgeous ring, and sea-themed table runners, centerpieces, even the bottle openers! Guests signed an anchor and munched on Swedish Fish.

And you should have seen the way Chris looked at his bride, even after seeing her all dressed up and ready to go. He just beamed. And even more touching were their loved ones. There was undeniable support and love in a white tent on a corner of Beach Haven that night. Groomsmen smiling with pride, bridesmaids fighting back joyful tears, moms who nodded as if they knew they raised a good one and dads who stood back and took it all in. New babies passed around and kiddos twirled on the dance floor. And gosh was there some dancing! The dance floor was never empty!

Couples years into their marriage could take lessons from Chris and Shannon. Roll with the punches, remember the reason for it all and always, always laugh.

Chris & Shannon

6-27-15

101 Centre St/LBI NJ

Megan & Joe (Wedding)

Megan and Joe are a dream to work with if you're a wedding photographer. Let's ignore the blatantly obvious fact that they are both gorgeous people inside and out and let's focus on their love and their beautiful day.

I loved that when I first met these two lovebirds that they were so easy to talk to and share ideas back and forth; it was like hanging out with old friends. They have been organized and stuck to their vision every step of the way.

Their wedding day, honestly, was one of the most special ones I've ever been a part of (no, seriously). Whether their own vows they wrote and read to each other (Joe's actually had grown men tearing up in the church) or the never-ending laughs and smiles from the entire bridal party, it was so much fun and so sweet. Their love is undeniable.

We took a small risk in creating a no-look First Look-type picture. (Without seeing each other, Megan and Joe met on a corner of two walls and held hands and talked for a few moments before the ceremony.) I'm so glad we went through with it as it was a couple of minutes of pure emotion. They joked ("So, you still want to go through with this?") and they both dabbed moist eyes (It's amazing what a simple "I love you" means to two soulmates on such a day). I loved that moment.

In between the ceremony and reception, the bridal party stopped at Megan's mom's nearby property to take photos. It was gorgeous! Rolling hills and so much green around us on what was a fantastic day, weather-wise, too. Megan and Joe were not afraid to walk through some wildflowers or sit on the grass in order to grab a couple of really beautiful images.

Below are a few of my favorite shots. Do you have a favorite?

Megan and Joe, thank you, truly, for allowing me the absolute honor in sharing in your day and in the beginning of your marriage. You are the epitome of true love, beauty, fun and joy.

Megan & Joe 8-16-14 Bedford County, PA

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Making it official

I've been taking photos for a long time. I grew up with a family of photographers and artists and creative souls and have had a camera in hand for as long as I can remember.

I made albums of school trips taken with my ridiculously heavy uses-actual-film Kodak. I learned about what made each setting unique on my tiny but higher-pixeled Casio that I carried everywhere. An upgraded Casio took the first photos of my son. And for the past year, I have been falling in love with the world as I've seen it through the lens of my Nikon, a fancy-schmancy camera that has forced me to learn about aperture and focus, ISO and white balance.

A friend asked me to take photos of her wedding when her photographer fell through and it was during that long day of following around a beautiful lady clad in white that I fell in love. I loved the adrenaline of having only one shot at capturing the moment; loved the way my eye was drawn toward the in-between moments: the decorations and set-up; the way a grandmother adjusted the tie on one of the littlest attendees; the way an entire group was aiming their cameras and whooping with glee at the cake cutting.

And that was it - I was hooked.

I've since captured a newborn baby's hug from an older brother and the way her tiny fist wrapped around Mom's thumb.

My shutter has opened and closed on families and babies and pets; it has helped create 8x10s and treasured wallets, photo albums and slideshows and holiday cards.

And now it's going to be more of the same quality and love and yes, even that adrenaline. Except with business cards and a new website!

Thank you for your support. Be sure to check out the "Specials" page for more information on packages and rates we're offering. Learn more about me here. And see some of my favorite recent photos here. And finally, just in case I haven't convinced you of my awesomeness yet, see what previous clients have had to say here.

To book a session or ask a questions, e-mail me at wendyzookphotography@gmail.com.

Let's do this! Ready... set... click!