wedding photographer

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.}

 

Caroline Logan Workshop Recap -- My Five Favorite Moments

My last blog shared the background of the Caroline Logan Workshop in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, last month. Today, I want to brag about my five favorite moments from the adventure.

 

1. Surprise Birthday Cake!

Caroline's workshop was special for several reasons and one of them I tried not to make known too much was that it was my birthday! I love taking advantage of my birthday to reflect on the year behind and the year ahead. Surrounding myself with such amazingly-talented people and beautiful spirits was a wonderful way to do just that. Even better than the well-wishes and hugs from my new friends? A surprise singing of "Happy Birthday" with an adorable pink macaron and candle AND a beautiful birthday cake to take home. I felt like I was taking away from Caroline's special day and hard work but I appreciated it so, so much.
 

 

2. The "A-ha!" Moments

I caught myself often during our sessions somewhere between frantically writing quotes, book recommendations and ideas in my notebook and just sitting, staring, absorbing all that I wanted to do and be.

... Be a friend, not a vendor...

... Numbers don't matter...

... They're not actually buying the product; they're buying the heart...

 

3. A super styled shoot

Caroline and her team created such a beautiful vision at Hingework that day -- from the flowers to the gown and the amazing couple that was patient with the paparazzi in front of them. I loved Caroline's patience with us and our questions and I'm grateful that in never felt like there were a dozen photographers tripping over each other or stepping on each other's toes. I can't wait to share images in the future!

Styled Shoot Vendors:

Caroline Logan Photography

Kortney Cooper Dowell

Hingework

Posh Bridal

Treasured Events

Couture Cakery

Unfading Beauty by Kristen

Dove House Homemade

 

4. Giveaways and Goodies

Caroline is a force to be reckoned with and she has the support of INCREDIBLE companies and organizations, as evidenced by the sponsors and giveaway items in her workshop. KISS Photo Albums, PASS Galleries, Align Album Design, Shoot and Share, HoneyBook, ONA Camera Bags, MileIQ and Agree.com, just to name a few! I was the happy winner of an entire year of PASS galleries and I am SO grateful for that! It's going to mean more credits to apply to client gifts and surprises!

5. Meals, a tour and the parking garage

Caroline probably didn't imagine when planning her workshop that my favorite part might involve a parking garage downtown, but I swear it's a good thing! You see, Caroline managed to assemble some ladies that could easily be my friends in real life (and who hopefully will be) from different states and ages and backgrounds and families. It says a lot about her in who she gained in her class. Some of my favorite moments were chatting with other ladies in the thick of this balancing business and life thing -- gathering around our dinner table chatting about struggles and laughing and taking selfies while Caroline's mom took us on a walking tour around downtown Lancaster. And then, at the end of the very long, informative, incredibly motivating day, I said goodbye to the last of the ladies in a parking garage nearby and felt such happiness and joy that she was in my life now but also sadness that this whirlwind of a day was over now. I can't wait to watch each of them succeed.

Not sick of my excited rambles from the workshop yet, are you? One more post coming your way soon about what all of this means for Wendy Zook Photography in 2016! Stay tuned!

 

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

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

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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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