Featured Artist: Wendy Zook Photography
I'm Wendy of Wendy Zook Photography. I'm a Momma, a wife, photographer and wearer of many hats. I'm a Jersey Girl originally (and fiercely proud of that) and have previously lived in south-central Pennsylvania, northeastern PA and, most recently, Rochester, New York. My husband's job brought us to the Frederick County, Maryland, area earlier this year and we love it so far. I'm definitely an old soul -- I love to read, enjoy a warm cup of tea at night and classic films. I've been learning yoga for almost two years now and it's been an incredible journey so far.
I'm a Nikon gal all the way. I've been shooting with D700 bodies for the past two wedding seasons. I've had opportunities to upgrade but really love the feel of the D700 so I'll probably hang onto them for at least one more wedding season. I love using prime lenses. My only zoom is a wide angle 20-35mm that works great for getting ready moments and tight spaces. My favorite lens is the 135mm -- it has helped me capture some of my FAVORITE images of 2017. I've also got an 85mm, a 50mm, a 60mm macro and an assortment of crazily-organized memory cards, batteries, speed lights, chargers, detail shot accessories and all the emergency kit essentials. I just upgraded to a large ThinkTank roller suitcase and am so grateful for the ease of just rolling one bag on a wedding day. Last year I also purchased a HoldFast MoneyMaker harness to lug my two camera bodies around and it's been such a relief for my back especially. I love getting fun comments about the harness.
My mom's family has always had cameras floating around. There was always an assortment of flashes going off at holiday get-togethers and always a small group huddled over their gear talking about their recent purchases. I love having memories of my family and my childhood and that ability to freeze time has always stuck with me. My first "real" camera came in 2010 after the birth of my son. Professional photography services, including my first wedding, began around 2012.
The majority of my work is with couples -- weddings, engagements and proposals. I love a good love story and enjoy being along for their journey together, getting to know my couples as friends and staying close long after their vows.
Sigh. Not as much as I would like! Isn't that always the case, though? I definitely do more personal work around the holidays and over "slow" season's winter months, which always recharges me before the next wedding season.
My uncle is a talented photographer and artist and has always been an inspiration to me creatively. Many years ago, he and I walked for a couple of miles around my new home, toting our cameras, sharing shots, offering tips and dodging an impending thunderstorm. It is a memory that will always stay with me and it was during that walk that I realized the power my camera and my photography could bring. My husband encouraged and supported my passion for photography when we started our own family and has been crucial in making my business become successful.
I always admired Annie Liebovitz and her work. I loved how she was able to capture a subject that EVERYONE knew in a way that no one expected. Currently, I enjoy getting to know new photographer friends and cheering on their journeys.
As much as I, like so many others, get nervous and anxious in front of the camera, I am trying to be present in photographs from this period of our lives more often. I want my kids to have memories of me WITH them when they're older. Also, there's something to be said for a friend and talented photographer capturing you at your best and making you feel like a million bucks! My recent headshots from Jessi of Lovebug Photography and Jenny of Lass&Beau made me feel so gorgeous afterwards. I love using them.
Definitely The Rising Tide Society. Although it's not a photographer-only organization, I've made some of my closest creative friends through them and their monthly Tuesdays Together meetings and have learned so much about running my business and being a successful entrepreneur. Finding yourself a great group like RTS helps you feel not so alone in the sometimes-isolating world of entrepreneurship and working from home.
Both!I love the ease, for myself and my clients, of offering digital options, but always encourage them to do something with them -- whether it's picking 1-2 favorites to hang on the wall, creating a beautiful wedding album to remember their big day or sending holiday cards to loved ones each year.
Aside from photography, I most love words. I love reading, blogging, writing poetry and sending handwritten snail mail whenever possible.
I'm most successful when I'm realistic with my expectations and how much I'm likely to get done and I'm most happy when I give myself a little bit of wiggle room and a heck of a lot of grace. I plan and schedule personal adventures just like I schedule my consults and photo sessions and that works great for me.
My children inspire me daily to find adventures, create joy and embrace creativity and spontaneity. Nature and the outdoors constantly brings me ideas and a love for color and light. Each of my couples opens my door to new possibilities and exciting new potential.
I love PASS for my photo galleries, TailWind for scheduling social media and my beloved Google Calendar for keeping me on track. HoneyBook is the best in my opinion for all of my business management needs.
Every wedding is a sort of creative collaboration -- several vendors working together to take care of our clients and do our best work while complementing one another is so key. I have also participated in several styled shoots which always get you out of your comfort zone and bring forth new ideas and ways of looking at things. I have teamed up with Sixth Bloom to share tips to other photographers and love supporting them.
Shout them out. The National Down Syndrome Society is near and dear to my heart. They were the first and best resource I discovered after our son, Zachary, was diagnosed with Down syndrome after his birth in 2010. In late 2016, I participated in a rockstar-themed photo shoot with more than 50 models and self-advocates who brought incredible joy to my life and helped me realize the wonderful journey our family is on. The photos from those days in New York City were used in marketing and also for the annual NDSS fundraising gala. Recently, I captured moments from the NDSS Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. During those two days, self-advocates traveled from 40 states to meet with their legislators as part of the promotion of a proposed new bill that would give more rights to working individuals with special needs.
Practice, all the time, in all sorts of lighting, with all types of backdrops, using all of your equipment. And find other people who will encourage and uplift you along the way.
Go somewhere unexpected with your art. Find a new location to explore; be creative with someone else; do something that gets you out of your comfort zone. Do you photograph people? Go shoot landscapes this weekend. Are you stuck on posing? Search magazines and websites for inspiration -- and then, don't copy them but make them YOU and yours. And above all else, open your heart to someone and let them help you during this time.