These amazing homecoming sessions are from the very talented Deb Schwedhelm. I have been following her work for a very long time – it is very inspirational, and everyone should check her out! And onto the photographs!
When Kathleen emailed me, asking if I would be willing to share some of my military photographs, I jumped at the opportunity. I not only have photographed military homecomings, I’ve been through a couple deployments of my own, as my husband is a Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal Officer. Having your spouse return after a long deployment (usually six months or longer) is such a magical time in a family’s life. To have those moments captured is such a treasured gift.
I’ve had the opportunity to photograph a few military homecomings over the past few years and have loved each and every one of them. For those new to photographing military homecomings, I think my best advice would be — be prepared to be flexible. Return dates and times almost always change. One minute the Active Duty member is coming home in three days, the next minute he’s delayed for two more weeks. Also be prepared to shoot anywhere, at any time of day, in any type of weather — outdoors at noon, in an airport, on a military base in the freezing cold, etc. Also, if the homecoming is on base, be sure that you’re able to get on the base, if you don’t have a military ID of your own. You just might have to make plans to ride with the military family.
I’ve photographed two homecomings for this family. Their first deployment was tough. Mom had a new baby, who ended up having major eye surgery, while Dad was gone. The second deployment went much smoother — although no deployment is ever easy. And a year after returning, Dad is due to deploy again, for the third time.
This family was actually Lifetime’s television show, Coming Home. This family’s youngest child, Scout, was four months old when Dad met her for the first time. I feel so incredibly blessed to have been able to photograph this special time for them.
This is another family, where the Dad was deployed when the baby was only a couple months old. It’s amazing how strong the spouses are, who are able to manage everything at home, while the Active Duty member is deployed. Each member of the family is a hero in their own right!!
Photography by: Deb Schwedhelm