Tearful Reunion

This post is going to be long, but for a good reason!  This homecoming photography comes to us from Valerie Demo & homecoming videography from Sandbox Love.  First check out the video & description from the guys behind the video cameras!

A couple reasons why this shoot was awesome… First, Caitlin and Ben were so much fun to hang out with. To see them together, taking those first few steps of getting reacquainted, kept me smiling all day. Second, I was listening to Pandora on my iphone during the Fly In and just as Ben was getting out of his jet, the most beautiful song came on. When they were embracing for the first time in 7 months, the moment and the music moved me to tears. Good thing I was rockin my giant aviators to hide my eyes… had to look tough in front of all the fighter pilots.

Another reason was that the moment we were capturing had immense meaning. Both Caitlin and Ben had a hard time deciding which day was anticipated more; their wedding or the Fly In. That’s pretty big considering how much goes into a wedding. But living without your loved one for soooo long makes the moment you get him or her back a pretty important memory to have captured.  From a filmmaking standpoint, we put a lot of thought into the visuals. You can see a lot of Blue and Gold in the second half of the film to give it a feeling of Navy pride. You’ll also see that we incorporated the sky into MANY of our shots. Aside from the whole pilot theme, I did this as a way to keep reminding the viewers how big the world is. Just IMAGINE how big the world must have felt when Ben was on the other side of the world. Also, for the intimate moments of their first embrace, we go from that very wide view to a very close view. A way to make that first contact feel so big. Because if you ask Caitlin or Ben, that moment was huge.

Pretty amazing, huh?  Now look out for the stunning images from Valerie Demo!

When Caitlin, who works for TroopSwap, contacted me asking about photographing the homecoming of her husband Ben, who is a pilot in the Navy, I was more than happy to! They were still basically newlyweds since Ben had done training straight into their deployment after their wedding… and not only were going to get to see each other for the first time in seven months, but also were finally getting to go on their honeymoon upon his return. As a surprise to Ben, Caitlin arranged for an awesome videography company to be there as well since they had decided against it at their wedding and regretted it down the line… And when it came to their (VERY SUNNY) Homecoming Day, I couldn’t have asked for a couple more excited to see each other… You could tell the minute they were back together how much in love they really are and how glad Caitlin was to have Ben home. At the moment, Ben is actually deployed again, and Caitlin is looking forward to another reunion… Stay safe out there!

Being able to capture Homecomings, like Caitlin and Ben’s, is something I hold very dear to my heart as my Dad served in the Navy for 26 years, and my husband is currently serving in the Navy with the Riverines. I have been through deployments myself and know how awesome that feeling is… and frankly, as a photographer, you can’t go wrong capturing those moments. I know for a fact my main focus being a wedding photographer helps when it comes to shooting them… you have to roll with the punches, deal with horrible lighting situations, and do it all without being able to chase your clients around with giant softboxes and with the addition of crowds of people and a ton of other photographers everywhere around you. I know for me the hardest part comes in trying to find the balance between giving them the space to have their moment and making sure you can capture it without too many background distractions… and nailing the lighting. (In the middle of the runway there isn’t exactly much help if the sun is blaring.) Even with all of the difficulties… homecoming sessions may not be the most technically perfect things I have ever shot, but are always the most rewarding sessions I shoot and always my favorite. The days are always completely filled with emotion and so happy and such an amazing way to be able to give back a little bit to all of the men and women who sacrifice time at home for the rest of us.

A quick behind the scenes!

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