May 27, 2015

Photographing Military Homecomings, with Dyan Witt, of Dyan Witt Photography

BlobBoard-1DW

There is truly nothing more exhilarating than capturing a military family embrace for the first time after a long deployment. The months apart come to an end with a palpable nervous tension filled with hope and love. As a military spouse, I personally identify with each waiting loved one and fully understand the gravity of the responsibility a professional photographer has in those fleeting moments. I have photographed births, newborns, baptisms, birthdays and weddings, but the most rewarding and challenging is a military homecoming.

BlogBoard-2.DW

BlogBoard-3 redo

I attended my first Navy homecoming in 2007, waiting for my fiancé to return home from the Middle East and have been photographing other military homecomings since. Each time, I still have butterflies in my stomach before, during and after the shoot. For a photographer, a military homecoming is unlike any other event because there are so many challenges associated with the session. A photographer at this event has no control over so many factors to include: the time and place, the weather, the lighting and the crowds of people … Therefore, I need to be prepared for it all.
To be ready for anything, I must prepare for the unexpected. Before leaving my studio, I assure that my camera bag includes an extra battery, a backup camera, different lenses, external flash, rain jacket and all the typical photography equipment. More importantly, though, I also pack candy to keep the kids happy during the long wait, and tissues to wipe the tears of joy that fall during that first embrace. I plan to arrive on location early to gauge the atmosphere and to also photograph the anxious spouses, children and family members as they wait in anticipation for the ship to dock or the aircraft to land.

BlogBoard-4DW

BlogBoard-5DW

I have stood pier-side with families in freezing temperatures, pouring rain and sweltering heat for hours as the Navy ships are steadily pulled into the harbor, towed into the dock and slowly unload thousands of service members. The shoots are filled with hope while everyone waits to catch the first glimpse of their loved one. With their increasing energy, my stress increases and I pray I can race to the perfect spot to capture the first embrace. To do this means also assuring another reuniting family doesn’t walk through the shot. In these moments, I am not only the photographer, but also a traffic cop, often crossing over rope barriers meant to keep people back.

BlogBoard-6DW

BlogBoard-7DW

On the technical side, I shoot in manual mode so I have maximum control of my camera. Shooting at a low aperture allows me to focus only on the family that hired me. This family, newly reunited, is highlighted in the frame where everything else around them is a blur. I also use a high shutter speed to assure that I capture all the fine details of the family’s movements. Details like a young daughter’s hair flowing through the wind as she races to her mommy’s arms, a Vietnam veteran father saluting his returning son, or a father’s first glimpse of his newborn baby. As the wife kisses her husband for the first time and a sigh of relief overcomes her entire body, her reality shifts knowing he is now finally safe in her arms. As the chosen photographer, those moments are the most important and the most difficult. As I struggle to hold back my own tears I know that I am trusted to capture the exact moment time stands still and pray that I do … every single time.

BlogBoard-9DW

Press play.

 

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you, Dyan, for sharing a glimpse of the military family’s story — a story that you and your family are a part of in every way.

For more from Dyan, and for booking inquiries, visit her website, and Like Dyan Witt Photography on Facebook!

share this post:

TweetShare on FacebookEmail

About the Contributor: My name is Dyan Witt and I am a portrait photographer. I have two young children ages 5 and 2 and I love to watch them grow. I am amazed at how fast they are growing and that makes my passion for photography thrive even more! Second passion cooking!

 

comment on this post

Leave comment

No comments have been added yet

liked this post? img you might also like...
  • A Beautiful, Blooming Newborn Session
    Rya Duncklee is an award-winning children’s portrait artist based in Jacksonville, Florida who specializes in first year milestones and video storytelling. She has been recently awarded as one of the Top 20 Newborn Portrait Artists in Jacksonville, and has been the recipient of ten NAPCP International Image Competition Awards. Rya graduated from the University of […]
  • A Rainbow Baby Maternity Event
    I’m so excited to share with you about the Rainbow Baby Maternity Event I hosted in Louisville, KY. I collaborated with The Wave Salon and Spa of Shepherdsville, KY for this event. We both donated our services to 7 lucky Rainbow Baby mommies that were pregnant with their Rainbow! A Rainbow Baby is the pregnancy […]
  • Why Focus on Photographing Motherhood?
    Focus on Photographing Motherhood : Why? According to Forbes.com, the key to survival is understanding your passion, your drive, and your raison d’etre, or reason for being. Forbes is not the only website out there encouraging business owners to stop and look a little bit deeper while developing their business plan. Simon Sinek gave an […]
  • September Printable Menu and Calendar
    Although we are sad that summer is coming to a close, we couldn’t be more excited to share the latest FREE printable menu and calendar with you. Celebrate the beginning of the new school year and organize all of your after school activities in style. Download the printable menu template here, and the printable September […]
img find a photographer
in your area
img

We are so delighted that you are here. The National Association of Professional Child Photographers is an association whose mission is to promote and support the artistry and integrity of professional child photographers. To accomplish this mission, NAPCP provides the most comprehensive resources for its members, bringing together a community of passionate artists committed to growth in their skills, their artistry, and their businesses.

NAPCP.com (formally pronounced "NAP-C-P") is a place where professional child photographers can come and connect, learn, teach, aspire and grow. It is also a valuable resource for parents who are looking for a professional child photographer in their area, and want to be inspired and educated about our specialized industry.

img award winning photos click here to view



img most recent issue
img vendors we love
napcp supporters



 
img helpful articles napcp resources
  • August Inspired Magazine: Featuring Amy Tripple!

    Click here to read our August magazine featuring Amy Tripple! Don’t forget, Inspired is now printable! Print your copy straight from MagCloud, and share your favorite pieces with friends, family and clients. Save Save

  • Free Custom Wallpaper: Shoot. Edit. Share. Repeat.

    Free Custom Wallpaper — Competition season is here and today we want to share this free custom wallpaper with you, to download! Download and use this wallpaper for your own personal use. Set it as your device wallpaper or share it via social media. Scroll down for clickable download buttons at the bottom of this […]

  • July Inspired Magazine: Featuring Ute-Christin Cowan!

    Click here to read our July magazine featuring Ute-Christin Cowan! Don’t forget, Inspired is now printable! Print your copy straight from MagCloud, and share your favorite pieces with friends, family and clients. Save Save Save

  • June Inspired Magazine: Featuring the First Half 2017 Image Competition Winners!

    Click here to read our June magazine featuring the winners of our First Half 2017 Image Competition as well as the 25 semifinalists for the 2017 Best New Emerging Child Photographer Contest! Don’t forget, Inspired is now printable! Print your copy straight from MagCloud, and share your favorite pieces with friends, family and clients.   […]

Categories