“There is only one sun. We can’t all claim to only have one way to use the light, but we can REDEFINE how we choose to express it. “
Why are you passionate about this topic?
Military homecomings are something near and dear to my heart. I have been photographing them as long as I have been in business (10 years). I have also been a Military spouse for a decade as well. I am passionate about this particular type of session because being a Military spouse myself, I know what the hurry up and wait for your Soldier to come home feels like. When your homecoming day finally comes around its a rush of emotions. You are excited, nervous, tearfully joyed and more. Getting those first hugs and first kisses after 6,9,12 even as long as 15 months apart sometimes are for some once in a lifetime opportunities. For others they are continual milestones. Small victories. I feel blessed to be able to capture those moments for each and every one of my clients who hires me for their homecoming.
When did you first learn this technique? Or, when did you first realize you liked this topic?
Military Homecomings are a lifestyle type session. I learned them as early as when I first went into business. I knew I loved them from the very first time I photographed one. The flight came in at 3am in the morning in December. It was very cold and the wind was harsh. But none of that mattered when the Soldiers walked on the field finally returning home. Seeing my client run and jump into her Soldiers arms, embracing him and holding onto him like it was all finally real, made the cold seem to go away. My heart was warm with happiness for her.
What are the tips you would share with anyone trying to achieve this technique?
I’ve learned many tricks and trades as I have come along. Keep plenty of batteries on you when they arrive in the evening or find shade to move the reunion to when they arrive in high sun. Shoot in raw if at all possible. Light is often unpredictable at these sessions. Remind the client to hold their kisses a little longer. To not bury their face like we tend to do naturally. Let the client know you want to give them the best possible pictures. If you look at the back of your camera after the first initial reunion and don’t find you have EVERYTHING you need. Have them repeat their kisses, hugs. Tell him to pick her up and spin her around. Clients are so happy to see each other and in such a state of bliss, most are willing to comply and its just a fun experience all together.
What were the challenges for you in the beginning?
The biggest challenges I faced in the beginning were mainly just learning to take a step back. I was trying to stay so close to my clients in the beginning because so many people are walking around trying to reunite and you can be walked in front of a lot. By staying so close I was only capturing their faces. You want the whole body. The whole experience. People will walk in front of you. That’s OK, keep snapping, keep stepping back. These are moments that can’t be repeated for some so just keep moving around to get every angle.
About the photographer:
My name is Ash Wells of Fort Hood, TX. I am the proud wife of a Soldier, my husband Jonathan Wells. Mother of 3 – Paris, Autumn and Christian. Canon photographer. I specialize in lifestyle and children’s photography.