There are many, many, many reasons to hire a professional homecoming photographer. The biggest regret I have from our first homecoming was that I didn’t hire someone. I quite honestly didn’t even think of it. I have cell phone pics of me, 42 weeks pregnant, in labor, about 5 minutes *after* we actually reunited. I would love to have photos that were clear, crisp and gorgeous.
There is no other feeling quite like it in the world, who wouldn’t want to remember it? You’ve spent the past seven months to a year missing your service member, this is the moment when you are finally back in their arms. The anticipation, relief, and joy are off the charts! Honestly, I’m grateful for the images I do have because everything was such a blur I feel like I forgot a lot of details and the photos reminded me of them.
“I’ll just have my friends do it” I’ve heard this a lot. If your friend is a photographer, that’s cool. The benefit of hiring a professional who knows their equipment, has more than a pop up flash for that 2 am homecoming, or can counteract the harsh, harsh mid day shadows makes a huge difference. Plus, as someone pointed out to me, you’ll feel obligated to hang around your friends after when all you most likely wanna do is drag your s/o by the hand and get home.
A photographer will be there for YOU. To get the images you are dying to see. I am perfectly happy shooting your homecoming at whatever time of day they come home. Dinnertime? Sounds good. Two am? Perfect! My goal is to capture the images you will treasure for a lifetime.
When should you book your photographer? Typically the answer is as soon as possible. I have booked homecomings before they’ve even actually deployed because she wanted to make sure she booked me before anyone else had the chance. This was for a MEU, which is a huge deployment that many photographers book for very far in advance since it’s a tad crazy when they get back. Booking earlier also ensures you get the photographer you want before someone else does. Many photographers, myself included, will book one client per deployment/unit to nullify the risk of conflicting homecomings. Once dates are firmly set, I will book more clients whose reunions don’t conflict with yours and I keep a running wait list for many large deployments.