Welcome Them Home - Owens Family | Hampton Roads Homecoming Photographer

My friend and fellow photographer Kayse of La Mia Bella Photography messaged me one day asking if I could help out her friend Stephanie.  Stephanie's husband was returning home from a deployment and she needed a photographer to capture it.  When she told me he was with ACU-4, I got excited since I have never photographed a homecoming that involved LCACs (Landing Craft Air Cushion)! 

Stephanie, Caidyn and Kylee waiting for 7 months to see their hero. And let me tell you, just like at any other homecoming, I got teary eyed as I watched them reunite with him.  Owens family, thank you for allowing me to be able to capture your special reunion!

I've Waiting My Whole Life to Meet You Daddy! | Norfolk Navy Homecoming Photographer

It all started with an email from my fellow homecoming photographer friend, Tricia of Teal Tree Studios.  As homecoming photographer, we all know that the date we're initially provided at first contact with a client is not set in stone.  Dates in the military are NEVER set in stone!  Well, Tricia emailed me asking if I could take on her homecoming client due to the new time and date conflicting with a personal matter.  As I have been shooting homecomings for the past six years, I absolutely LOVE shooting them, so I couldn't say no!  I then received an email from Sarah to touch bases about the date and tentative time.  And of course, as expected, the time changed. Again.  But let me tell you, I am glad the time changed! The warmth of the sun setting as the friends and families of the sailors aboard the USS Mitscher provided the perfect backdrop.  

Sarah mentioned that this is the first time in 16 years that she will have a photographer present at a homecoming.  But this was a special occasion.  Baby Mia was born while daddy was deployed.  The first meeting between daddy and baby NEEDED to be documented! And boy, the feels.  Seeing daddy holding his baby girl for the first time gave me goosebumps. And yes, teary eyes.  Thank you Sarah and family for allowing me to capture your special day.  

Welcome home to Randy and his fellow Mitscher crew!

Coming Home at the Right Time | Norfolk Homecoming Photographer

Dani was due to give birth to her and David's third child, and papa was on his way home.  And boy, did he coming home at the right time! Just a few days after coming home,  their daughter LaLune was born!  And I must say, she is absolutely adorable!  

But back to the homecoming story.  Dani contacted me to capture her family's reunion at Norfolk International Airport.  I can never turn down a homecoming, so I definitely said yes.  We met up around 745am, with a Starbucks in my hand.  Her adorable sons, Theo and Maxx kept each other occupied while we patiently waited for their papa to return.  From finding a garden maze, to sharpening their spidey senses, to coloring in a coloring book they got from an airport volunteer, they kept it cool until the saw their papa.  The minute they saw their papa, they immediately took off.  Thank you Dani, David, Theo, and Maxx for allowing me to capture your special day and WELCOME HOME David!     

keeping the kiddos busy

is he here yet?

patiently waiting for papa

running for papa

finally reunited

papa and his babies

finally a family again

Finally a Family of Five | Camp Allen, Norfolk Homecoming Photographer

Katie contacted me about her husband's homecoming at Camp Allen.  Katie is the founder of Save the Woman, Not the Tata's.  You should definitely go check it out when you get the chance!  Her blog is truly uplifting.  

I met up with Katie and her adorable kiddos just before 11pm.  Now, if you have been at a homecoming before, you know how unpredictable they can be.  On my way to Camp Allen, Katie messaged me that the guys were coming in almost an hour earlier than scheduled.  But of course, by the time I got there, it changed back to its original time.  We patiently waited, keeping the kiddos occupied for as long as we could.  From eating snacks, to playing in the sandbox, to drawing choo choo trains and playing on Cera's laptop, I am surprised they were still wide awake when the guys finally made it! 

Thank you to Katie, Josh, Emma, Brody, Finn and the Charlie 6 crew for allowing me be there! To my ladies that I spoke to at the homecoming, you can view all the photos here: (Charlie 6 Homecoming).

katie and kiddos

keeping the kiddos occupied

brody faces

Emma patty cake

emma, brody & daddy

daddy holding finn for the first time

daddy is finally home!

All Good Things Must Come to an End... | Hampton Roads Photographer

As 2014 slowly comes to an end, I look back at all the sessions I had a pleasure of shooting. From a retirement ceremony for a dear friend, to my niece's second birthday party, to a homecoming for two dear friends of mine.  All in all, 2014 was a good year! But, I am hoping that 2015 will bring even more greatness!!!   Thank you to all of my clients that allowed me to capture memories for them this year. Here is a glimpse into all the great memories I was able to capture this year....  And here's to making more memories in 2015!

2014 recap

Welcome Home USS Bush! | Norfolk Homecoming Photographer

It has been quite a while since I have been in attendance of a carrier homecoming.  In fact, I couldn't even remember when the last ship homecoming I attended was.  But being that I had not one but two friends whose loved one was returning with the Bush Carrier Strike Group, I had to be there!

It was exactly how I remember; people everywhere! But nevertheless, the emotions swirling around at homecomings definitely were high.  Just as at any homecoming that I have attended, I definitely had tears in my eyes, especially knowing that both of my friends were getting their spouses back after a long nine months.  Their families were whole once again. 


Bush Homecoming 2

Bush HC Bell Family

Bush HC Hanson Family

Taking It Back to 2011 | Hampton Roads MIlitary Photographer

Since today is Thursday, I figured I'd post for Throwback Thursday (#TBT).  And the fact that we just celebrated Veterans Day and the USS Bush will be home soon, why not post about a homecoming from 2011?  On the USS Bush's maiden deployment in 2011, I had the opportunity to shoot the homecoming for Christina and Chad.  Chad is an F-18 pilot and was flying back in at NAS Oceana with the Tomcatters.  Christina was 9 months pregnant and ready to pop when Chad came home.  We all thought Hudson would make his debut before his daddy came home. But we were lucky enough that he waited a few more weeks after.

It was a cold December day.  We all patiently waited as the boys flew over us to prepare for landing.  Now if you have been to a homecoming before, you know that emotions run high, especially as loved ones see the ship/sub/jet for the first time in months.  I have to admit, even as I see them come into view, I get caught up in the emotions too and find myself wiping tears away.  Needless to say, with Christina being pregnant the entire deployment, and she and Brady seeing Chad as he emerged from his jet, emotions were in super high drive.  As soon as Christina reached Chad, his hands went straight for Christina's belly. 

Then there is the homecoming kiss.

This kiss just says it all! In fact, the emotion behind this photo actually caught the attention of the editors at Glamour magazine!!  They contacted Christina and I to see if they could use her story and my photo in a feature about six wives, girlfriends and soldiers reuniting with their loved ones when they came home from a deployment.  Needless to say, we were over the moon!!! And come to find out, they wanted to use my photo for a FULL page spread, AND another one of my photos. I mean, how COOL IS THAT?!?!?!?

Full page spread!

Having your photo(s) featured in a magazine is a HUGE accomplishment.  I may never have another photo featured in a magazine or on a website again, but knowing that my photo is still being seen, even 3 years AFTER, it still is an amazing feeling!

To Christina and Chad, like I always told you, ya'll are famous!! ;)


Welcome Home Blackhawks!! | Virginia Beach Homecoming Photographer

Jenn is a friend and fellow Hampton Roads Photographer.  When she messaged me to see if I could photograph her own homecoming, I immediately said heck yes! You all know how much I LOVE shooting homecomings! I enjoy them more than shooting weddings! Don't get me wrong, I still LOVE to shoot weddings. But every homecoming I photograph, it pulls at my heartstrings. Every. Time.  As the day approached, I then realized that it was a HM-15 homecoming.  I have been deemed the honorary Blackhawk photographer, thank you to my awesome friend and HM-15's AWESOME Ombudsman, Ms. Sarah Clark.  I was excited knowing that I was gonna be photographing another great Blackhawk moment.

I always love shooting for my Blackhawk family! Here are my favorites from the day.  For anyone that was in attendance at this homecoming, you can view, download and purchase photos at: http://kiyomiphotography.pixieset.com/welcomehomeblackhawks/

Please feel free to share them! Remember to mention Kiyomi Photography when sharing them on Facebook.