10 tips for your homecoming

I have been married to my Husband who is a Marine for 9 years. Throughout those 9 years we have had 3 homecomings and I have photographed countless homecomings. Now, I'm not saying I know everything but I do know a lot about homecomings. Here are my top 10 tips for your next homecoming.

  1. Connect your service members phone line so that you can be in contact with them during the homecoming date. They will be able to give you the most up to date information on where they are and ETA. I usually connect my husbands the day he leaves wherever he is at so that I know what time to arrive.
  2. As much as you want to, do not arrive to the homecoming location early. Trust me not this one. The armory can take anywhere from 1-4 hours. It takes forever! Getting there early will only leave you waiting on the parade deck or in your car. Just wait at home until your service member is close to the parade deck or wherever the homecoming location will be. Getting there at the time of the armory is the best idea because it will shorten up your wait. I usually advise my clients to get there once their spouse gets there or at least close.
  3. If they do not need to go to the armory. Keep in contact with them with where they are so you arrive before them. But again, try not to get there hours earlier. There is no point.
  4. Be mindful of the time of the homecoming when choosing your outfits. Homecomings will take place at all times of the day. Some 2 am some 11 PM. Bring a sweater, hat, and/or umbrella if it's sunny. You don't want to be freezing and waiting for hours. Bring a back up outfit in your car or at least something warm if your homecoming falls into the late hours of the night. Remember, he/she can care less about your outfit! I promise.
  5. Bring the Homecoming Sign! Now, these are mostly for photos to be honest but they add such a cute touch to your photos especially if you have children. We usually will put the sign down after photos but it is so fun to make and gets you excited about the homecoming.
  6. Do not set your expectations too high. 90% of the homecomings I shoot the service member wants to see you, grab their stuff, and then go straight home. They are tired from a couple days of traveling and they want to go straight home to sleep and/or shower. I never expect my families to take photos afterwards. Unless you ask, I won't push.
  7. If you have children, don't expect a picture perfect Lifetime movie moment. Some kids will act super shy and need time to readjust. This is completely normal. I would try to not push them just for the photos. I will make sure you get photos and will work around the children.
  8. Do not, I repeat, Do NOT plan the exact moment. Some people will almost plan exactly how to jump or run or how they will react. Don't do this. We want authentic RAW photos. This is a really big moment for you both. It is NOT about the perfect Instagram photo. There are a lot of emotions running on both ends and you can't plan these things. Let whatever will happen happen.
  9. Be flexible! Things WILL run late. They WILL change the date a billion times. I know it is hard to not get frustrated with all the changes and anticipation. But just remember, they WILL be home soon!
  10. Last but certainly not least, BE IN THE MOMENT. I will be a fly on the wall getting photos. Don't worry about your photographer. Focus on the moment and finally having your service member back home. This is such a special time and I want you to really be in the moment.