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To the Morgan Family, Thank You for Your Service | United States Naval Academy

If your spouse or parent is in the military or you have a close friend whose spouse is military, you know that the whole family sacrifices and serves alongside the active duty family member. This family recently faced a tough deployment (not that there is any such thing as an easy deployment!), and wanted to celebrate their reunion and acknowledge their service and hardship with a patriotic family photo session at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

Nicole first found me when we were in the midst of the pandemic, and I was offering school portraits for families who felt like they were missing out on school photos last year. They had recently moved to Maryland from Hawaii, and her sweet girls, Emyrson and Elliot, were so much fun when I got them in front of my camera.

This fall, Nicole contacted me again, this time to discuss a family photo session. Her husband, Army Sergeant First Class Tyler Morgan, had recently returned from a 6 month deployment in Afghanistan, and she wanted to celebrate his return, his 11 years of service, and acknowledge all of their sacrifices with a session that reflected on the patriotism that they feel. She decided on the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis as the ideal backdrop and we planned to get this session in before the weather got too cold for her girls’ adorable red, white and blue dresses!

We met on a gorgeous Tuesday afternoon at the Academy, and her girls warmed up to me again quickly. We could not have asked for better weather as we wandered the Academy grounds, taking advantage of the gorgeous architecture and beauty that is all around there.

Of course, we made time for the girls to run and play, because happy children make for beautiful family memories (and photos). The whole family enjoyed how much there was to see and learn about on the USNA grounds.

I knew that I wanted to wrap up our session at a set of benches that my husband and I had used for our own engagement photos, 10 years ago. These benches are engraved with the words Honor, Courage and Commitment, core values that aide our members of the military in their victories in the both the mental and physical battles that they may face. When we arrived at the benches, I asked Tyler which of the three values resonated the most with him in this moment, and he chose Honor.

Little did I know that Elliot is an expert photo bomber! But seriously, how could I not include this series of photo events . . .

The girls were promised ice cream after they were done with family photos. I could not resist joining them on their walk into downtown Annapolis, and grabbing a few documentary photos of them enjoying their tasty treats from Storm Bros Ice Cream Factory.

Thank you, Nicole, Tyler, Emyrson and Elliot for allowing me to join your adventure this evening and document your family photos for you this year. It was truly a joy, and I felt that joy all over again going through the photos we took. Thank you for your service, for your sacrifices. I know that being a military family, facing the hardships and changes, is truly a challenge and that our country owes a gratitude to you that cannot be described in words. I hope these photos bring you back to the fun, the love and the joy that you felt as you spent time as a family on a warm fall evening in Annapolis.

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