Have you ever met someone whose story instantly inspires you? That’s how I felt when I first met Candi. She’s a Tennessean, an F-18 pilot for the US Navy, best friends with her mama, former pageant girl, and just an all-around awesome person. If there was ever a contest for the person with the most interesting “fun facts” list, Candi would almost certainly win!
The more I learned about Candi, the more honored I felt to tell her story. Candi and her husband, Jim, are both active duty military, and Jim deployed overseas just DAYS after the two found out they were expecting. He has not even seen his wife’s baby bump in person, and likely will not until their sweet girl is born. Talk about some incredible strength and sacrifice.
I had to find a way to make this session special and include Jim, even though he was thousands of miles away. So, I put my Facebook stalking skills to the test, tracked down Jim, and let him in on my secret plan. Honestly, I wasn’t sure he’d ever even see the message, much less respond in time – but sure enough, he did and was totally game to play along with my crazy request! Candi, that man is a keeper.
The day of the session was absolutely beautiful, the sky filled with that hazy light photographers crave. Candi was already in hair and makeup when I arrived, so I sneaked away with Candi’s mom, Pam, and let her in on the plan. Ahh, an accomplice!
Soon the three of us headed to St. Mary’s City where Katera was waiting for us. We had the park all to ourselves (save for one LARGE snake), so we were free to let loose and try all sorts of fun poses.
With Candi sitting in a field surrounded by clovers, it was finally time to let her in on the secret. Out of my camera bag, I pulled out a letter from Jim, written the day before as he reflected on this time in their lives. And for just a moment, there wasn’t a dry eye between the four of us.
Whatever Jim wrote to Candi, it worked like a charm! There’s something about written correspondence that just cannot be beat. That letter will still be in the Wilson family’s stunning heirloom folio box, along with their portraits from this year, long after we’re gone from this earth. Talk about leaving a legacy. I can’t wait to meet Jim in August and thank him for doing this, and of course, photograph their sweet baby girl!
Hair & Makeup Styling: Sara from Infinity Artistry