Today on the blog we have Amy Jo from The Paper Unicorn Photography. She offers a unique perspective as a military spouse and photographer... One of my favorite family military images of all time is the first one you'll see below... enjoy! :)
Hello! I am a USMC veteran and military spouse, also a transplanted family and children’s photographer from The Paper Unicorn Photography. I would like to talk to you a bit today about military life as a supportive spouse, facing possible career challenges, the strength of the military child, and the importance of documenting all of this beautiful chaos through photography.
Let’s face it there are so many pro’s and con’s to being in the military or married to a service member and trying to balance your family life. I had big dreams of being a career driven super spouse, but with the birth of my second child and a fast following third I found that the Bachelor’s degree I had in Criminal Justice and the diploma I had from the police academy were becoming more and more of a framed accomplishment on the wall. I had hopes that I may someday retire from law enforcement but those ambitions just didn’t jive with my family life, military life, and being a mother to 3 rambunctious children. Plus I knew I had to be that extra backbone when needed for my family when my spouse deployed, after all they depended on me just as much. I could have easily chose my initial career route but I found I wanted to focus more on spending time with my family especially in the raw and real moments when they needed me and my super career woman dreams sort of faded off into the distance, and I am fine with that! But how could I still “work” and be proactive and present everyday within our crazy military life? How could I spend time with my spouse and children and still make an honest buck at the end of the day? Or maybe I just needed a new hobby, I picked up a camera one day to start documenting our children’s “first’s” and all of the places and wonderments of the new duty stations that the USMC was sending us to and I fell in love with all things photography. I thought to myself… maybe, just maybe there are other transplanted married to the military spouses out there that would like to have small portions of their lives documented in a family photography journey just as I have started with mine and thus a small business sprang up right before my eyes.
Looking back through the last 10 years of my families pictures takes me on such a visual journey, all of those memories captured I am so grateful for. Our children are only this tiny today, tomorrow they will be one day older and trust me when I say this time flies by quickly! My 18 year old just left the house and is attending a military style facility and training and I thought to myself where did that 3 year old boy go? You know the one that would look up at me about knee high with his tiny “toothy” grin and ask for cheerios and a hip ride? Moving around from duty station to duty station and seeing his father figure come and go so often along with his mother could have been rough on him, and I’m sure at times it was but we always found a way to cope and help our children to understand the importance of our career choices. You would be so surprised with how resilient the military child is! My children and my client’s children continue to blow me away every day with their strength. One can always turn a frown upside down once the camera is out and you are ready to engage in whatever it is your child wants to do at that moment, in that moment, in your particular lifestyle. Own it, make every moment count, and emphasize to your children we are exactly where we should be right now! Buy a camera, hire a professional photographer, just document every step of your journey, it’s your story to tell.
I wanted to carry over my love of children, their curiosity at every stage, my love of photography, and my love for our military in a way that would help families document their lifestyle as well as the growth and strength of their bonds through each and every turn, accomplishment, or trials and tribulation all through beautiful photographs. What better way to showcase the strength of a military child and their family than to customize sessions made up of whimsy, wonderment, and put on display that bond they share through a unique and customized session based off of each family’s characteristics and style. I celebrate every milestone my children make, every accomplishment my Marine husband makes, and continue to create beautiful imagery out of our everyday and our not so ordinary lives. I love my new “job”, I can actually take solace that I have found my new career path.
So if you are a military wife reading this know that sometimes your course and path may change but you too can create a career that is just as mobile as your husbands. Remember that it is so very important to document every step of your child’s life even if you aren’t where you thought you would be. It is also important to showcase the strength of your family and to capture your spouse’s accomplishments as well. Most importantly if you can; invest at least once a year in a family portrait session to show how far you have come as a family unit. It doesn’t matter if it’s a lifestyle session, a whimsical session that springs from the things dreams are made up of, or a themed session that shows the uniqueness and personality of your family, just document that year for your family. Because today is the childhood our kids will remember, make it a special one. Tomorrow your spouse and you will be one day older in this short life, so document your love through imagery I promise you won’t regret it!
Photo (headshot) copyright and courtesy of Kendra Davis.
My name is Amy Jo and I am a country girl at heart that keeps moving from city to city due to our beloved USMC. I am originally from Kansas and currently my studio is located in Richlands, North Carolina, we are a military family and proud to be so. So how did we end up so far away from home Toto?
I am a Marine veteran, I attended OJC Police Academy in 05. I obtained my bachelors degree in Criminal Justice in 2010. I became a SAHM during the pregnancy of my second child and never looked back. I can be a bit overwhelming at times because I am very high spirited, I get a little finicky in social gatherings but love the chatter in the room. I tend to have my hand in about a million craft projects at one time. I am a pet lover after all I have 13 chickens, an antique addict, and love all things vintage. I hold my friends near and dear to my heart, I love flavored coffee more than I should, and my mind runs a million miles a minute! I may be a whirlwind, but I try to always leave some sort of positivity in my wake. My brand is inspired by all things mythical and whimsy, perhaps that's how I relate to children so well. I try to envision the world through their eyes at their age, so full of wonder and hope.
You can find me at www.thepaperunicornphotography.com