Photographer focuses on militaryPublished 8:23pm Tuesday, January 31, 2012
A Niles woman is helping area servicemen and women take a piece of home with them overseas.
Clare DeHaan, of Clare Impressions Photography in Niles, is offering free photo packages to military men and women and their families. She also sends the photos to the soldiers free of charge.
The program, called Photos for Soldiers, is less than two weeks old, but she already has 16 photographers lined up to help the initiative. While most of the photographers are local, she has some from as far away as Texas and California.
The program’s Facebook page, created just a few days ago, already has more than 165 followers.
“It’s really starting to take off,” she said. “We actually have three salons who are willing to do the hair and makeup for brides or girlfriends of soldiers. I can’t believe the amount of support we are getting.”
DeHaan has a son in the military, currently in training for his second tour of duty in Afghanistan.
“I would constantly send him updated pictures of me, his girlfriend, his dog. He loved getting those photos,” DeHaan said.
DeHaan decided to share her talents with a friend, Niles resident Jennifer Jackson, agreeing to photograph the major moments in the life of her 3-month-old daughter to send to her husband in Afghanistan.
“Her first steps, cutting her first teeth, I want to document everything for them,” DeHaan said.
Her business will lose quite a bit of money on the program, but DeHaan said it’s worth it.
“These soldiers are fighting for our country and missing out on time with their families,” she said. “It is more important for me to capture these missed moments and provide them to these soldiers than to make a buck.”
As of Tuesday morning, Photos for Soldiers had booked photo sessions for nine families, including one homecoming shoot. The photographers will also shoot send-offs.
“It’s important for me that the soldiers have a piece of their family with them when they deploy,” DeHaan said.
Photos for Soldiers is looking for volunteers to help with photography, photo editing and printing. The group is also accepting donations to help pay for CDs, postage and printing costs.