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Maui Family Photographers | Coastal Rainforest to Beach Sunset

Maui family photographers capture dad and son in tropical rainforest portraits with golden light

A Shock to the System

I stood in line and fidgeted with my phone trying to keep it from falling asleep before the check-in gate. It had been over a year since I last left the island and the new ever-changing procedures had me on edge. I had a family waiting for me on Maui. One who had been trying to schedule a photo session for almost a year. We did a big cheer when they all made it to Maui. Now it was my was turn.

My brain went through the list again – COVID test – check, safe travels form – check, ID – check, rental car reservation number – check … Many lines and many hours later I found myself cruising along the Honoapiilani highway in a fresh rental car. There was a brief scare when they told me they ran out of cars, but then they upgraded me to some flashy monstrosity that screamed tourist.

My eyes feasted on the Maui landscape – at once familiar but also a welcome break from Oahu- as I wound my way up the coast toward Kapalua. Over my shoulder, I caught glimpses of the bright blue ocean. It always feels a little sad and empty when the humpback whales are away, but always stunning.

A Magical Coastal Rainforest

My destination was a coastal rainforest in Honolua Bay dripping with life and lushness. The shoreline was littered with masked beach-goers gawking at brightly colored fish, but we wanted the interior. Jess loved the idea of two locations for their family photos. We would start with the rainforest just as the golden light lit up the branches and end splashing along the shore at nearby Ironwoods beach.

We shared jokes and climbed overgrown tree roots under the sun-warmed canopy. It was in truth hard to leave all the beauty behind but the sun was sinking and we needed sand under our feet.

family photos at honolua rainforest
mom and teenage son share a moment during a family photo session in hawaii
dad carries son on his shoulders in a Maui rainforest during a family photoshoot
family explores honolua forest during a family photo session on maui
family portrait in a hawaii rainforest at sunset with golden light
mom and son share laughs during a family portrait session in Maui
mom shares sweet moments with her boys during a maui photo session
family portrait at rainforest on Maui
senior portrait of a boy in a rainforest on Maui kapalua

Kapalua Ironwoods Beach – A Sunset to Remember

We made the short drive following the sun it’s place poised about the water. There was more space to run and play here and we felt energized by the crashing waves. More laughs, hugs, and exploration ensued until the sun faded like a memory. We squeezed every moment out of that beautiful afternoon.

siblings running along the boardwalk at kapalua ironwoods beach at sunset
boy pretending to take a photo with a piece of coral during a photo session in hawaii
family plays along the shore at ironwoods in maui
mom hugs son during a kapalua family photo session
boy trying to out run the surf in hawaii
boy and his reflction at the rocky shore in maui
boy smiling in the golden light during family photos at kapalua bay
boy hiding from waves behind mom during family photos at kapalua ironwoods beach at sunset
boy surprised by a wave during a family photoshoot in kapalua maui
family watches the waves at sunset in maui
portrait of a teen boy wearing a hat at  sunset in maui for family photos
couple kisses at sunset kapalua ironwoods beach maui
family hug at the beach in maui hawaii
portrait of a boy being silly at sunset during a family photo session in maui
mom and son portrait at sunset in kapalui maui
boy running along the shore at ironwoods beach
family walks along the beach at sunset at kapalua beach maui
brothers being silly during family photo session on maui
boy running along the shore with cliffs behind at sunset on maui
family explores the cliffs at ironwoods beach kapalua maui
view of a family on the beach from the cliffs at kapalua bay

Planning a Family Vacation on Maui?

I’m happy to play tour guide and show you some of my favorite places to explore on Maui for an evening of fun memories and photographs to cherish. I photograph a limited number of families on Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island each year. If you have a fun family who likes to explore, let’s start planning! You can find information about my family photography sessions here.

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    Hawaii Mini Photo Session | Quick Memories in a Tropical Forest

    A Short Story

    As hard as it is to admit it, not everyone is up for a full family photo session. I get it. A longer session makes people nervous – especially if they have experienced (and barely survived) family photography in the past. As much I try to assure you that my sessions are made to be fun and center on creating a memorable experience, it can still feel too risky.

    So I created Short Story Sessions to fill in the gap. What I’ve found is that they’re perfect for families with babies or those who don’t need a large gallery of images. It’s a nice way to update photos annually or grab a few happy images of your time in Hawaii.

    I’m not going to lie, I love taking photos so much that once I’m in action, it’s hard to pull me away. But I’ve come to find that these shorter sessions that focus on portraits are a delight to photograph as well

    Pandemic Baby

    As pandemic restrictions began to lift I was flooded with inquiries from parents with babies. Most had missed maternity and newborn photo sessions and were trying to catch up with their first professional photoshoot. It was a joy to celebrate these happy additions to an otherwise difficult year.

    I met Erin’s family under the brilliant green canopy of Nuuanu Valley Park. It was completely empty so we took our time exploring, gawking at the impressive trees and laughing. It was a lovely morning.

    portrait of mom and teenage daughter hugging during oahu family photoshoot
    happy baby portrait in hawaii
    baby with a bow tie doing belly time
    big sister hugging baby brother during hawaii photoshoot
    closeup portrait of a dog
    baby portraits in the jungle
    senior portraits in oahu at nuuanu valley park
    mom and daughter photos at nuuanu park in oahu
    baby portrait on a blanket at the park
    couple portrait under a banyan tree in oahu
    mom and baby snuggle during a baby photo session in oahu

    Is a Short Story Session Right For Your Family?

    If the thought of a longer photo session scares you and you only need a small gallery of images, a Short Story Session will be a great fit. Contact me today and I can plan something short and sweet for your family.

    Family Photographers in Koolina | Three + Sea Turtle

    Family Photographers in Koolina beach at sunrise

    A Quiet Morning in Paradise

    There was a short window during the pandemic when Oahu was relatively quiet. Few visitors were making the trip across the Pacific and that left roads a little more empty and peaceful. Hikes were quieter, and on most weekday mornings you could have an entire beach all to yourself. For outdoor-loving families who dared to travel during these months, the rewards were big.

    Slowly families began to return to the islands and once again I was able to return to the”office”. Not my cramped computer space with piles of packaging and products and gear surrounding me, but the type with a fresh ocean breeze and sand between your toes. It was good to be back, meet new people, and take them to some of my favorite places.

    mom and daughter share a laugh during an oahu family photographer session by little bird
    family beach portraits in hawaii
    girl looking at a tree
    couple hugs during a beach photo session in hawaii
    family hug at paradise cove lagoon in koolina oahu
    daughter gives mom a big hug at sunrise during a family photo session
    dad and daughter portrait in hawaii
    portrait of a girl at the beach in oahu
    mom and daughter playing at the beach during a fun family photo session in koolina

    New Friends

    The lucky family was staying in the villas at Koolina so we kept it easy and met at one of my favorite family-friendly beaches – Paradise Cove. Access to all of Koolina was closed for most of the pandemic so it had been almost a year since my last visit. I walked through the tree-lined path which opened grandly into the cove and ocean beyond and took a deep breath. It was so nice to be back. We spent an easy morning exploring the empty beach and sharing laughs. When the sun rose high enough to light the lagoon a brilliant turquoise we had to jump in.

    It turns out, we weren’t alone after all. A few hungry sea turtles were cruising around the cove trying to catch bits of algae floating on the surface. It was a good day to be in Hawaii.

    portrait of mom and daughter in the water at paradise cove
    girl in the intertidal area in hawaii
    portrait of a girl in the water at sunrise
    mom and daughter exploring the intertidal area at paradise cove
    portrait of a girl in the water in Hawaii during a family photo shoot
    family sees a sea turtle at paradise cove koolina oahu
    family beach portraits at koolina

    Do You Want to Take Home Beautiful Memories of Your Hawaiian Vacation?

    Make the most of your time in Hawaii with a fun morning playing, splashing and laughing. Afterwards you can take home beautiful memories of a fun day relaxing together. You can learn more about my family photography sessions here.

    How do you find the best Hawaii photographer for your family?

    dad and son at honolua bay forest at sunset on Maui

    I’ve been in your shoes. Browsing through the endless string of Google results as you search for the best Hawaii photographer for your family. Sure, it’s fun at first, thinking of all the great photos you’re going to have, but it quickly becomes frustrating. All photographers do things a little bit differently. You have to navigate websites, portfolios, and learn pricing structures. It’s hard to know exactly what you should be looking for. I feel your pain, so I put together a quick list to help you navigate the process and hopefully help you find the best photographer for your family.

    little boy at pounders beach in laie oahu during a family photo session

    TRUST.

    Hiring a photographer is an investment in both time and money. There’s extra pressure if you’re planning a photo shoot while on vacation. Not only do you not know the area, but you have a short window to make it happen successfully. You need a photographer you can trust.

    • Are they going to listen to your needs and match you to a great location? Are they going to help you prepare and know what to expect? Will things be awkward and stiff with you begging your kids to behave? Are they even going to show up at all? These are all valid concerns but how do you know you found someone you can trust? Start by looking at their website. Does it look professional? An attractive website that’s easy to follow indicates a photographer that’s serious about their business. They didn’t just set up shop or take photos as a hobby, they have carefully thought about what their clients need and how to best serve them.
    • Next look at their portfolio. Is it consistent or do the style and quality vary? If possible, look at the images from a full session to get a better idea of what you can expect for your family. Are there only a few good images? Do they have many iterations of the same shot? Or is the final gallery diverse?
    • Finally, look for personal information. Photography is very personal and finding someone you and your family can connect with will make a huge difference in your overall comfort level. Hopefully, you can find a bio or chat with someone on the phone so you know who you will be working with.

    New photographers flood the market every year and 90% fail before the year is up. An established photographer has already worked out the kinks on other families. You don’t want someone new to practice on yours.

    family maternity photos at waimanalo beach oahu

    STYLE.

    One of the things I love about family photography is that each photographer has a unique point of view. You take their skills along with their life experiences and see how your family looks through that very specific lens. It’s fun because no two photographers will capture your family in the same way.

    So, browse through their portfolio and website and pay attention to how the images make you feel. They should make you feel something and if those feelings match what you hope to capture for your family, you’ve found a potential match.

    family portraits at lanikai beach during sunrise

    EXPERIENCE.

    The biggest hesitation I hear from families is that the kids won’t last. And I get that! Most families base that on prior photo experiences that involved bribing and cajoling uncooperative children. If you’re looking for something more formal and posed, I recommend keeping it short.

    However, if you’re looking for a little more life in your photos, a longer session can work in your favor. It removes the pressure and gives you time to shake out the initial awkwardness. Shy kids have the space to be themselves and energetic kids have time to wind down.

    My approach is to make the entire experience fun so it’s not just about the photos it’s about playing and connecting as a family. Kids usually have a great time and don’t want to leave. Parents, however … I’m not going to lie, parents may get a bit tired – especially those with young, energetic kids – but the photos will be full of life and meaning.

    girl swimming under the water during koolina family photos by best hawaii photographer

    Do you Want a Fun Photo Session for Your Family?

    If you’re looking for a fun photo experience where you can play and explore together, send me a note! I’d love it if we were a good fit and I can capture happy memories for you against the beautiful backdrop of Hawaii. Find out more about my family photo and film sessions here.

    Oahu First Birthday Photo Celebration | Water Baby

    Feeling the Love

    portrait of mom and baby at sunrise

    Some people are just so caring, patient, and empathetic that you know they’re going to be amazing parents. They take care of everyone, are great listeners, and are simply a joy to be around. Hoala is one of those people and it was such a happy day when I heard that she was expecting her first child

    Now, a year into her adventures into parenthood she celebrated the milestone with a morning off to spend time with her favorite person. She was simply glowing with love and happiness and it was so special to be able to capture this time for her.

    A Quiet Sunrise at Kualoa Beach

    Her little guy has been a quintessential water baby since birth. A true island baby, he would plunge himself into the water and taught himself to swim before he could even walk. In the past we met at the family farm for photos, but this time we knew his one-year-old session would have to take place at the beach.

    We met on a quiet morning at Kualoa Regional Park under the warm glow of sunrise. The sprawling park was virtually empty with the exception of a raucous group of Mynah birds and Cattle Egrets that seemed to be having some time of messy disagreement.

    He started out a little shy, but his smiles grew the closer we go to the ocean. That was his happy place and it wasn’t long before he was soaking wet.

    mom and playing at kualoa beach park at sunrise
    mom hugs baby tightly during a sunrise photo session in oahu
    baby walking in the sand at sunrise kualoa oahu
    baby after getting splashed by water at the beach in hawaii
    mom kisses baby at sunrise
    portrait of a baby sitting on the sand at sunrise for a photo session at kualoa beach oahu
    mom helping baby take first steps at the beach
    happy baby snuggling mom

    Take the Plunge

    To bring out the best smiles we moved to the far end of the park and plunged into the protected lagoon. This led to big smiles and snuggles and much laughing. Unfortunately, the sun ducked behind a bank of clouds and things got a little chilly. We didn’t last long, but we had the best time

    happy portrait of mom and baby in the water at kualoa by little bird photography
    mom and baby at kualoa beach park oahu
    mom and baby play in the water during a hawaii photo session
    Oahu First Birthday Photo Celebration in the water at kualoa park
    oahu baby photographer captures mom and baby snuggling at the beach in oahu
    underwater portrait of mom and baby in oahu hawaii with kualoa mountains in the background
    mom holding naked baby at the beach during a photo session in oahu hawaii

    Do You Have a Little Water Baby in Your Family?

    No need to try and keep the kids dry for family photos! Let’s plan a fun morning where you can jump in and bring out the best smiles and pure joy. Those are moments worth capturing. Find out more about my family photography sessions here.

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    tel : 808.783.3602

    Serving Oahu + all Hawaiian islands

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