Hawaii Videographer | A Quiet Morning by the Bay

The Magic of Family Films

I cried the first time I saw a family film. It wasn’t even a family I remotely knew. Video is powerful that way. It’s a beautiful, compelling way to tell a story and, watching it, I felt a strong connection to my own family.

Of course, I didn’t always feel this way about family films. Growing up, these involved my dad following us around with a bulky camcorder. These static shots would hold on us for hours as we unwrapped Christmas gift after Christmas gift. Holding each up to the camera for inspection. Not only were these videos painful to make, they were painful to watch.

It was those videos I had in mind when I was gifted a camcorder after my son was born. Dutifully, I held the camera on him through major milestones. Those little mini tapes quickly became outdated technology and it wasn’t until last year that I was able to convert them to digital format and watch them for the first time in nine years.

With great anticipation, I opened the video files. Fully expecting to be transported back in time and captivated by beautiful moments I could scarcely remember. I hate to say this, but I was … underwhelmed. How could so much footage tell so little? Sure, there were a few precious clips that involved singing and dancing in diapers, but overall I was disappointed.

But family films have changed and I’ve focused on filming in a specific way and carefully editing the footage to transform everyday moments into something beautiful. Something that’s not only fun to create, but brings tears when you watch it. Although I missed documenting my own children’s early years in a meaningful way, I take great joy in making these films for others.

About the Session

I first met and filmed an expecting Jesa and her family two years ago on a wind-whipped morning in Laie. The wind was so intense that we retreated to their beach rental and recorder 3-year-old Isla singing her favorite song. That sweet voice remains in my head and it’s still one of my favorite films to this day.

It was with great excitement that I met them a second time to create another family film. This time as a family of four. We met on another windy morning. This time at Turtle Bay on the north shore of Oahu. We started off slow by capturing their morning routine and eventually made our way to the beach. The combination of “home” and beach allowed me to include the quiet moments of patience and love alongside the excitement of the beach.

You can watch the film below.

You can get a peek at the film with some screenshots below.

family with a baby lounging in their hotel room
mom about to brush little girls hair
dad tickling baby on the bed during film session by a Hawaii videographer
mom and toddler look out from their hotel room at turtle bay resort
girl putting on sunglasses before heading to the beach
dad and toddler look at towering banyan tree during a family photoshoot in hawaii
baby in board shorts
dad and baby kiss during a family photo session in hawaii
dad and daughter writing in the sand at kawela bay oahu
mom and baby at the beach
mom and baby at the beach in hawaii

Is Life Passing You in a Blur?

Let’s slow it down by planning a quiet morning with your family. You can relax and enjoy your time together while I capture your memories and weave them into a family film you will treasure. Find out more about my family film sessions here.

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Koolina Portrait Photographer | A Family Group Vacation

Tween Life

Once you hit the double digits in age, life gets a little more complicated. More confusing. You lose that ability to play with wild abandon and start to worry about other people. They don’t want to look silly and it can make a family photo session particularly painful. I mean you’re excited to be in Hawaii, but do we really have to do this?

I have found, however, that if I am silly and supremely nerdy they feel infinitely cooler and can bond against my ridiculousness. I shall take one for the team.

Plus it helps to add water. Get them playing in the waves, searching tide pools or lounging on a float and they just can’t be bothered to think about the weird person with the camera.

About the Session

Yungting and her family were enjoying a family reunion and staying at the Aulani Resort. To keep things super simple for our photo session, we met nearby at one of my favorite spots –Paradise Cove Beach.

Golden rays of sun danced in the palm leaves as we made our way to the protected cove. The wind barely rippled the ocean’s surface. It was going to be a hot day. A perfect day to spend at the beach. The blue cove was a beautiful backdrop to the many eye rolls and slow head shakes in response to goofy questions and goofier games (eye rolls not pictured). In the end, we shared some big laughs and made memories. What more can you ask for from a family reunion?

sisters hugging during a family photo session in koolina oahu
family photoshoot in koolina oahu
portrait of a boy sitting on rocks in paradise cove
portrait of a happy family with palm trees and sun flare in hawaii
big family hug during a photo session in oahu hawaii
closeup portrait of a girl laughing in hawaii
portrait of sisters during a family photoshoot in koolina oahu
cousins sharing a laugh in hawaii by a koolina portrait photographer
portrait of a father and son in oahu
mom and daughters share a hug at the beach in hawaii during a family photoshoot
mom and son hugging
boy floating in an inter-tube at paradise cove in koolina oahu
cousins playing at the beach in koolina hawaii

Are You Planning a Big Reunion Trip to Oahu?

Let’s make the most of your special trip with a fun beach morning. You can make memories and take home beautiful images. Find out more about my fun family photography sessions here.

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Family Photography and Films | A Hawaii Dream Vacation

A Dream is Born

Maddie has long dreamed of Hawaii. Visions of dancing palm trees and sparkling blue water have colored her dreams as long as she could remember. And the dolphins. Oh, the dolphins! Knowing they were out there swimming free just offshore with the possibility to see them leap and spin. Her 11-year-old body trembled with excitement.

As the leaves began to change in the midwest and winter threatened with gloomy skies, the plan, the dream started to become real. Tickets were booked for a trip in the heart of winter – a delightful shock of warmth and vitamin D to the system. Hotels were arranged, a dolphin encounter at Sea Life Park was a must along with a photo session.

Second only to dolphins was her fantasy of a photo session featuring herself as the beach queen. She would wear a long flowing dress and fragrant Haku lei as she stood at the edge of her ocean empire. The session would include her entire family, of course, but reserve a little bit of time just for her.

About the Session

Lanikai Beach has a natural bit of magic to it and sunrise there is a favorite location for family photography and films. In February, the sun rises between the twin islands making a beautiful spectacle. The glowing scene was punctuated by an outrigger canoe – a quintessential Hawaiian site.

The girls ran onto the scene in a gaggle of pink dresses. Sunrise stopped them in their tracks and their mouths fell open in delight. The light softened and we got to the business of playing and exploring.

Watch their family film here.


See a glimpse of their photo gallery here.

outrigger paddles past the mokula islands at sunrise on oahu hawaii
mom and daughter sharing a laugh on the beach in hawaii at sunrise
girl wearing a haku lei at the beach in hawaii
mom and daughters walking along the shore of lanikai beach during a family photo session in oahu
mom and daughters sharing a laugh on the beach at sunrise
girl wearing a haku lei stands by the water at sunrise in lanikai during a family photoshoot
sisters with matching joyfolie dresses playing in the water in hawaii
portrait of a girl wearing a haku lei in hawaii
portrait of a girl dancing at lanikai beach with the mokula islands in the background
a sloppy family hug at the beach in hawaii
mom spinning daughter at sunrise in lanikai during a family photo session

As the sun became firece, everyone was excited to make the transition to swimming in the cool water.

girl wearing goggles does a little jig before going into the water at lanikai beach
girl making a sand castle on the beach in hawaii
family lounging on the beach in lanikai hawaii
girl with goggles swimming underwater in hawaii
excited sisters running to the water at lanikai beach during photo session by little bird photography
couple sharing a hug in the blue waters of lanikai beach hawaii
dad helping daughters make a sand castle at lanikai beach hawaii during a Family Photography and Films session

How old were your kids when you had your last family photo session?

Let’s update your photos and have a great time doing it! Contact me to plan your own fun family photography and films today.

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The Best of Waikiki for Families | Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon at the Hilton

A Lagoon is Born

The Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon sparkles a brilliant turquoise blue from the end of Waikiki Beach. It almost glows in aerial photos and leads those in colder climes to sigh at their screens and fantasize about a tropical getaway. The Hilton invested quite a bit of money into revitalizing this former cesspool in 2006. It was once a murky gray and rumored to be full of jellyfish. Today, it’s an elegant five-acre saltwater lagoon with a built infiltration system.

The Best of Waikiki for Families?

Would I recommend the lagoon be included on a best of Waikiki list? It depends. In some ways, it’s idyllic. With sunset views, swaying palm trees and the scent of plumeria wafting through the air, it’s certainly a beautiful setting.

In addition, the lagoon is shallow and immune to big surf so it’s a great beginner beach for families with babies and toddlers. The calm water and adjacent equipment rental makes it easy to trial snorkeling or stand-up paddleboarding.

Despite all that, it’s not a personal favorite. The sand is compact and hard and on crowded summer days, the filtration system can’t keep up. Bandages float in the water and an unsettling green foam accumulates along the edges of the lagoon. I asked my 8 and 10-year-old their opinions. They said, “well, it’s water so it’s fun, but it’s kind of gross and the sand hurts my feet. Not my favorite beach”.

Best Time to Visit

On weekend evenings the crowds die down and you can delight in the contrast of locals and visitors alike frolicking in the lagoon. A scene punctuated by visits from a persistent akuu (night heron) who capitalize on slow-moving fish. It’s a nice spot to people watch as the sky ends the day with shades of pastel.

Bonus if you plan your visit on Friday nights when the Hilton Hawaiian Village hosts a short, but spectacular fireworks show. If you prefer a little distance from the noise and falling debris, you can set out a blanket on Magic Island. If you like to be close to the action, this is a great place to be.

girl looking over waikiki at sunset
kids playing with a beach ball in the hilton lagoon in waikiki
view of the hilton lagoon from the rainbow tower
girl with a beach ball and float
view of diamond head with surfers and a full moon
palm tree and hotel
boy playing the Best of Waikiki beach at the hilton lagoon
view of the hilton lagoon in waikiki
portrait of a boy at sunset in waikiki by little bird photography
sunset in waikiki oahu
girl on the beach at sunset
palm trees in waikiki with the soft pastel light after sunset
girl looking out over waikiki from the hilton lagoon Best of Waikiki

Looking for More Family-friendly Attractions in Waikiki?

Head to the other end of Waikiki Beach for a bit of surf and sun with a different view. Still hungry for more ideas? Sign up for the Little Bird Post below to get your Hawaii fix.

Beach Portraits in Paradise (Cove) | Koolina, Oahu

Ready for the Beach

The twins grasped each other’s arms and shrieked in delight as the current sucked at their feet. The duo couldn’t resist the lure of the water and they had slowly ventured further and further into the surf until an unexpected wave hit them. They tumbled over each other and fell laughing in a soggy heap. Both were thoroughly soaked. Happy, but soaked. It was near the end of our photo session and Jamie looked at her dripping children and decided to call it. With three water-loving kids on the swim team, it’s hard to keep them out of the water. Next time they vowed to bring swimsuits.

Another trip to Hawaii means another opportunity for beach portraits and two years later, we talked excitedly as we made our way down the same narrow beach path. We considered different location options, but nothing seemed quite as appealing as the perfect little cove we visited for our last photo session. We returned to the same bit of paradise – Paradise Cove Beach.

Fun Beach Portraits

The sun rising on the opposite side of the island was coloring the sky with soft pink hues. The cove was cast in shadow and remarkably still. You could tell it was going to be a hot day and envision the crowds flocking to the beach with coolers and floats in hand. A line of people in cars waiting for a parking spot would snake out into the street. At this moment, however, the beach was all ours.

We immediately got to the business of family fun. We played games, made up stories and shared bad jokes. After lots of silliness, we turned our attention to the ocean playground. By this time, the sun was warming the cove and lighting the treasures beneath. A crab. A sea cucumber. Too many colorful fish to count. The water lovers were content.

Girl on the edge of Paradise cove at sunrise in oahu
family hug during a photo session in hawaii
dad and daughter share a laugh during a photoshoot
family lounging on rocks at the beach in koolina lagoons
portrait of a girl standing in a tide pool in hawaii
dad and son exploring the rocky intertidal zone at sunrise
mom and daughters sharing a laugh on a beach in hawaii
closeup portrait of a girl with a flower in her hair
twin sisters sharing a laugh during a family photo session in hawaii
siblings sharing a laugh at the beach in oahu
girl enjoying the sunshine and beach during vacation in oahu hawaii
Hawaii family beach portraits at paradise cove in koolina
dad and daughter play catch with a beach ball at koolina lagoons
underwater portrait of a girl standing on rocks
girl playing with a beach ball during a portrait session in hawaii
girl swimming in the clear blue waters of paradise cove in koolina oahu
boy with a beach ball taking in the views
siblings exploring tide pools during a family photo session by little bird photography in hawaii
twin sisters fishing with nets in koolina oahu
siblings about to race on the beach in hawaii with clear blue water in the foreground

Does Your Family Love to Play?

Let’s talk beach portraits! I can help you plan a fun morning so you can make memories and take home meaningful images. Find out more about my fun portrait sessions here.