Oahu Family Photos and Films | Slow Sunrise Over Waimanalo

Far From Home

The clouds rolled in earlier that week and stubbornly decided to stay. Thick layers of fluff blanketed the sky prompting locals to pull on sweaters and pants in the resulting chill. But for this family visiting all the way from China on a once-in-a-lifetime vacation, there was no backup plan. It was their last full day on Oahu and we had no more reschedule days. We decided to chance it.

A String of Rainy Days

Feeling anxious, I arrived at Waimanalo Beach excessively early and stared out at the roiling ocean, trying to predict the future. The Makapuu cliffs were glowing an eery gold while the rest of the sky was cast in ominous shades of blue. And then the rain came.

Disheartened, I walked back to my car and watched the rain spatter on my windshield as I obsessively refreshed my weather app. Light rain for the next 10 minutes. Light rain for the next 15 minutes. I let out an audible sigh and noticed a bright spot in the distance. Jing and her family had arrived and lifted my spirits in their bright yellow clothes.

I ran out to meet them and was relieved to find them in good spirits, unfazed by the drizzle. We made our way out the beach as the rain slowed to a stop and were awed by the scene that unfolded before us. The formerly ominous skies had been replaced by soft pastels for a light, peaceful feeling.

A Happy Baby

Unsure if it would rain again, we started to play and explore right away. Baby Aaron was approaching his first birthday so this session doubled as first birthday portraits and a reminder of their time in Hawaii.

He did what babies do best. Explore the world. With his mouth, with his hands, with his toes – he was captivated by all of it. When the sun finally emerged in a burst of humidity an hour later, he was running out of steam. It was time for a well-deserved nap.

Watch their family film below

And see a sample from their family photo session here –

family with a baby walks on empty sherwood beach in waimanalo oahu
family of three laughs at the beach
adorable baby photos at the beach in hawaii
family tossing baby in air seen through the trees at sherwood forest oahu
hawaii baby photos eating a leaf at the beach
mom helping baby walk at the waters edge with reflection and mountains behind oahu hawaii
happy baby at the beach in hawaii
family explores waimanalo beach for Oahu Family Photos and Films
mom holds happy baby in the air at the beach
landscape portrait of mom and baby at waimanalo beach at sunrise in oahu hawaii by little bird photography
family of 3 in waimanalo beach during a family photo session
family holding baby in the air against a blue sky

Do You Have a Baby or Toddler?

Capturing their ever-changing stages and personalities with a family film and photos makes for a wonderful time-capsule. You will be able to return and re-live those sweet moments when they have long passed. It’s like a hug from the past. Find out more about my fun family photos and films here.

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    Hawaii Family Adventure | Crouching Lion Hike, Oahu

    A Stop at the Beach

    Crouching Lion is a short scramble of a hike with stunning views of Kahana Bay and Kaaawa. Technically, you could extend the hike by continuing up the steep, baren ridgeline towards the summit where it intersects with the Manamana Trail. That trail branches in two directions, but both options are along knife-edge ridges and not exactly family-friendly.

    If you want to make a day of it, start (or end) with a visit to Kahana Bay. The beach is quiet and a little rustic. There are often tree swings and small waves to play in so bring a board or kayak and enjoy. Bonus for perfect hammock trees. If you get hungry, pick up lunch at the Waiahole Poi Factory

    boy with a tree swing in hawaii
    oahu family photography at kahana bay
    siblings sit in a tree at kahana beach in oahu

    Crouching Lion

    The hike itself is narrow, steep and a bit slippery. There are ropes to aid you along the way, but it would be a tricky hike in the rain. Bring shoes with grip and be ready to sweat.

    Mila’s no grip shoes made it so slippery she decided to slide most of the way back down on her butt. Although, she thought that was the best part of the hike and declared it the “best hike ever”. So maybe don’t bring good shoes?

    If you have a fear of heights, it may not be your favorite hike but the views are worth it. Micah’s 4th-grade class focused on the ahupua’a system and his ahupua’a to study and present was Ka’a’awa. He forged ahead despite his fear of heights and proudly told us everything he knew.

    ohai in bloom over kahana bay oahu hawaii
    boy hiking up a steep trail in hawaii on the crouching lion trail
    windward ocean view oahu
    family hike up crouching lion in oahu, hawaii
    Kahana bay viewed from crouching lion
    fun family hikes in windward oahu
    peek of the ocean from the crouching lion trail
    summit of crouching lion for a hawaii family adventure
    the windy summit of the crouching lion hike
    boy hikes along the steep ridgeline in Kahana, windward Oahu
    girl sliding down the steep Crouching Lion hike in Hawaii
    family hiking crouching lion in oahu

    Too Much Adventure for Your Family?

    If you have young kids, stay ocean side at Kahana Bay a perfect spot for little explorers or add some greenery at nearby Kualoa Regional Park.

    Sign up for the Little Bird Post below for more inspiration on family fun in Hawaii.

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      Koolina Vacation Photos | Can’t Stop the Fun

      Why a Documentary Approach to Family Photos Captured Her Heart

      On a whim, Stephanie booked a documentary photo session during a trip to London. She fell in love with the results. Like so many of my clients (and myself), Stephanie doesn’t love the process of family portraits. It often feels stiff and unnatural and you find yourself stressing over the results. Still, she wanted the photos so she continued to push herself and her family into these uncomfortable situations. Until London. It was a game-changer and now she seeks out this low-key, fun photo style on her travels.

      family portrait at koolina lagoon oahu

      A Twisted Ankle Can’t Stop the Fun

      Traveling from the east coast made a morning session an easy choice, but where to go? Their vacation style is one of extreme relaxation and comfort. The kind where you’re surrounded by beauty and warmth and have tasty food at your fingertips. They planned one day of adventuring, touring the island in a fun jeep and ending with a luau, but were unsure if they wanted to schedule photos on that day.

      In the end, it worked better to stay close. Their daughter, a bright, silly girl with a warm smile, twisted her ankle badly after arriving in Hawaii – a cartwheel on the beach gone wrong. To keep things simple, they decided to have their session at Paradise Cove Beach, near their hotel in Koolina.

      Photos on land were a little delicate as we didn’t want her to further injure her ankle in the loose sand. As soon as it warmed up enough, we made the transition to the smooth blue water where she could move freely and without pain. They tossed a football, swam, and searched for treasure until they were shivering with cold. Despite the injury, it was the low-key morning they needed.

      messy family hug during a hawaii photo session at koolina beach
      couple portrait in hawaii with outrigger in the distance
      mom snuggles daughter in black and white during a family photo session
      Koolina Vacation Photos at paradise cove
      girl laughing with sunshine behind
      boy skipping rocks at paradise cove koolina
      mom kissing daughter on the forehead during a family photo session
      siblings share a laugh during a koolina photo session
      family portrait in hawaii
      mom giving son a big hug at a beach in hawaii
      hawaii family beach portrait at ko olina
      black and white portrait of a boy in the water at ko olina lagoon by little bird photography
      over under water portrait of a girl in hawaii
      boy on an intertube in the water in hawaii
      family tosses a football in the water at a hawaii beach
      family portrait from the clear blue water of koolina lagoon
      family explores hawaii tide pool captured by hawaii photographer
      girl swimming underwater with palm trees in the distance
      siblings play in the shallows at paradise cove lagoon in koolina
      black and white portrait of a family playing at the beach in oahu hawaii
      boy with a fishing net searching for fish at paradise cove lagoon oahu

      Do you Hate Have Your Photo Taken?

      Me too. Avoid the awkward and let’s plan a morning that’s actually fun instead. Find out more about my salty, sun-drenched photo sessions here.

      Waikiki Photographer | A Special Morning at Ala Moana Beach Park

      A New Era

      The trip to Hawaii was meant as a celebration. A way to mark a new era after years of hardship and deployment. This was their time and Trish wanted to highlight the occasion with an informal exchange of vows on the beach. No guests. No minister. Just an intimate sharing of words when the time felt right. She asked me to capture their morning together in a casual, unobtrusive way.

      family silhouette with diamond head and waikiki in the background

      Avoiding the Crowds in Waikiki

      I have to admit, I was a little nervous about the location. They were staying in Waikiki at the newly renovated Hale Koa Resort and wanted to stay nearby. I normally avoid Waikiki in favor of uncrowded, natural spaces around the island. However, they wanted their time in Hawaii to be as low-key and relaxed as possible so they didn’t want to rent a car. I can’t blame them as traffic and parking can be a nightmare around the city.

      At the same time, they weren’t crazy about crowds. Trish, like many of my clients, described herself and her husband as awkward and uncomfortable in front of the camera. Me too, guys. Me too.

      Now, this posed a bit of a dilemma because how can you stay close to Waikiki and avoid other people? I brainstormed a few options and they settled on Magic Island which sits at the tip of Ala Moana Beach Park. We would take in the lovely views of Diamond Head and Waikiki as the sun came up.

      About the Session

      Magic Island is a bustling scene at sunrise. As we walked out to the beach, we passed runners, joggers, and power-walkers. We past people on all manner of wheels from rollerblades to one-wheels and on the grassy lawn were scattered tai chi and stroller fitness classes. There’s a lot of fitness happening out there. Even the water was busy with swimmers, surfers, and a group practicing yoga on oversized paddleboards. It wasn’t exactly a quiet, intimate setting.

      Any apprehension they felt quickly faded in the wake of their daughter’s vibrant energy. She glowed with happiness and silliness as she bounced from one parent to the next sharing her enthusiasm and love of life. All the people faded into the background and they were able to focus on their love for each other. It ended up being the beautiful, low-key morning the hoped for.

      mom hugs daughter at ala moana beach park in waikiki
      silhouettes in the sand at magic island
      girl tickles her dad during a waikiki photo session
      girl yells at the trees
      mom and daughter play at magic island in waikiki
      joyful girl during family portrait session in waikiki
      10th-anniversary celebration in hawaii
      closeup of girl hugging her parents by waikiki photographer little bird
      a mini waikiki photographer captures her parents as they exchange vows
      mini waikiki photographer
      family portrait
      girl draws a heart in the sand in waikiki beach
      couple hugs during a 10th anniversary celebration in hawaii
      dad and daughter play flight during a fun family photography session in hawaii
      girl and her dad play at magic island in waikiki
      family portrait by oahu family photographer
      girl does handstands by a banyan tree is waikiki
      family splashes at magic island beach outside waikiki

      Need a Waikiki Photographer for Your Family Vacation?

      Let’s head out for a morning adventure! Find out more about my fun family photo sessions here.

      Mini Family Portrait + Film Session | Lanikai Beach Sunrise, Kailua Oahu

      A Late Start

      It was a rough start to the morning. They were planning to make the long drive from Koolina to Lanikai Beach by sunrise, but they woke up late. In a rush, they left their custom lei po’o in the parking garage. The beautiful flowers lie on the ground next to their parking spot wilting in the growing heat. To make matters worse, leaving late meant they were stuck in rush hour traffic and arrived well after sunrise. As a mom hoping for great photos and a great experience, it was hard to shake off the frazzled, disappointed energy. Fortunately, kids don’t care about lighting or pretty leis, they care about fun and the beach and they immediately got to playing.

      Can’t Stop the Fun

      Sheri and her family have photos taken annually for Christmas cards but doesn’t love the experience. For their first Hawaii session, she wanted something that didn’t feel forced and unnatural. Besides, her girls have a lot of energy and she hates stressing about them following directions.

      So we scheduled a mini photo and film family session at one of my favorite, baby-friendly beaches. An easy morning of games and beach time. They were a little tentative around the water at first, but quickly discovered the joys of chasing waves. They played and laughed as a family, the mornings chaos happily left behind.

      You can see their mini family film below.

      And you can see a sample of their photos below –

      mom holds baby and watches family play along the shore at lanikai beach
      dad and toddler portrait at the beach
      family walking along the shore at lanikai beach kailua
      portrait of a girl at the beach
      mom and toddler photo session at lanikai beach with the mokuluas in the background
      dad holds daughter in the air at sunrise over lanikai beach during a family photogrpahy session in hawaii
      girl hugs older brother during a photo session
      silhouette of dad and daughters on the beach at lanikai beach
      closeup toddler portrait
      sisters hold hands at lanikai beach
      mom and toddler daughter play at lanikai beach during a photo session
      sisters play in the water at lanikai beach
      girl running to get water at lanikai beach kailua during a fun photo session
      big sister holding baby at lanikai beach
      toddler and footprints in the sand in kailua oahu

      Want a Bit of Both Worlds?

      Not sure how you feel about a family film? Only need a small set of photos? Book a mini family portrait + film session so you can have the best of both worlds. Contact me today so we can start planning a fun morning that fits your family.

      [email protected]

      tel : 808.783.3602

      Serving Oahu + all Hawaiian islands

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