Honolulu Family Lifestyle Video | A Family Tradition

A Workshop

We first met at the Honolulu airport many years ago. I kicked the coffee-stained carpet and shifted under the weight of my camera bag as we talked in the waiting area. We were heading to Maui for a workshop and I was nervous. It was my first family photography workshop ever and I wasn’t sure what to expect. Kim became my security blanket. Although we had just met, we were at least traveling together and that felt significant.

The workshop began with us gathered on the carpet with legs crossed like grade-schoolers. It was intense and hard. There was a lot of … squishiness. We spent time digging into our pasts and discussing emotions. We stared into each other’s eyes for an uncomfortably long time. The things we do to become better photographers. I struggled. With a science background, I approach problems with careful research and meticulous note-taking. This approach was foreign and painful. Tears spilled as people shared hard truths and troubled pasts. As much as I wanted to excel, I couldn’t identify a painful memory to draw meaning and inspiration for my work. The experience itself was a bit traumatic, but I was able to meet some wonderful local photographers like Kim. When she asked me to make a film for her family, I was thrilled.

A Perfect Day Captured

Our first attempt at a family lifestyle video was met with cloudy skies and rain showers. The gloomy weather didn’t quite suit her family. Golden sunshine and the deep blues of the ocean felt like a better fit so we waited. For our second attempt, we planned the afternoon around favorite family activities. We started with a little biking (and unicycling!) at home before heading to nearby Kaimana Beach, a family favorite just outside Waikiki.

A warm breeze blew from the ocean carrying the sound of laughter as the kids played and splashed with abandon. The sun sank slowly and dramatically over the Waianae mountains forcing us to end a perfect day.

Click the play button to watch their family film –

And I couldn’t help but grab a few still images as well …

photos captured during a Honolulu Family Lifestyle Video session in waikiki
footprints in the sand
boy playing in the sand in waikiki with sun flare
hawaii family lifestyle photographer captures a boy near the water at sunset in waikiki

What Does a Perfect Family Day Look Like for You?

Tell me what’s important to you or we can talk about what you have in mind so I can make suggestions for a fun family day. You can book a session just for photos, just for a film, or the best of both. Either way, you will make great memories! Find out more about my easy family photography and film sessions here.

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    Winter in Hawaii | 4 Reasons Why Winter is Best for Your Hawaii Family Vacation

    Cooler Temperatures

    What’s that you say? Hawaii has seasons? Well, yes. Yes, it does. Summer and Winter a.k.a hot and less hot with the latter running November to April. As I write, I am currently wearing wool socks, wool pants, two shirts, and a sweater. Despite the layers, I find myself contemplating if I can type with gloves on. How cold is it? Well, I was distraught to discover the temperature is not in the 50s as it seems, but rather a balmy 65F. Still, brrr.

    But winter in Hawaii brings more than chilly weather. It also brings rain which magically transforms the island from dusky brown to verdant green. Heavy clouds can settle across the sky for days at a time, but more commonly you’ll just experience a quick shower here and there. Why risk the rain? Well, a sunny winter day in Hawaii is sublime – sparkling blue waters, a light breeze, and gentle sunshine wrapping you in a warm hug.

    The cooler temperatures are perfect for hiking especially exposed ridge and crater hikes. You might try hiking Koko Head or it’s smaller cousin Diamond Head to take in big sweeping views without the sweltering heat of summer. Additionally, the upside of rain is flowing waterfalls. Easy options include Manoa Falls and Hamama Falls.

    dad and daughter hiking in hawaii
    boy enjoying a waterfall in hawaii

    Fewer Crowds

    Tourism numbers continue to rise in Hawaii with a record of 10 million visitors in 2019. The crowds and traffic reach a zenith in December and just when you start to feel dread to even leave your home, the congestion eases and you can breathe again. That period, after the holidays, that’s when you can move freely around the islands and enjoy a bit of solitude. At least until summertime.

    an empty beach on the north shore of oahu

    Big Surf

    You know those big waves you’ve heard about? The 40-foot monsters that turn surfers into legends? Winter is when you will find them. Head to the north shore of Oahu and visit Banzai Pipeline at Ehukai Beach Park, picture-perfect Sunset Beach or Laniakea, north of Haleiwa. On Maui, Hookipa doubles as both a popular surfing spot with consistent waves and a great windsurfing spot. On Kauai, catch beautiful waves at Hanalei Bay.

    Winter in Hawaii with big waves on the north shore
    a surfer at waimean bay on oahu's north shore

    Humpback Whales!

    Hawaii and Alaska share joint custody of humpback whales. The whales fatten up in the nutrient-rich waters around Alaska and in fall travel to the warmth and safety of Hawaii to birth their young. On Oahu, you can search for whales while enjoying the views of the windward coast at Makapuu Lighthouse Trail or adventure to the tip of the island at Kaena Point. All of the islands have boat tours, but the best place to search for whales is off Maui. The clear, shallow waters that connect Maui, Lanai, and Kahoolawe are particularly appealing to whales. Book with the Pacific Whale Foundation for the best experience.

    Need Ideas for Your Family Adventure?

    If you’re visiting Hawaii in winter and get stuck with one of those rainy days, there are options. Check out this post for family fun despite the wet weather. And sign up for the Little Bird Post for more tips on family fun in Hawaii.

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      Secret Beach Koolina Family Photographer | Waiting in Paradise

      Dangerous Marine Life Spotted

      My go-to spot for photo sessions in the Koolina area is Paradise Cove. However, on this particular morning, the public parking lot was roped off with a curious sign that read “Dangerous marine life spotted in this area.” Dangerous marine life? My mind reeled. What on earth could it be? Visions of sea snakes, toothy eels, and hungry fish raced through my mind. None of it made sense. In fact, I’ve only heard of beaches closing after a shark attack or maybe a heavy jellyfish inundation. Neither of which were plausible at paradise cove. I had a feeling what this dangerous sea creature might be, but I had to know for sure.

      Fortunately, I was early for my session. I found alternate parking and ran back to the cove to investigate. As the familiar path opened to reveal the beach it was just as I suspected, the dangerous creature in question was sunning herself in a lazy heap on the sand. She stretched and rolled slightly revealing a small bundle of fuzz beneath. It was an endangered Hawaiian monk seal and her newborn pup. Not exactly scary, but a special and delicate event. I walked over to talk to the seal team who beamed with pride. This pup was the first born in Koolina in over 20 years. These volunteers make daily forays around the island to locate and protect endangered monk seals in need of a rest.

      Not So Secret Beach

      The new life around us felt like a fitting backdrop for a maternity photoshoot. We quickly changed plans and met at nearby Secret Beach. Of course, Secret Beach isn’t really a secret. How could it be when it’s surrounded by towering resorts and well, nothing can hide from the internet. Ahem. But it’s small and wild and tucked out of the way making it feel special and lovely. It was an ideal spot to meet up with one of my favorite families. Each time we meet they exude patience, curiosity, and humor. They are unphased by toddler meltdowns, mosquitoes, or anything the day throws at them. They simply laugh and hold on to each other a little bit tighter. I always leave their sessions feeling the world is a bit brighter.

      secret beach koolina family photographer
      maternity portrait at secret beach koolina oahu
      family portraits at secret beach in oahu hawaii
      boy holding a crab during a photoshoot in hawaii
      dad and son share a laugh during a family photo session by little bird photography + films
      family portrait at secret beach on oahu
      maternity portraits at secret beach in koolina oahu

      What Does Your Perfect Day Look Like?

      Let’s plan an easy day where you have the time and space to enjoy your favorite people and make sunny memories. Find out more about my Hawaii family photography and film sessions here.

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        Sunrise Family Portraits on Oahu | A Day to Remember

        A Day to Remember

        The twins were celebrating their eighth birthday. It was one of many reasons for their trip to Hawaii. They would start with photos at sunrise and then head deep into Kualoa Valley to fly down ziplines with Jurassic Park vistas. You can almost feel the dinosaurs hiding behind the trees or about to crest a distant hill. The kids were excited and full of energy about the day’s plans, but first photos. It had been a difficult year and Lillian wanted to start the day with a short photo session to pause for moments of reflection and connection. It was a way to celebrate life.

        Morning at Kuoaloa Beach Park

        They made the long drive from Aulani Resort in Koolina to play under the verdant Kualoa mountain range. Kualoa means “long, large back”. A reference to the mountain’s resemblance to the back of a giant lizard. Legend has it that Hi’iaka, sister to Pele the fire goddess, was chased by this large lizard or mo’o as she passed through the area one day. She killed him in a great battle, chopped off his tail, and threw it into the ocean where it is still seen today as Mokoli’i Island or Chinaman’s Hat.

        Mokoli’i Island was immediately evident as we entered Kualoa Regional Park. A layer of fluffy clouds stubbornly surrounded the island. No wind stirred to move them creating a soft, contemplative mood. The mood was quickly disrupted by fits of laughter, as you should expect from any good family photo session. After all, eight is an age for making crazy faces and telling bad jokes. It’s the age you perfect the art of the eye roll in the face of all those bad jokes. Fortunately, it’s not all silliness and wild energy. There are still hugs and cuddles in abundance.

        family watching the sun rise over the beach during Sunrise Family Portraits on Oahu
        mom and daughter hug at sunrise in oahu during a beach photoshoot by little bird photography
        mom and daughter portrait at sunrise with mountains behind at kualoa beach in oahu
        portrait of a boy laughing
        a couple snuggles at sunrise with chinaman's hat behind
        portrait of a girl at sunrise at kualoa park in oahu
        twin siblings play along the shore at sunrise during a hawaii family photo session
        daughter hugging her dad during a family photo session in hawaii
        family playing along the shore at kualoa regional park in oahu
        mom and twins sharing a laugh during a family photoshoot at kualoa beach
        family portrait with mountains behind at kualoa park
        portrait of a mom and son being silly during a beach photo session

        Do You Have a Big Reason to Celebrate?

        Let’s plan a fun morning to capture beautiful images so you can make your memories last. Find out more about my fun family photography and film sessions here.

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          Ko olina Lagoon Photographer | The Best Kind of Swimming Pool

          The Trials + Tribulations of Family Photography

          My images showcase happy families playing, exploring and loving one another. And yet, I don’t want to give you the impression that all family photography sessions are butterflies and rainbows. The little people in our lives are fickle creatures, especially when traveling and in a new environment. These sensitive souls may show their unease with clinging hugs, fat tears, or flat out disagreement. But that’s okay. With a few extra hugs and a bit (a lot) of patience, we can find our way back to happy.

          Pinky knows the drill. It was the third time I had the opportunity to photograph her beautiful family. Each time we had to overcome a few tears to reach unfettered joy. That’s why my sessions are a bit longer. I want to give your family the space it needs to connect and play.

          A Little Bit of Paradise

          Paradise Cove is such a great beach for babies and toddlers. The entry is shallow and the surrounding reef buffers big waves leaving calm, clear waters to explore. The tide pools are an added delight as tiny fingers can examine hermit crabs up close and search for camouflaged fish. The cove is small which is a nice way to keep kids contained, but challenging for photo sessions. We started just after sunrise when the beach is normally empty. However, on this particular morning, several jet-lagged families were scattered around the cove. High tide added to the trouble leaving us constrained to a small space near the water’s edge. The kids couldn’t be distracted. They looked at the water longingly and even tried to make some sneaky moves around legs to get to it. Being so close, but not allowed in was torture.

          And so we relented. Everyone changed into swimsuits and the mood dramatically shifted. Now it wasn’t a photo session, it was a beach day. There was nothing to protest, only fun to be had. After an hour or so, the crowds dissipated and we had the cove to ourselves. We even saw a sea turtle before home.

          dad and toddler at koolina beach
          mom and daughter at the beach in hawaii
          toddler portrait at the beach in ko olina oahu
          beautiful family playing at the beach during a portrait session
          boy playing in the sand in hawaii
          mom hugging daughter in the water in hawaii bnw portrait
          dad leading kids into the shallow blue waters in hawaii
          fun family photograph in the water at ko olina lagoon in hawaii
          family portrait at paradise cove with a palm tree shadow
          a family plays at paradise beach in hawaii on a sunny day
          a fun family portrait taken in the water at Paradise Cove in Hawaii
          daughter snuggling mom at the beach during a fun family photo session
          girl yelling in joy while wearing rainbow sunglasses at the beach
          baby and dad in the clear waters of paradise cove ko olina
          family portrait session in hawaii with a ko olina family photographer
          mom and baby in the water at paradise cove by little bird photography

          Do You Have a Beach-Loving Family?

          If you have a fun, water-loving family there’s no need for static family portraits on the beach. You can jump in, play, explore and enjoy a great day with your family and take home beautiful images. Find out more about my fun family photography sessions here.

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