Hawaii Photographers in Oahu | Laie Sunrise

Hawaii Photographers in Oahu Have Beautiful Beach Options

“What’s the best beach for family photos?” I get that question often, but I have no answer. There are so many different types of beach on the island. You can find wide, sandy beaches that stretch as far as you can see. There are rocky coasts peppered with tide pools to explore. Some beaches are adjacent to scraggily coastal forest perfect for hammocks. Others are hotel adjacent with beach chairs, bars, and live music. We’re spoiled for choice when it comes to beaches. One of my favorites for photo sessions, however, is Laie Beach Park.

From a photography standpoint, long stretches of sandy beach are boring. It’s hard to get creative with just sand and water. The reason I love Laie Beach is that it’s diverse. Yes, it has a wide swath of smooth sand and fun waves to play in, but it also stunning mountain views. The gorgeous backdrop of the windward coast makes it feel like you’re the only people on the island. The cliffs add drama and texture along with a fun vantage point of the scene below. There’s also a park with interesting trees (often adorned with swings) and a stream outlet that’s always changing.

This Session

In a family, there’s always one person who drives the session. For this session, little X was that person. His energy level was unrivaled. This was his show and we were merely along for the ride. Right out of the car, he made a mad dash for the ocean. Tentatively poked holes for crabs skipped down the beach, climbed trees, and tossed coconuts into the surf drawings with sticks.

Long after we all work out, the baby had long ago fallen asleep, X was still going strong. He would have continued to make sand drawings with oversized sticks all day if we hadn’t coaxed him back to the car. A good start to their Hawaiian vacation.


family walking on the beach at sunrise in hawaiiHawaii Photographers in Oahu photo session at Laie beach Parkboy playing witha coconut at the beach while parents look onoahu baby photographed at the beach while held by dadfamily portraits at laie beach park by Little Bird Photographyfamily playing on the beach in hawaii against a dramatic stormy skyboy on the beach with stick in hawaiimom holding baby sunrise silhouette by Little Bird Photographymom and kids playing together on the beach in oahu photo by Little Bird Photographybaby smiling on a blanket in hawaii beach parkfamily snuggling at laie beach park during family photo session in oahuaerial view of mom and baby on the beach in hawaii photo by Little Bird Photographybaby girl with a bow eating a leaf at the beachFamily at the edge of a cliff looking over th ocean in hawaii during family photoshootoahu family photographer photo of dad and son huggingbaby holding her toes during family photo shootoahu family photographer baby and mom b&w photo by Little Bird PhotographyBoy making footprints along the beach in hawaiiHawaii photographers in oahu family photo session

What does your ideal morning in Hawaii look like?

Grab the family and let’s head outside for a fun morning playing and exploring. We can head to your version of the perfect beach! Find out more about my family photography sessions here.

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Birthday party places in Oahu | The Mermaid Bar

Birthday Party Places in Oahu That Make Kids and Adults Happy

When you’re celebrating a baby’s first birthday, it’s all about you. Or at least it should be because that first year is rough. After one year, you have successfully made it to the other side of sleepless nights and endless spit-up. Well, maybe not quite yet, but you’ve made good progress and you should celebrate that milestone.

Looking for birthday party places in Oahu can be overwhelming. But, when the kids in your inner circle are comprised primarily of babies and toddlers, you have some flexibility in party planning. Those little people don’t take up much space and they’re fairly easy to entertain. A balloon and a cupcake will get you far. That’s why I thought The Mermaid Bar at Ala Moana was a fantastic idea for a first birthday party. Instead of focusing on a kid-centric activity like horseback riding, the focus was on stellar food and good company.

An Ice Cream Themed Birthday Party

Mari has an eye for style. For their son’s first birthday, she planned an adorable airplane themed party. This party had a decidedly tastier theme with ice cream and rainbow sprinkles as the heroes. There were sprinkles everywhere – in things, on things, even giant inflatable varieties. Let’s face it, you are never too old for sprinkles. I think it’s safe to say that the adults loved their sprinkled treats just as much as the kids. Maybe more. The kids were more excited about the giant balloons which made them squeal with delight and the toy ice cream truck. In the end, everyone left with full bellies and big smiles. That’s a good party.

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Do you have a special birthday coming up?

Enjoy the celebration with your family and trust me to capture all the important moments. Contact me today to find out about my birthday photography collections.

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Ko olina Photographer | Into the Deep Blue

Why Ko Olina is a Great Beach for Family Photos

When the surf is up on Oahu, it can be hard to find a beach suitable for babies and toddlers or even ocean wary adults. Pounding shorebreak and rip currents don’t exactly make for a relaxing day at the beach. No matter the surf conditions, Ko olina’s protected coves are a great option. Viewed from above, you see the distinct circles lining the coast. A barrier protects each cove from the biggest waves creating a mellow, sand-bottomed sanctuary. Some coves even have easy access with bathrooms, showers, and amenities nearby. During the day a flotilla of beach floats, boats and noodles takes full advantage of the easy sunshine.

As a Ko olina photographer, however, these coves are a bit too crowded and sterile. For photo sessions, I turn to the sole natural cove of the lot. The aptly named Paradise Cove. This small beach is adorned with palm trees and rife with marine life. It’s a perfect spot to search for fish and crabs and sea turtles are regular visitors. The clear, shallow water makes it ideal as a beginners beach for babies and toddlers and lends itself to unique underwater portraits.

About the Session

From the moment we stepped foot on the sand, Henry had just two things on his mind 1. Collect seashells and 2. Get in the water. The shells are everywhere at Paradise Cove. Most are micro shells or splintered coral fragments, but that didn’t dampen his enthusisam. Within 10 minutes his pockets hung low under the weight of gathered treasure. Now he was ready for the water. It took a bit of convincing to keep him dry until the sun warmed up the water. Once it did, he was off in a flash splashing in pure delight. If he hadn’t gotten hungry after a few hours, he would have stayed all day.

honolulu family portraitsbeautifiul places in oahufamily holding hands on the beach in hawaiifamily playing at ko olina lagoon oahu black and white photo by Little Bird Photographyoahu family photographer captures sweet mom and son snuggle at Ko olinaboy collecting shells in hawaii ko olinafamily playing at ko olina lagoonsfamily swinging child on hawaii beach in black and whiteexploring tide pools in hawaii at a hawaii family photoshootfamily portraits at paradise cove ko olinadad and son cuddling at the beach in hawaiibeautifiul places in oahufamily portraits at ko olinaboy splashing water at ko olina lagoon in black and white photo by Little Bird Photographymom and son collecting shells in hawaiidad throwing boy in the air as seen from under the water photo by Little Bird Photographyparadise cove at ko olinafun family photography session in hawaii by Little Bird PhotographyKo olina photographer photo session at Paradise Cove

Do your kids love to play in the water?

No need to struggle to keep them dry and groomed for your beach photo session. Let’s jump in the beautiful blue and have fun instead. There’s nothing like a water session to bring out the biggest smiles and laughs – even shy and reserved kids can’t help letting loose. I’ll help you pick a kid-friendly beach so you can have a fun morning and take away beautiful water portraits. Find out more about my family photography sessions here.

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Family Beach Pictures at Laie Beach | A Moody and Dramatic Landscape

The Beauty of Laie Beach Park

Laie Beach Park is a personal favorite for family beach pictures. This beach is a bit of a chameleon. I’ve enjoyed some stunning sunrises at this beach, but other days are so warm and muggy you can’t wait to jump into the crashing surf.  Even cloudy days lend a dramatic mood that makes the colors feel rich and vibrant. No matter the conditions, it’s always breathtaking.

As you approach the cliffs on the far end of the beach, you’ll notice the noise as towering waves assault the side of the cliffs. This wave action gives the beach a nickname of Pounders Beach. Most days, you’ll find daring body boarders getting pummeled beneath the cliffs. Don’t let that scare you away. The gentle slope of the shore means it’s still fun for even the littlest kids to splash along the edge of the wild surf.

Can a Family Beach Pictures Really Be Fun?

Here’s the thing, getting in front of a camera for traditional family photos isn’t fun. It’s just not. It’s usually awkward and wildly uncomfortable. You start to question everything. Am I standing like a normal person? Does my face look funny? What on earth am I supposed to do with my hands?! And that doesn’t even take into account what the kids are doing. Okay, maybe I’m a little traumatized from my own past photo experiences. That was the driving factor behind Little Bird Photography. I wanted more for less. More meaningful family images with less pain. Much less pain.

Over the course of many years and many families, I’ve developed a long list of tried and true silly games, bad puns, and physical activities designed to get family members close and laughing. I’m usually trying to infuse a boost of energy into the group, but with some families, I simply cannot keep up. This was one of those families.

The Session

Our session quite literally started with crab throwing on the beach. It only got crazier from there. There were races and tree climbing and many bad jokes. They may have “borrowed” a kayak only to have it tip in the surf dumping its disgruntled passengers on the beach. I laughed so hard at times that I couldn’t hold my camera up. My only regret was not having more time to spend with this hilariously fun family.


family playing in the surf for Family Beach PicturesMom and daughter share eskimo kisses during family beach pictures by Little Bird Photographyfamily lies together on beach flowers in oahu for Family Beach Picturesbeautiful view of koolau mountains from laie beach parkmom and daughter exploring coast of oahufamily launching a kayak at laie beach park during a family photo session in oahuportrait of a boy smiling on the beachcrab on the beach in laieFamily Beach Pictures with mom and daughter hugging in black and white by Little Bird Photographymom and daughter hugging under moody skies at a beach in hawaiidad and son playing on the beach in hawaiifamily catching crabs at laie beach park in oahumom giving son a big hug on a beach in hawaiibest views in oahugirl playing in the surf in oahuoahu family photographer at laie beach parkcouples portrait at laie beach parkman trying to catch a crab at a beach in hawaiifamily beach picturesfamily playing along the shore with reflection in the water

Do you have a fun family?

No need to waste a precious morning of your vacation posing for stiff portraits and telling the kids to behave. Your portraits should match your personality. Let’s plan a fun morning adventure so you have a great time and take home great images full of personality. Find out more about my family photo sessions here.

Family Beach Photoshoot : Why You Should Jump in the Water

As a child, I remember perching on my dad’s shoulders in the pool, shivering in anticipation as he counted down and launched me into the deep end. Come to think of it, the only memories I have of my dad playing with us kids involved water – the neighborhood pool, the lake, or rare trips to the ocean.

Water is indelibly linked to my memories of childhood. Maybe that’s why I push my clients to consider getting in the water themselves.

If I’m honest with myself, however, I would be hard pressed to put on a swimsuit for my own family photoshoot. Hypocritical, I know. So I sat down to think about it. Is it really worthwhile to get in the water for a family beach photoshoot?

Top 3 Reasons You Should Jump in the Water for Your Family Beach Photoshoot

top view of a boy in an intertube playing in the surf
3. Don’t fight it, go with the flow

When I was first starting out as a family photographer, I noticed that most kids were drawn to the water. Parents pleaded and bargained with their kids to stay dry. Putting them next to a super fun toy and telling them not to touch it was just not working. The kids were unhappy, and parents were stressed, so I decided to embrace the water.

At first, I encouraged families to splash along the shore. Little toes would tentatively explore the frothy remnants of waves. Emboldened, they would venture further. Faces would light up with each crashing wave and before you knew it, they were all in.

kids running toward the ocean at sunrise during a family beach photoshootboy looking out at the ocean with hands on his headgirl jumping over rocks along the rocky shore of Hawaiiboy surveying the waves in hawaii with a body board toddler holding hands with parents as waves wash over their feet
2. The abstract beauty of water

With camera in hand, I would frantically try to capture all the water fun, but I could never get quite close enough. Even as I waded through thigh-high water hoping a rogue wave wouldn’t take both me and my camera down, I wasn’t close enough. I wanted to be in the action with them, not trying to keep my camera dry from afar.

I made the plunge and invested in a water housing for my camera. With my camera snug and dry inside this beast of a contraption, I could be in the action.

The more I played and experimented, the more I fell in love with water itself. The way the light rays penetrate through the surface like buckshot and creates a dappled pattern on the skin. The effects were beautiful and surprising.

I especially fell in love with over-under water portraits. The exact timing the shutter clicks can reveal or hide what lies beneath in a delightfully unexpected way.

b&w portrait of a girl in the water half over half underunder water view of fish swimming with mountain view in the background at sharks cove oahumountain ocean landscape taken from the water at sunsetcloseup of girl playing in waves at sunsetmom and kids playing in the water in hawaiiocean and ufo clouds and moon taken from the waterdad holding daughters hand while she floats in an intertubeboy on a sup in kaneohe bay at sunset with water bokehview of the north shore oahu at sunset taken from the watersilhoutte of dad and sons in the ocean at sunset in hawaii
1. Pure joy

My beach photoshoots are part directed lifestyle and part documentary. I have to quickly evaluate personalities and push and pull to get what is real from each individual. Some kids are shyer or reserved and although I am able illicit real smiles, I am no match for water.

I have seen water play transform a reserved child whom I could only coax a giggle into one who played in the waves with joy and wild abandon.

If you have a child who loves the water, let them play. Even better, be brave and join them in the water. You can catch waves together, toss them in the air, or have a water fight. You’ll find that water can break down your own walls, so together you can play like kids.

boy on wakiki jetty with arms outstretched in the sunshine viewed from the waterboy blissfully playing in an intertube during a family beach photoshootfeet and sand in hawaiifamily playing in big waves in waimanalo oahugirl laughing at the beach in hawaii with water bokehsiblings chasing each other through the water at paradise cove oahutoddler joyfully plaing in the ocean taken from the water

You can see some of my favorite water sessions here and here. Oh, and maybe just one more here.

But, but, but … I don’t want to be photographed in a swimsuit. I hear you. I’ll be back with tips on what to wear so you can feel comfortable in the water during your photoshoot.