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Kailua Beach Family Photos | A brilliant Hawaii sunrise

dad holding son in the air at sunrise at kalama beach park oahu

A memory spark

As much as I hate to admit it, I have a terrible memory. Growing up in the Midwest we had to take the California Achievement Tests each year and there was a memory component. I would try ridiculously hard to remember strings of nonsensical words, but I was hopeless and could never improve my scores. And my memory is not getting any better with age so I have a hard time remembering faces.

This family, though, I remember. It was about 7 years ago that I first got to photograph a cherubic baby sitting solemnly among the flowering vines at Waimanalo Beach. I remember her chubby legs perched on her dad’s shoulders – too short yet to do anything but stick straight out. This family, those images have stayed with me and when they reach out for photos, I’m always delighted to see them again.

Seeking the greens and blues

Our last photo session was at Kalama Beach Park in the middle of Kailua Bay. It’s a location near and dear to my heart because it’s one of my family’s favorite beaches. Every time I shoot there, I wonder why I don’t do it more often. Perhaps because it feels like cheating to shoot so close to home? It doesn’t make sense I realize.

We looked at alternate locations for this session but kept coming back to the lovely greens and blues of Kalama Beach and we headed back for another morning of beach fun. This family sticks in my memory for good reason. They are overflowing with love and silliness and always a joy to see.

kailua beach family photos at sunrise
portrait of dad and son at the beach in hawaii
mom and daughter walk along kailua beach at sunrise
dad and son share a laugh during a kailua family photo session
family portrait on kailua beach
siblings play on the beach
family walking on kailua beach with reflections of the sky on the water
boy investigating algae
mom and daughter snuggle during a kailua family photo session
girl walking in the shallows of kailua beach with mokes in the background
dad and son walking on the beach with big trees behind
dad and daughter laughing during a hawaii family photo session
portrait of a family hug by hawaii family photographer little bird.
family laughing at the beach
girl examining pandanus fruits in kailua
family on the beach in kailua
boy playing in the shallows at kailua beach with cloud reflections

Want to take home memories of your family vacation?

No need to stand awkwardly on the beach smiling at a camera. Let me suggest some great spots where you can actually play and enjoy your time together against the beautiful backdrop of Hawaii. Find out more about my fun family photography sessions here.

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    Koolina Beach family photography + films | A Sweet morning

    family walking along an empty beach at koolina oahu

    Happy vibes

    Some people seem to radiate joyful vibes. I’m not sure if it was a side effect of being on vacation, but this whole family was full of joy and happiness. As soon as we met in the tiny parking lot for Paradise Cove Beach in Koolina, the kids were hopping up and down and excited to get started. They were ready for anything and the morning didn’t disappoint.

    Koolina Beach family photography

    With most of the island under cloud cover, Koolina was shining in the sun. It was built as a second Waikiki of sorts based on the amount of sunshine. As we approached the beach we heard the roar of winter waves in the distance. Some were crashing over the barrier reef sending bits of algae into the cove – perfect conditions for sea turtles. Right away, we were able to spot little heads popping up around the cove as turtles searched for their favorite snack.

    It was too chilly to join them just yet, but there were shells to find and games to play as the sun warmed up the cove. When it was finally time to jump in, the surf had increased sending waves into the cove. A bit nervous at first and then delighted, the kids surfed the little waves in pink intertubes, riding them all the way to shore. Such a fun morning, but being brave takes a toll. Exhausted and hungry it was time to move on for some lunch, but they planned to return again soon.

    < Click play to see their family film below >

    < and see their a sample of their family photos here >

    playful dad and daughter at a family photoshoot in hawaii
    mom and daughter portrait at sunrise
    mom and son share a big laugh on the beach
    happy portrait of a girl on the beach
    mom and son at the beach
    family walking along the beach with palm trees behind oahu
    family portraits in oahu
    girl giving her dad at the beach
    siblings share a sweet moment at the beach in oahu
    mom and daughter snuggle close at sunrise during a family photo shoot
    dad and son at paradise cove koolina
    best spots to find sea turtles on oahu
    dad pushing son in an intertube

    Want to capture happy times for your own family?

    Let’s head to the beach for a bit of fun and adventure. We can make sand castles, explore tide pools, play in the surf and if we’re lucky, find some sea turtles! Find out more about my fun family photography and film sessions here.

    Oahu Maternity Photos | A Secret Island Sunset, Kualoa Hawaii

    couple on the beach at kualoa

    A bit of serenity

    I love this little beach in Kualoa Regional Park. Kualoa itself is a spectacular backdrop for a photo session with lots of diversity in a fairly small area. But this out of the way strip of beach, well, there’s something about it that’s so peaceful and calm. It feels like you hang up a hammock and spend a day or a week without a care in the world – just enjoying the light breeze and warm sun on your face.

    Baby on the way

    It was an ideal place for Oahu maternity photos. After sharing an adventurous life, these two were ready for the next step. An adventure that no one can quite grasp until they experience it first hand.

    The cool mountains and calm water created a peaceful backdrop to enjoy each other’s company and imagine the future with eager anticipation. How great to come back to this very spot in a years time with a baby taking his first steps?

    maternity photos at kualoa beach in windward oahu
    beach maternity portraits in oahu hawaii
    couple walking along the beach in windward oahu
    maternity portrait at the beach for woman in a yellow skirt
    underwater maternity portrait with sky reflection windward oahu
    couple lounges on the beach during a maternity photoshoot
    pregnant woman walking along the beach with mountains and rain behind oahu hawaii
    couple posing on the beach during a photo session
    closeup of pregnant belly with yellow skirt in the dunes
    couple holding hands in the water during maternity photo session
    couple sharing a laugh
    couple snuggles on the beach
    pregnant woman in yellow skirt in the water
    couple portrait at sunset over koolau mountains oahu
    maternity portraits on the pier at kualoa hawaii
    couple holding hands at sunset
    couple portrait at secret island oahu
    sunset maternity session at kualoa

    Looking for a relaxed maternity session?

    I’m happy to plan a mellow evening for you to take it easy and capture moments before your next big adventure. Bonus points if you want to jump in the water! Find out more about my fun photography sessions here.

    Hawaii family beach portraits | A day on Oahu to remember

    dad carrying baby on shoulders with mountains behind at kahana bay

    Celebrating a first birthday with a family film

    When people reach out with a photo request to celebrate a first birthday, I always get excited. It’s like being an auntie. I get to experience all the joys and extreme cuteness of a baby with none of the cleanup, work, or sleep deprivation. To make a film for a first birthday? Even better. I mean everything a baby does is adorable – tiny feet and hands in the sand, the way their belly hangs over their diaper, the little giggles … even crying is adorable.

    The cuteness level of this baby, of this family, was over the top. Most families are understandably a little unsure of what to do at the start of a session and I help ease them in with a bit of directing. This family, however, was immediately comfortable and so in-sync that I didn’t want to interrupt them.

    Slowly into the sea

    We met at sleepy Kahana Bay to start a beautiful, sunny day. At first, baby C was deeply unnerved by the unpredictable ocean. If you got too close to water, he would erupt into fat tears. We kept our distance from the wet stuff and dug in the sand, ready books and played his favorite sport – baseball. Check out the video below to watch his serious face as swings at kukui nuts with a bit of driftwood. Precious. By the end of the morning he was fully in and splashing like a champion.

    < Click play to watch their family film below >

    < And see a sample of their images here >

    a couple comforts a crying baby at a beach photo session in oahu
    mom holding baby in the air at kahana bay at sunrise
    dad sneak tickles baby during a hawaii family photoshoot
    mom reading a book to baby son on the beach in oahu
    mom and baby play on the beach
    family with a baby plays on an empty beach in hawaii
    enjoying the best baby beach on oahu at mellow kahana
    family taking photos on the beach
    mom and baby play with sand toys
    mom and baby snuggle on the beach

    Shave ice for the win

    The were excited for baby C to try his first shave ice so we made a special trip to Kailua for a cold treat at Island Snow. He was definitely a fan and by the way, natural syrups are the best! I recommend lychee or lilikoi for tropical goodness. Check out their shave ice mini film below.

    Do you wish you could pause time?

    Let me help you plan an easy, sweet morning where you can spend time together against a beautiful backdrop and make memories. I’ll help you hold onto this time with video and photos for you to treasure. Find out more about my film and photography sessions here.

    Family photographers in Oahu | New in town | Koolina Lagoons

    The Incident

    I was on the edge of a cold bleacher seat watching a fast-paced futsal game when the panicked text came in. It was a hair emergency. A home hair cut gone wrong with a slip of the clippers and now a little boy was bald. Fortunately, Chevas and here family live on Oahu so it was easy to postpone their photo session to regrow some hair.

    Hair stylist friends recommend against getting a hair cut before a photo session. And if you do, they suggest at least a week before your scheduled date. With my own hair in a perpetual ponytail, I was never sure of the reasoning here and it seemed a bit excessive, but maybe there’s something to it after all.

    New in town

    Anyone who catches that John Mulaney reference has my heart. Anyway, this family really is new in town. The arrived to the island mid-pandemic which kept them from fully exploring. Still, they they knew they were a beach-loving family and were fully ready to jump in the water.

    Normally, Koolina is an ideal spot for babies and toddlers. A barrier reef at Paradise Cove Beach creates a protected lagoon and even if you’re outnumbered by your children, you can easily keep them close.

    However, a high tide plus big swell changed all that. A strong current ripped through the normally placid inter-tidal zone and created a deep channel just off shore so if you got too curious and too close to the water’s edge, you would start sinking fast. Combined with the current? Well … no longer so toddler friendly.

    Coming from the windward side I knew that weather was in rare form over there – perfectly calm and vividly blue. It was the type of weather that makes me wish I was taking photos on the beach. Despite coming off a bit creepy, I have actually offered to take photos for random families playing on the beach because it was so beautiful.

    To the windward side we traveled and spent the last of our energy at Lanikai Beach on a most beautiful morning.

    family photographers in oahu capture portraits of joy

    Do you have a water-loving family?

    Let’s head to the beach and make some memories! Find out more about my fun family photography sessions here.

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