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Family Photographers on Oahu | Their Happy Place

There’s Something About Hawaii

family walking on the beach in koolina at sunrise by Family Photographers on Oahu

It’s such a delight to photograph families on vacation. Everyone is relaxed, happy and ready for a bit of adventure. I get to show them some of my favorite places and seeing their joy makes me fall in love with Hawaii all over again. One thing that surprised me when I became a photographer was the number of people who visit the islands regularly. Some make it a habit to fly to Hawaii every two or three years. For others it’s a cherished annual tradition and then there are those who visit so often they decide to invest in a vacation home here. These returning families always seem to have the most fun at our photo sessions.

It makes sense. Something about Hawaii – the sparking ocean, the warm sunshine, the plumeria scented tradewinds – fills their hearts and keeps drawing them back. They know enough to be comfortable navigating the islands and visiting favorite beaches and restaurants, yet there’s still space to discover new delights. Hawaii is their happy place.

About the Session

I’ve been lucky enough to photograph Michelle in their family’s happy place since 2016 when they had three children under three-years-old. I remember a teething baby, a toddler nervous about the waves and a few tears. As they’ve grown, the kids have developed an intense love of the ocean and their faces light up when we hit the beach. Even their newest addition is a natural born water baby.

This year, we were finally able to make it to Paradise Cove Beach in Koolina. We attempted a visit for our last session but a critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal had birthed a pup on the beach and it was closed for their protection. In a last-minute scramble we made our way to nearby Secret Beach by the Four Seasons. No seals surprised us this year and we were able to play and make memories at an empty beach.

siblings playing on the beach in hawaii during a family photoshoot at koolina
family playing on the beach at paradise cove lagoon oahu
brothers playing on the beach at paradise cove koolina for family photos
family hug during a hawaii family reunion photo session
family photshoot in hawaii
baby enjoying her first day at the beach
fun family portraits in Hawaii at koolina lagoon
laughing mom and daughter portrait at the beach in hawaii
dad and baby at the beach in hawaii
sisters during a hawaii beach photoshoot
portrait of mom and her four children during a koolina photo session
family laughing on the beach in hawaii
baby eating sand at the beach during a portrait session in oahu
family playing in the blue water of koolina lagoon oahu
family playing at paradise cove oahu for family photos
boy floating in an intertube
kids enjoying the beach at koolina
siblings splashing in the shallows at koolina lagoon during photo session at the beach
family portrait in the water in koolina oahu
siblings play in the warm hawaii lagoon at koolina
mom cuddles kids in the water after a long morning at the beach

Is Hawaii Your Special Place?

If clear blue water and golden sunshine makes you happy let’s schedule a family photo session at the beach. We can start of with some silly games and then I’ll turn you loose to play and love against the beautiful backdrop of Hawaii. Find out more about my fun family photography here.

Oahu Family Photography Beach | A Quiet Sunset Over the Koolaus

The Transformation

Maybe one of my favorite things about photographing families with young kids is the challenge. When we first meet they are often quiet and unsure. They hide behind mom’s leg or cling like koalas. Sometimes they’re unhappy, howling in misery from their car seats, kicking and thrashing in protest when exasperated parents try to extract them. That’s when I get to work. What words or game will turn this situation around? No family is exactly alike so it’s a bit like a puzzle. Push a little there, pull a little here and finally a click! They’re happy and laughing and are so fully engrossed in playing and exploring that any thoughts of protest or hesitation disappear.

One memorable toddler refused to get of the car. He shut the door when I approached and stared at me with narrowed eyes while stomping his feet and screaming. Ten minutes later he was excitedly showing me his rock collection and he had so much fun that it was fully dark before we could pull him away from the beach.

Karyn’s sweet children we’re not protestors, merely unsure and hesitant. And because of COVID, I had to wear a mask which I’ve learned is a handicap with the younger crowd. When they can’t see my expressions, they have a harder time connecting. But before long the little explorers were in their happy place.

A Secret Beach

We were hoping to play on the beach under soft rays of evening sunshine at Kualoa Beach Park. Although the forecast had been promising I felt doubtful as I made the sinuous drive up the windward coast. Thick clouds dominated the sky and they seemed to stick stubbornly on the mountain tops. The sun was nowhere in site.

To avoid crowds we made our way up the beach past picnicking families, over tree roots, and through a tree tunnel finally emerging onto an empty swath of beach. If we couldn’t have sunshine we could at least have solitude. We played and splashed against the blue of Kaneohe bay and made plans to return again.

Oahu family photography beach at kualoa hawaii
Oahu family photographer beach
dad helps toddler son climb a tree during a fun family photoshoot in oahu
mom and baby laughing during a hawaii family photo session at kualoa
family walking on the beach in hawaii at sunset
mom holding hands of happy baby during a family photo session at kualoa beach park oahu
little boy and dad playing at the beach in hawaii
dad and baby playing at the beach with kaneohe bay in the background
baby balancing on driftwood on a hawaii beach
family snuggling during a sunset photo session in kaneohe bay oahu
playful boy looking through a piece of coal at kualoa beach park during family photos
dad playing with his two young kids at the beach in oahu hawaii

How Does Your Family Play Together?

Let’s plan a memorable evening of silly family fun doing something you love. We can meet at your favorite beach, park, home, or some combination so you can push pause on your hectic life and create some memories to treasure. Find out more about my fun family photography sessions here.

Best Oahu Family Beach | A Bit of Paradise in Koolina

mom and daughter float at the best oahu family beach

Looking for the Best Oahu Family Beach?

Okay, I hear you. You want to know where to find the best beach in Oahu. Cut out all the nonsense and direct you straight to paradise. I like your style. But what would the “best family beach” even look like?

I’ll share some details of my top pick and you decide if it matches your vision of the perfect family beach. Okay, here it goes –

  • A small cove protected from big waves
  • Shallow, easy entry with a sandy-bottom
  • Palm trees swaying overhead with views of the leeward coast in the distance
  • Tide pools for tiny adventures to explore
  • Easy (although not super diverse) snorkeling (great for beginners!)
  • Easy access – a short walk from the parking lot
  • A little bit of shade if you’re early
  • Frequent visits by sea turtles!

And where is the magnificent beach, you ask? It’s Paradise Cove Beach in Koolina along the leeward coast of Oahu. It’s basically the only oasis of nature in a man-made resort town. There is limited parking (a mere 12 spaces) and no bathroom, but it’s still worth it.

A Hidden Treasure

I first learned of this beach a decade ago during a child’s birthday party at adjacent Lanikuhonua. I wandered away from the bubbles and balloons for a bit of quiet and noticed a pristine strip of beach tucked on the other side of the hedges. We returned the very next weekend and fell in love.

Despite our love of this little beach, we don’t go there often as a family. You have to get up early (not a morning person), wait in line for parking (no patience for that), or park at Aulani Resort and pay the hefty $39 parking fee. That one hurts.

A Great Beach for Family Photos

More often, I visit Paradise Cove to photograph other families having fun. It’s become my second office and a beautiful one at that. It’s easy and safe for small kids. There’s a diverse background and a little something for all personality types, but mostly I love the water. It’s my favorite spot to jump in the warm turquoise water and photograph families at play.

Need More Oahu Family Beaches?

If you have young children, babies, or non-swimmers you can find a roundup of all my favorite Oahu family beaches here. For more tips and inspiration on island family fun, sign up for the Little Bird Post below!

Oahu Baby Photography | A Perfect Winter Morning in Hawaii

oahu baby photography at waimanalo beach

And So We Meet Again

A rainbow shone brightly above their home the first time I met JoAnne and her family of three. Baby Asa was brand new at that time. He was a chubby-cheeked bundle with a shock of stylish black hair. You can see his newborn session here for an extra dose of cuteness.

They were the first family I photographed in 2020 so their sweet family would be the first images I saw every time I opened my photo catalog. I thought about them over the long months and wondered how they were doing. Finally, when baby Asa was about to turn one, we were able to meet again. They had survived the epic journey of the first year (and during a pandemic to boot) and it was time to celebrate.

About the Session

Watching families grow over the years is one of the best parts of being a family photographer. I get to celebrate the milestones, the joys, the big personalities, and all the love as it evolves over the years so it was a delight to see them again.

Instead of meeting at home, they chose the big openness of Sherwoods Beach in Waimanalo for their session. Mornings without wind on the windward side make for some of the most stunning sunrises. Salt hangs in the air, reflecting gold in the morning light while waves shimmer turquoise before crashing on the shore.

I could tell it was one of those special mornings when I emerged from the car in a soft breeze rather than the gale-force winds that try to shove me back inside.

We made our way to the beach, giddy with all that beauty and cuteness combined. Time passed quickly as they played along the shore with waves tickling baby toes. As with all babies, the timer was ticking and small yawns signalled a nap was near. We ended the session by exploring the forest floor and making music with sticks and logs. It was a beautiful morning.

How Does Your Family Connect?

Let’s head to your favorite place so you can laugh, love, and make memories together. Find out more about my fun family photography sessions here.

A Quiet Hawaii Farm Wedding at Keiki & Plow | A Wedding Story

A Unique Hawaii Farm Wedding Venue

Tucked beneath the shadow of Koko Head stretches the small but mighty Keiki + Plow Farms. This family farm is an oasis. During the dry season, it’s a splash of color and life on the otherwise parched slopes. Similarly, the farm was an oasis of hope and joy during the trials of the pandemic.

Here, families could feel flashes of pre-pandemic normality. They could pick up up farm-fresh vegetables or rent out the keiki play area where kids could expand their imaginations and play freely. They would dig their tiny fingers in the earth, chase chickens, feed goats, and whip up curious meals in the outdoor kitchen. Online, we could follow along with updates on which crops were in season, receive tips for growing your own veggies, get ideas for tasty recipes, and see photos of beloved farm animals. It was a welcome change of pace from the heavy news of the day.

And then they planted sunflowers. Does a happier flower exist?

girl with a baby chick at a childrens farm in oahu
child holding a baby chick at an oahu childrens farm
A sunflower field planted for hawaii farm weddings at keiki and plow

As restrictions began to lift, the farm was able to expand their reach to include intimate weddings. Hay bales strewed with flowers and sturdy wooden tables decorated with candles and linen made for a beautifully rustic Hawaii farm wedding venue. In the future, they have plans to work with local chefs to make it a truly sublime farm-to-table experience.

A Much Needed Family Reunion

Candy anxiously awaited the arrival of her son and her soon-to-be daughter-in-law. The pandemic had caused them to cancel their wedding twice so far and now nothing felt quite certain until it was happening. She had reached out asking me to create a film of the day. Even though it wasn’t the big celebration they originally planned, it was perhaps more meaningful. Their wedding was an opportunity for a family reunion – a small, but long overdue one. Candy wanted to document not only the ceremony but the entire family coming together.

It was a beautiful day with tiny cousins playing together, good food shared by candlelight, smore’s at sunset next to the warmth of a crackling fire, dancing in the rain, and good conversation late into the evening.

Watch their sweet wedding reunion film here –

Do You Have an Upcoming Celebration Planned?

Whether it’s a Hawaii farm wedding, a special birthday celebration, or even a memorable vacation, I’ll capture your memories – the shared laughter, love, and silliness – and weave them into a beautiful film that you will treasure for years to come. Find out about my easy photography and film sessions here.

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tel : 808.783.3602

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