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.



First birthday party Honolulu | Dole Plantation

Planning a first birthday party in Honolulu can feel as monumental as a wedding. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a major milestone worthy of celebration and a fun excuse to bring friends and family together. But, it takes oh so much work and planning. You need to pick a venue, a theme, create invitations, plan games, and make everything pretty. Then you have to select a cake, caterer, and (ahem) photographer. Yes, picking a photographer can be a hassle. However, long after the party has ended, when the confetti and cake crumbs have cleared, you have all the images to make you warm and fuzzy. Memories of your favorite people coming together to celebrate with you. It’s a gift that becomes more valuable over time. Basically, the opposite of cake.

I’ve photographed quite a few first birthday parties over the years. I’ve seen mouth-watering spreads (um, Pig and the Lady catering, yes thank you!) and lavish candy and balloon decorations all with party planners deftly managing every detail. Unfortunately, it’s rare that the birthday boy or girl has any fun. They’re mostly just trying to stay awake.

This birthday party at Dole Plantation, was an exception. The birthday girl held her own with the big kids. She whacked the pinata, chomped donuts, threw water balloons, and sprayed everyone with silly string. She partied so hard that she could be roused for a trip on the train at the end of the day. The day was filled with laughter and sunshine. A great end to an eventful year.

first birthday party honolulubirthday party hula hoop gamefirst bithday luau honolululittle girl with giant baloonsoahu birthday party ideasfirst birthday party event at dole plantationbest birthday party venues on oahutired out after her first birthday partybirthday party at dole plantation in oahu

Do you have a big first birthday party coming up?

There’s no time to host and take photos. Sit back and enjoy the day with your family and friends while I capture all the details and fun moments. Contact me today to learn more about birthday party specials.

Family beach photography at Kawela Bay

Sometimes people end up in Hawaii by chance. They tag along for a family reunion or make the long journey to attend a wedding. If you traveled this far, you might as well make the most of it with a mini family vacation. Seek out a secluded beach. Circle the island in search of sea turtles. Or just relax by the shore at sunset. There are so many ways to make it memorable.

Joanna and her family were attending a wedding at Turtle Bay Resort and decided to squeeze in a family photo shoot. They wanted a bit of greenery and loved the sinuous roots of the banyan trees. We opted for quiet Kawela Bay. Other than a group of people on horseback, we had the bay to ourselves.

Sun light broke through the trees, creating a dreamy haze as we explored the forest. The boys were delighted to climb and search for the perfect stick and their laughter echoed through the trees. Slowly, we made our way to the shore to splash along its edge. It was a lovely, peaceful evening.

family beach photography in hawaiidad holding baby boy for photo session in hawaiimom holding baby in pretty backlightmom and baby playing at kawela bay oahufamily beach photography in oahumom nad baby portrait under a banyan tree in hawaiimom and son playing together at the beachboy playing in the sand north shore of oahu

Want to take home beautiful memories of your time in Hawaii?

Contact me today so we can start planning a fun photo session that’s part adventure and part family snuggles. Find out more about my photography sessions here.

Where do Hawaii residents go on vacation?

Just where do Hawaii residents go on vacation?

I walked off the plane and was immediately enveloped into a blanket humidity. The air was lightly scented of plumeria. It felt like a welcome home hug.

This month I celebrate my 16th year living on Oahu. It was never the plan to stay this long, but somehow it became impossible to leave. It’s an inspiring place as a photographer and nature lover. I find myself reaching for my camera again and again to capture the beauty around me.

Still, as much as I love the islands, I regularly feel the effects of rock fever and need to make a trip. But when you live in major tourist destination, a so called tropical paradise, where do you go on vacation? This is a question I hear often, so I put together a top 4 list.

4. Search for something different

The world is an amazing place and there’s so much to see and experience. Living on an island in the middle of the Pacific means it’s expensive to go anywhere, so why not make the most of it? Many head to the cold to ski down snowy slopes or to just have an excuse to put on warm clothes and drink hot chocolate. Some head to big cities to take in shows and shopping, while others travel to experience different cultures.

If you have flexibility, you can try out Kayak Explore and choose your destination by cheap flights.

san juan islands home at sunsetgirl at sunset in washingtonpatagonia landscapevancouver island tidepoolsrice terrace at tagalalong balidad and daughter hiking in the fog of vancouver islandglaciers in patagoniapenguins in punta arenas chilegroup walking acorss a glacier in patagoniaboy at massive waterfall on bali

3. Family reunions

There are many transplants in the Islands along with families who have have members that moved away. Many Hawaii locals plan trips to visit family for a fun reunion. With our family on the other side of the world, just getting there and back is an adventure.

girl in tulip fields hollandfamily hiking dunes on ameland netherlandsflower stall in the netherlands

2. Las Vegas

Hawaiians make 300,000 trips to Las Vegas every year making it perhaps the most Hawaiian city on the mainland. This migration from paradise is a result of casino-sponsored charter packages that make crossing the Pacific cheaper than hopping to a neighbor island.

This virtual Aloha State has its own radio programs, websites and even casino hotels, where plainclothes security men wear aloha shirts, and restaurants and gift shops cater to Hawaiian tastes and traditions, like Spam for breakfast.

1. Hawaii

The top vacation destination for Hawaiian residents is simply Hawaii. Many hotels like Disney’s Aulani resort and Turtle Bay on Oahu have excellent kama’aina discounts offering a bit of luxury and relaxation close to home. If you want to venture a bit farther, simply island hop. One thing I love about Hawaii is that each island has a unique feel and opportunity for adventure.

hands exploring a pretty fern in hawaiigirl in waipio making a black sand castlekid hiking in the rainforest on kauaiWhere do Hawaii residents go on vacation

If you don’t have any travel plans scheduled and you’re feeling a bit of rock fever yourself, try something new. Browse through the Keiki Monday archives to find some fun family activities on Oahu.