Paradise Cove Beach Portraits | A Morning of Fun + Exploration

Family Portraits with a Mellow Vibe

“We love the beach, but we don’t really want beach portraits. I mean, we don’t want to stand around on the beach and smile.” I fully understand that sentiment. In fact, I want to hug people who tell me this. You can feel the wave of relief when the anxiety and expectation of what a family photo should be, washes away and you focus on family and fun.

When I was just starting out I would often photograph beach-loving families at the beach. Kids and parents alike were visibly distraught because although they were at the beach – a place they loved – they weren’t allowed to enjoy it. So I started to push back in favor of fun.

Over time, my water-loving families have been spending more of their session embracing fun and actually enjoying the water. I even bought a water housing for my camera so I can jump in along with them and document all the fun with a uniquely beautiful perspective.

Why Paradise Cove Beach Portraits

Paradise Cove is a sweet little beach that’s ideal for families. Mornings start slowly here with chattering birds guiding you down the narrow beach path. The sun takes it time. Much of the cove in shadow and you can feel cool sand beneath your feet. You might watch the waves and sip a coffee or collect tiny seashells. As you start to feel more awake, the sun hits the water in the cove lighting it a brilliant turquoise. Wavelets lap the shore inviting you for a refreshing dip.

If you’re curious, you can find unexpected delights. Maybe something large like a seal or sea turtle, but look closely and you can uncover more. The twins were keen explorers and on this quietly beautiful morning we discovered hermit crabs, a spotted eel, a puffer fish and even a tiny flounder.

We spent a quietly happy morning capturing all the joys of childhood and family life in a spectacular setting.

big family hug during a family portrait session at paradise cove beach in oahu
dad and daughter holding hands
family portrait session at koolina lagoon
kids exploring tide pools in koolina during family photoshoot
boy with a hermit crab in hawaii
family portrait session at paradise cove beach
twin siblings sharing a laugh during a portrait session in oahu
portrait of a boy taken from the water at koolina lagoon during a hawaii family photo session
girl jumping with an intertube at koolina lagoon oahu during a family photo session
twin siblings explore tide pools in hawaii during a family photography session by little bird photography
underwater portrait of a girl floating on an intertube in paradise cove
kids running through the water while parents look on during family photoshoot in hawaii
hermit crab on a boys hand
boy searching the tide pools at koolina as seen from the water
girl playing on a rainbow intertube at koolina lagoon
boy fishing at paradise cove beach during a family portrait session

Want Beautiful Family Portraits Without the Pain?

Let’s keep it simple and fun and plan a morning that you will actually enjoy. I’ll match you to a spot that fits your family’s vibe and you can have fun together while I capture your memories. Find out more about my fun family portrait sessions here.

Fun Lanikai Portraits | The Chill of Winter in Hawaii

Does it Get Cold in Hawaii?

That’s a difficult question to answer. Does it get cold? I firmly believe (and I think a good portion of the local population will back me up on this) that when you need to put socks and pants on, it’s cold. Brrr. Add a little wind and i’m not sure it’s beach weather anymore.

But those days feel long ago. This summer is stubbornly holding on to its heat. The water is unreasonably warm and the sun feels oppressive by 8 am. Thinking of a time when we were concerned about being cold feels quaint and far away.

When we were planning this session, however, morning chill was a concern. Three-year-old Kathryn was a fair weather beach lover. Despite living beach adjacent, she was finicky about her beach affections. A little too cold and it was a hard no. Her older brother on the other hand, was an any day all day kind of beach kid. He couldn’t get enough. We held off until the weather seemed warm enough and hoped for the best.

About the Session

As a military family with transient ties to Hawaii, they wanted to capture a bit of their every day life. We tossed around some different ideas, but ultimately landed on the beach. It’s a big part of your life when you live in a beach town. With paddle boards in tow, we met for sunrise at Lanikai Beach.

We may have been a bit premature on the weather. The wind was gusting and a row of stubborn clouds hid the sunrise so the chill lingered. Still, everyone was in good spirits and we played games and ran around to keep warm. We even braved the water.

family portrait at lanikai beach
mom and daughter spinning on the beach in hawaii
dad holding son in the air at sunrise at lanikai beach during a family portrait session
mom and daughter running on the beach
mom and daughter walking in the water at lanikai beach oahu during a family photo session
dad and son sharing a  moment during a fun family photoshoot in hawaii at lanikai beach
boy holding parents hands
sad girl on the beach with parents coming to comfort her
black and white portrait of siblings playing at lanikai beach oahu during a family photography session
dad pushing son on a paddleboard in hawaii at lanikai beach
girl wrapped in an animal towel at the beach in oahu
boy swimming underwater in hawaii
family playing on a surfboard in hawaii during a family photo session by little bird photography

What Does a Relaxing Family Look Like For You?

Let’s plan a fun morning or afternoon adventure so you can enjoy time together and make memories. Find out about my fun photography sessions here.

Secret Island Beach at Kualoa | Oahu Family Activities

The Secret Behind Secret Island Beach

The secret behind Secret Island Beach is … well, that it’s not an island at all. It’s a narrow strip of land bordered by ocean on one side and a fish pond on the other. Visitors who arrive via the Kualoa Ranch tour travel by by boat across the fish pond making it feel like an island. So the name may be a bit silly, a marketing buzz word, but the location is stunning.

A Calm, Family-Friendly Retreat

The “wind” part of the windward side means ocean conditions are not often favorable for paddleboarding and snorkeling. However, we’ve found that this part of Kaneohe Bay is more sheltered and calm. It’s become our go-to spot on weekends when we need to immerse ourselves in the beauty and vastness of nature.

When the water is clear you can paddle out and snorkel around the coral heads that dot the bay. When it’s not particularly clear, you can still enjoy the big views that turn dusky blue in the evening light.

Getting There

If you’re a visitor, your best bet is to take the modestly priced tour through Kualoa Ranch. Not only do they make your life easy with quick access and amenities, but they have all the toys you could want – kayaks, paddleboards, hammocks, beach toys, and more. After hours, you simply need to paddle or walk down the coast from Kualoa Beach Park until you find a cozy spot to call your own.

Kualoa mountain views from Kaneohe bay
view of chinaman's hat from secret island beach at kualoa beach park
boy investigating mangrove at kualoa beach in oahu
boy kayaking in kaneohe bay with kualoa mountains behind
view of coral heads in kaneohe bay
portrait of a girl at kualoa ranch
mangrove seeds growing
girl kayaking in kaneohe bay with views of coral below and mountains above by little bird photography
a hammock hanging in between palm trees with mountain views at kualoa beach park in oahu
girl on the pier at kualoa fish pond.

Looking for More Family Fun on Windward Oahu?

The Macadamia nut farm is a nearby, fun stop to add on to a visit to Kualoa Beach Park. Join the crowds of tourists to crack open and sample the tasty nuts. If you’re feeling hungry the Waiahole Poi Factory is the perfect stop for an ono Hawaiian lunch.

Lanikai Family Photographer | A Mini Session at Sunrise

Until We Meet Again

From ultra low tides to extreme wind the weather has been unusual each time I photograph Henry’s family. On one memorable occasion, we found a giant crayfish? A small lobster? I’m still not sure what the creature was, but we spotted it limping along the treeline a good 200 yards from the water. I’m still mystified by that one. No matter the forecast, their happy, joyful spirit always comes through and the enjoy their time together. It was a pleasure to photograph them again.

Lanikai Family Photographer

With family on Oahu, they visit the island regularly. Every couple of years I get to see them for a fun beach morning to update their family portraits. In the past, we have visited nearby Kalama Beach and Waimanalo Beach so this year we opted for Lanikai Beach.

A thick blanket of clouds loomed overhead as we stepped onto the cool sand before sunrise. The beach was empty. The ocean was still save the gentle lapping of waves on the shore. An extremely low tide exposed coral heads in the bay creating an ominous, darkly beautiful scene.

Moments later, the sun burst through the clouds in full, unfiltered force. We were temporarily blinded and just as we began to get accustomed to the glare, heavy clouds plunged us back into shade. On and off. On and off. The sun continued to waver throughout the morning as if a a curious toddler was in charge of the light switch. Finally, a decision was made and the sky was left in the off position.

Even without the sun, the water was warm and we ended the session in the company of fish as we pretended to be mermaids. More strange weather and certainly more fun.

family portrait during a moody sunrise over lanikai beach
dad and daughter playing during a fun family portrait session at the beach in hawaii
mom and daughter snuggle during a hawaii photo session
portrait of a girl with the mokuluas behind by lanikai family photographer little bird photography
dad and daughter beach portraits at sunrise over lanikai
mom and daughter holding hands
dad and daughter playing at lanikai beach at sunrise for family portraits
hawaii beach portraits at lanikai with mom and daughter
mom and daughter smiling
underwater portrait of a girl swimming at lanikai beach oahu
portrait of a girl from below the water at lanikai beach
underwater portrait of a girl at lanikai beach oahu by little bird photography

Planning a Quick Visit to Oahu?

Make the most of your family time with a fun photo session. We can plan a fun morning so you can play, laugh, and make memories together. Find out more about my family photography sessions here.

Hawaii Family Videographer | Mom and Son Explore Oahu

Making Hawaii Memories

They pulled up in a shiny convertible Mini Cooper. Kaiden beamed from his seat. The rental car was his idea and seemed just the right size for a 4-year-old. Over the phone Karla mentioned that he was very social and full of energy. She worried the beach alone couldn’t contain his interests. As a result, we selected Sherwood Beach in Waimanalo. In addition to the beach, an adjacent coastal forest gave room for big imaginations to explore.

Kaiden hopped out of the little car and excitedly began to talk about all the important things in his life. He only stopped talking to catch fast-footed crabs or randomly sprint down the beach. Energy indeed.

Into the Hundred-Acre-Wood

When Kaiden’s energy began to wane, we moved into the forest to search for his beloved Winne-the-Pooh and friends. Four is an age where personality really shines and I love so much that we captured this time on video as well as photos.

Kaiden is quick-witted and he was annoyed at his mom for pretending to be the voices of Roo and Tigger. Still, he wanted badly to believe in the magic of Pooh so he continued to search and wonder. How many more days or weeks will he believe in magic? It’s a phase that will all too quickly pass along with his precious 4-year-old voice. At least in this way, Karla can hold onto this feeling and this time forever.

You can watch their sweet family film here. Click the play button below.

You can see a few of their photos here.

mom and son walking towards the ocean at Sunrise in hawaii
mom and son cuddle during a family photo session in hawaii
mom and son kiss during a sweet Oahu family photo shoot
silhouettes of mom and son walking on Waimanalo Beach at sunrise
mom and son beach portraits in oahu
boy playing in the surf on the windward coast of oahu during a family photoshoot by little bird photography
Mom holding son in the air at a beach on oahu

A Minor Detour

Seeking a change of scenery and calmer waters, we made the short trip to Lanikai Beach. The cloudy cover and wind made the summer morning a bit chilly, but we lasted long enough for a first snorkel attempt.

mom and son preparing to snorkel for the first time at lanikai beach in oahu
mom and son swimming in the clear blue waters of lanikai beach by little bird photography
mom and son at lanikai beach oahu during a family photoshoot
partial underwater portrait of mom and son at lanikai beach at sunrise

Want to Freeze Time?

Let’s plan a fun morning adventuring in Oahu. We can splash around at a favorite beach, explore a magical forest or simply lounge at home. Together we can plan a day just right for your family so you can enjoy your time together and take home beautiful memories. Find out more about my family films and photo sessions here.