How do you find the best Hawaii photographer for your family?

dad and son at honolua bay forest at sunset on Maui

I’ve been in your shoes. Browsing through the endless string of Google results as you search for the best Hawaii photographer for your family. Sure, it’s fun at first, thinking of all the great photos you’re going to have, but it quickly becomes frustrating. All photographers do things a little bit differently. You have to navigate websites, portfolios, and learn pricing structures. It’s hard to know exactly what you should be looking for. I feel your pain, so I put together a quick list to help you navigate the process and hopefully help you find the best photographer for your family.

little boy at pounders beach in laie oahu during a family photo session


Hiring a photographer is an investment in both time and money. There’s extra pressure if you’re planning a photo shoot while on vacation. Not only do you not know the area, but you have a short window to make it happen successfully. You need a photographer you can trust.

  • Are they going to listen to your needs and match you to a great location? Are they going to help you prepare and know what to expect? Will things be awkward and stiff with you begging your kids to behave? Are they even going to show up at all? These are all valid concerns but how do you know you found someone you can trust? Start by looking at their website. Does it look professional? An attractive website that’s easy to follow indicates a photographer that’s serious about their business. They didn’t just set up shop or take photos as a hobby, they have carefully thought about what their clients need and how to best serve them.
  • Next look at their portfolio. Is it consistent or do the style and quality vary? If possible, look at the images from a full session to get a better idea of what you can expect for your family. Are there only a few good images? Do they have many iterations of the same shot? Or is the final gallery diverse?
  • Finally, look for personal information. Photography is very personal and finding someone you and your family can connect with will make a huge difference in your overall comfort level. Hopefully, you can find a bio or chat with someone on the phone so you know who you will be working with.

New photographers flood the market every year and 90% fail before the year is up. An established photographer has already worked out the kinks on other families. You don’t want someone new to practice on yours.

family maternity photos at waimanalo beach oahu


One of the things I love about family photography is that each photographer has a unique point of view. You take their skills along with their life experiences and see how your family looks through that very specific lens. It’s fun because no two photographers will capture your family in the same way.

So, browse through their portfolio and website and pay attention to how the images make you feel. They should make you feel something and if those feelings match what you hope to capture for your family, you’ve found a potential match.

family portraits at lanikai beach during sunrise


The biggest hesitation I hear from families is that the kids won’t last. And I get that! Most families base that on prior photo experiences that involved bribing and cajoling uncooperative children. If you’re looking for something more formal and posed, I recommend keeping it short.

However, if you’re looking for a little more life in your photos, a longer session can work in your favor. It removes the pressure and gives you time to shake out the initial awkwardness. Shy kids have the space to be themselves and energetic kids have time to wind down.

My approach is to make the entire experience fun so it’s not just about the photos it’s about playing and connecting as a family. Kids usually have a great time and don’t want to leave. Parents, however … I’m not going to lie, parents may get a bit tired – especially those with young, energetic kids – but the photos will be full of life and meaning.

girl swimming under the water during koolina family photos by best hawaii photographer

Do you Want a Fun Photo Session for Your Family?

If you’re looking for a fun photo experience where you can play and explore together, send me a note! I’d love it if we were a good fit and I can capture happy memories for you against the beautiful backdrop of Hawaii. Find out more about my family photo and film sessions here.


tel : 808.783.3602

Serving Oahu + all Hawaiian islands

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