I moved to Hawaii six years ago and spent the first year entirely underwater working on a scuba dive boat as a Divemaster, which is where I first fell in love with photography. Since then I've had a camera with me nearly every day. It didn't take long before I went from photographing turtles and octopus to families and weddings - but I'm still not entirely sure how that happened! Along the way I've accumulated photos of some Hawaiian wildlife (mostly by chance, while I was at a photo shoot or going to or coming from one.)
While going thru my numerous multi-gigabyte backup hard drives lately, and transferring images to them to clear off my nearly full laptop, I became aware of a number of things:
Holy smokes, Batman, I have thousands upon thousands of photos!
But wow, look at all these cool kids photos buried in here!
I really need to share them!
Most people are utterly shocked to realize how many 2-4 gigabyte hard drives I have that are filled with nothing but clients photos. I have taken so many thousands of photos that within just a few years as a working photographer, storage of all those photos starts to become a real management issue. :-) My point to all this is that as in my work with thousands of people of all types, shapes, sizes and colors, one common reoccurring theme I see on nearly a daily basis is a fear or discomfort with being in front of a camera. I've literally lost count of how many times I've heard, "I'm not photogenic."
Three generations of the Jones family got together to visit Maui for their first Hawaii vacation in June of 2018 and they wanted beautiful family sunset beach photos since they were seldom all in the same place at the same time. I flew over from Oahu that day and met them at Po‘olenalena Beach Park an hour and a half before sunset.
"My fiancé and I had our engagement photos taken by Bodhi a couple weeks ago, and we are so happy with the way our pictures turned out! I contacted Bodhi via email a week before our vacation to Oahu and he responded immediately with his availability. He suggested meeting at 8:30 a.m., so then I asked if we could meet in the afternoon instead, since I'm not an early bird ;P He advised us that the best time to have our photos taken would be in the morning because it's cooler outside, not as many people out, and the sun won't be in our eyes. I really appreciated his feedback, because it was sooo true!
Koko Crater Trail is a short but nasty beast of a hike at the best of times - ie; in the daytime - with over 1000 double height stair steps made from old, crumbling railroad ties. As I stood at the bottom of the steep WWII relic tramway at 3:45am, shrugging my camera backpack into position and looking up at the dark shadow of a the peak looming over me, I wondered yet again what the hell I was thinking when I agreed to do a sunrise surprise proposal at the top.
Posing for couples portraits is like having sex - there are really only so many ways two human bodies can fit together. So it's HOW you fit together that's really the important part. The trick to natural looking romantic photos is to choose a basic pose you like and then make it your own.
Minto initially contacted me a month before his vacation in Oahu with his girlfriend, Elda. He wanted to surprise her with his marriage proposal somewhere with an epic view. The two of them loved hiking he said, so I suggested Makapu'u Lighthouse Trail in east Oahu. When I sent him photos of another couples surprise proposal I had done at the top of Makapu'u, he was sold.
Today, when I found myself suddenly at loose ends with no photos to edit and no elopement, engagement or family photo session scheduled, I suddenly realized I had never written a blog post about engagement sessions! Huh. Well, the good news is that there are really only a couple things I like to cover with couples before - and during - their engagement session. So here goes...
You came all the way to Hawaii for sunshine, blue skies and warm sand between your toes. Then you saw this website and thought to yourself, "Self, I LOVE this guy's photography and I want photos just like that for me and my loved ones!" But naturally, of course, the very evening of YOUR photo session it's gray, overcast, dull and threatening rain! Geez, why even bother?
If you're in the market for a photographer, one of the first things you'll encounter is some marketing themselves as "natural light only" photographers. At first glance, that seems a bit noble, maybe somehow superior. In this article, however, I'd like to dispel some of the natural light vs flash myths and show you the difference so you can make more informed decisions on what YOU like. In my opinion, a professional photographer should be able to do both.
When I first fell in love with photography, I was working as a scuba dive master and I was mesmerized by the amazing images of octopus, seals, turtles, whales, dolphins and other incredible life that my fellow divers were taking. So I got my own underwater camera and dived in to the world of photography with a passion. I've always been a nature freak so it just felt like a natural extension of my lifelong love of the outdoors and nature. If you had asked me then if I'd ever become a family or wedding photographer, I would have laughed my head off. I was not interested in taking pictures of people!
Or, The Surprise Proposal I Almost Ruined!
Embarrassingly true story: Agustin spent two months planning his surprise marriage proposal to long time girlfriend, Alondra, and 15 minutes before he pops the question I nearly ruined it.
Yep. Even just writing this is making me cringe again in horror.
Discover The Power of the Silhouette
I had long noticed I liked silhouette portaits but I'd really never given it much thought. Then one day I was browsing through thousands of my Hawaii family photography imageslooking for a particular photo when I noticed my eye kept stopping on the silhouettes. That's when I noticed that in a "counter intuitive" way, they were actually emotionally stronger. In a weird way, removing information (the flash in this case) actually improved the storytelling aspect of the image.f
Super-sized Family of 60 - Beach Portraits
I had done some pretty big, extended family photo shoots before, with upwards of 24-26 people, so when Donna contacted me to see if I was up for doing a large family photography session on Oahu's North Shore, I didn't even pause before I said, "No problem." It was only after she explained that she was talking about a family of 56-60 adults and kids that I had to sit back and consider her request more carefully.
Coming from a small family myself, I'm always amazed when I work with large extended families like the 24 member Lane Family. "Poppy & Nanna" (Grandpa & Grandma) asked me for the "Paparazzi" Family package, as they wanted lots of photos of them with their grown kids and 11 grandkids! In addition, they were celebrating both their birthday's as well.
It started with a glance, then a brush of hands, then a stolen kiss...and then, next thing you know there was an engagement photo session on the romantic white sands of Lanikai Oahu at sunrise, splashing in the ocean waves and all manner of lascivious behavior!
Boy Meets Girl, Falls In Love, Proposes, Girl Says Yes!
The photography request I'm always the most excited to get is the super secret surprise proposal! Arranging the secret plans, the code words and then getting to see it all fall into place and capturing the special moments as they happen is just, well, so...romantic!
Waikiki Honeymoon Sunset Portraits on the Beach
When Tamara & Mike first contacted me for a honeymoon photography session on the beach, it soon became clear Tamara was having a hard time choosing a location for their portraits. I noticed she liked nearly every place...and liked too many different looks. So when I suggested they simply upgrade to the Luminous Light Package - a double session - they quickly agreed when I explained that this way they'd get the maximum variety of backgrounds, styles, and loo
He suddenly drops to one knee during photo session...
I'm a little embarrassed to admit I'm a closet romantic. I love working with couples in love and I especially love when I get to help a guy capture that romantic special moment when he proposes and asks his girlfriend for her hand in marriage! How sweet.