FAQ's for Beach Photography Sessions

BTS - Behind The Scenes of the banner image

Here are answers to the most commonly asked questions I get asked on an almost daily basis.

What is the Difference Between a Sunset vs Morning/Day Session? Will we still get bright, sunny photos with a sunset session?

Essentially, there are two basic kinds of "looks" you can choose between: sunset/sunrise and morning/day. The difference is in the quality and angle of light. Morning/Day sessions are bright, sunny and cheerful. Sunset/Sunrise sessions are warm, soft and romantic due to the sun being low in the sky. Neither "look" is better, just different. Since sunset sessions begin an hour and 15 min before sunset (and go to 15 min after), you still get plenty of bright & sunny photos too, they are simply softer & warmer than that of a day session. Below are four examples showing the difference in light between morning/day sessions and evening /sunset sessions: 

Evening/Sunset session

Morning/Day Session

Morning/Day Session

Evening/Sunset Session

Do we get the full resolution images, so we can make prints?

Yes and no. You do not get the full resolution digital images. You do receive ALL the edited images from your session at a resolution that allows you to make high quality prints up to 5x7 from anywhere you want. For prints larger than 5x7, however, you will need to order prints from me. The benefit is that I will personally fine tune the edit on every image you order (smooth wrinkles, adjust colors, etc) from me before sending it to a professional print lab for the highest quality print (Costco and Walmart’s are perfectly fine for 5x7’s, but they are not pro quality labs.)

I use the best professional Canon camera and lenses, the Canon 5d Mark IV, which has more than enough resolution to make gorgeous prints on metal and canvas all the way up to 40 x60.

Fun family portrait at Kawela Bay Beach Park on Oahu’s North Shore

What if we want the full resolution digital images?

That option is available. Just add 50% more to any package I offer. Example: $600 Aloha Package would be now be $900 with all full resolution images included.

How much do your prints cost? How many prints do we get with our Print Credit?

I’m so glad you asked! The following prices are current examples but are always subject to change. Unused print credit is not refundable.

family wall art portrait home photo

Metallic Paper Prints
8x10 = $22
8x12 = $25
11x14 = $40
16x24 = $86
20x30 = $135
24x36 = $184

Aluminum Metal Prints
8x10 = $110
8x12 = $140
11x14 = $175
16x24 = $360
20x30 = $440
24x36 = $580

living room wall art enlargement family vacation photo
baby's room baby photo beach toys crib wall art

Why Do Sunset/Sunrise Sessions Cost More? 

Two reasons: 1. the color and intensity of sunlight changes very little during a day session as opposed to a sunset session where the light changes dramatically from start to end. This makes sunset sessions twice as much work to edit. 2. There are only seven (7) sunset sessions available per week.

Behind the scenes of a family photo session at Ko Olina

BTS - Family photo session at Sherwood Beach

What Do We Bring?

You will want to bring as little as possible for beach photo sessions. During the session we will move from spot to spot, sometimes quickly, so we want to be as mobile as possible. Sometimes you will be standing ankle deep in water, sometimes you'll need to stand on a rock wall for that cool sunset silhouette shot. All you really need with you is sunglasses and sandals/flops. Try to leave purses in your hotel (not your car) and if you need to bring a bag, please just bring one bag only. Do make sure to have a change of clothes in your car in case you get wet during your session.the

family portrati on beach in oahu hawaii surf waves

What to Wear

First rule of thumb - anything that makes you feel comfortable and confident. That said, we also recommend choosing colors that complement your skin. Bright, vivid, solid colors work really well for Hawaii beach and sunset photography sessions, while black seldom works at sunset (blends with dark background) unless it's a formal portrait like an anniversary or engagement session. White only works well if you have tanned or warm-toned skin, and seldom looks good if you're pale unless it's paired with colorful accessories like leis, flower bouquets, ribbons, etc. Think contrast - white with tanned skin, darker colors with pale skin. Try to stay away from stripes, logos or fad clothing... you want images that are timeless and still look good 10 to 20 years from now. Hawaii-themed shirts and clothes look good if they're not too loud or busy. Look through the images on this site and note which styles and colors you like the best. 

Love those colors!

Love those colors!

Complimentary colors help make this family photo"pop"

Complimentary colors help make this family photo"pop"

Do We Wear Shoes?
For beach portrait sessions, don't bother with shoes. Wear sandals or slippers (flip flops). You'll be barefoot in the sand with waves tickling your toes for 90% of your session. This is Hawaii after all!

Pants or shorts?
Men/boys should wear shorts and women/girls always look best in sundresses or shorts. Wear long pants only if they can be rolled up a little or they just end up getting wet at the bottoms.

Sunset surprise proposal at Secret Beach, Ko Olina

Can We Change Clothes?

Yes - and no. I really recommend having a change of clothes available for after the shoot. For you more adventurous folks, it's always fun to get classic shots of you playing in the water or waves hitting your legs. But don't worry, we won't have you get wet until near the end of the session after we've gotten lots of photos.

You are always welcome to change outfits during a session but be aware that session time is limited and you'll need to be able to change in public on location. If you really want to change it up, the easiest way is to keep it simple by just changing shirts or accessories. 

Click map to see Location Ideas

Click map to see Location Ideas

Where do we go for the photo session?

Locations can be just about anywhere, depending on your needs and wishes. There are three great locations close to Waikiki for those who don't want to go far, and many off the beaten path locations for folks who have transportation and want to explore. If you're a family with young kids, we go to family safe locations. If you're an active young couple who wants proposal photos with a great view, we go hiking up a steep trail for epic views. Click here to see Location options.

Engagement session on a slightly rainy evening

The weather report says there's a chance of rain!

I get worried calls like this often...because the weather report for Oahu always indicates a chance of rain. It rains nearly every day in the mountains of the interior and yet very seldom rains in Waikiki and the beaches of the island. Even when it does rain, 30 minutes later it will be back to fluffy white clouds and sunshine. Unless there is a major storm system, weather here tends to be very localized. With so many beautiful locations and beaches to pick from, we can just drive to another location 15 min away and be back in sunshine. On the rare occasion that it truly is a bad day, I am more than happy to reschedule if at all possible.

My philosophy is very simple: I want beautiful images of you just as much as you do. Be flexible, be open. Some of the best images I've taken were in inclement weather. Weather is good - it adds drama and passion to photos. And don't forget rainbows! PS: Check out my blog post, “Gray & Overcast? Perfect Weather For A Photo Shoot!”y

Honeymoon Session at Lanikai Beach at sunrise

But I'm Not Photogenic..."

That's okay - neither am I! When I am on "the other side of the camera" I feel awkward, shy and uncomfortable too. So I totally understand. Most people feel the exact same way you do. So I've learned tips and tricks to help my clients relax and even come to enjoy being in front of the camera. You don't have to know what to do, how to pose or what to do with your hands... and it's totally okay if you feel shy. Posing ideas and making you look good is my job. If you're willing to just play with me, try different things, I promise you'll soon actually start having fun. And, as I remind clients before every session, this is digital photography... if we try something and it doesn't look good, we just push the delete button and try again! (Check out my "I'm Not Photogenic" blog article!)

Family Portraits at Disney Aulani in Ko Olina, Oahu Hawaii

Senior portrait, Magic Island

Senior portrait, Magic Island

How Many Photos Do We Get From A Session? 

The number of images you receive depends on how long the session is but you can expect quite a few! While I never promise an exact number, I generally end up with roughly 150 images per hour, sometimes quite a bit more than that. It depends on how much direction the clients need, the location, the conditions, etc.

A couples session almost always means more images are taken simply because there are only two people to pose or work with. Some families can be very focused and we easily end up with 350 images out of a 90 min session. Other families can be totally chaotic and we barely end up with 100.

After a session, I edit all images and then upload them to an online gallery for you to view, share with friends and then download to your computer. My philosophy is to give clients as many quality shots as possible, with as much variety as possible. However, quality always trumps quantity.

The fewest images I’ve ever delivered for a 60 min session was 75, the most was over 350 and the average is usually somewhere around 200.

Sunset family portrait at Kawela Beach Park on Oahu's North Shore

Play time at the beach - Waikiki Family Vacation Photos

Family Portrait at Magic Island, evening session on an overcast day

Why do you need to "edit" photos - can't you just shoot and deliver the jpeg right out of the camera?
Well, as a matter of fact, I could do just that... and many cheaper photographers offer that exact service. However, that will never come close to matching the quality of the images you see on this website as that requires extensive editing.

Two images blended in Photoshop. Left side is the RAW image that was edited, right side is the straight-out-of-camera jpeg image.

Most people know that when you take a photo with your camera or cell phone, you immediately have a "jpg" photo. What happens is that after you take a photo, the camera applies the manufacturer's pre-determined amount of contrast, color, white balance, clarity, etc, based on average conditions. This is partly why you will often get inconsistent results. 

Professional photographers shoot in "RAW" format. Simply put, we set our camera so it only captures the raw data (no processing applied). The photographer then uses software like Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop to hand edit the data, applying contrast, color, white balance, etc, to his or her taste before finally saving the edits as a photo jpg. Unprocessed RAW files give us enormous freedom to edit an image anyway we like - ex: full vibrant color or black & white.  

Above are two images taken less than 10 seconds apart, with the exact same camera settings...but edited radically opposite to get two totally different results. You can only do this with a RAW file and post processing.

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