Hawaii Photo Tips! / Everything You Need to Know

Hawaii is one of the best places in the world to visit (kinda biased but also it’s just true) - so naturally, wanting to get photos taken there to remember your time on the island is so special and SUCH a good idea!!

Once you find a photographer that fits perfectly for you, it’s super easy to feel lost on what to expect, what to wear, how to know where to go on the island, etc.

SO I compiled a list of my top tips + recommendations to help you make the most out of your session in Hawaii! Whether it’s a proposal, engagement session, or just a fun session with your love to remember your time in the islands + capture a season of life, this is for you!

Oahu hawaii photographer

WHAT TO WEAR

I feel like this is one of the number one questions my couples ask me once they book an engagement / couple’s session! I’ve had several people send me photos of outfits they laid out just to get my opinion (which is totally fun and definitely allowed), but it’s because it can be a hard decision!! And knowing what looks good on camera / at a specific location is super hard to know if you haven’t done this a million times.

SO: my number one piece of advice is to pick something that you feel super comfortable and confident in! Sounds simple and kind of cliche, but it’s true! If you buy a dress the day before that you’ve literally never worn other than trying it on, you’re not going to know if you really feel good in it. And if you don’t feel good, you can feel even more awkward in front of the camera more than you already probably do (because let’s be real, taking pics can be uncomfy).

For Hawaii specifically: weather can be so unpredictable and also chances are your shoot will be by the ocean (because why wouldn’t it be?!) SO, bring a bathing suit if you want to jump in - or wear clothes you don’t care to get wet! And also come prepared for some potential rain or a blanket to snuggle up in or do dry off with after you jump in the ocean :)

hawaii engagement session

HOW TO GET RID OF THE NERVES

If you’ve ever had your photos taken (or if you haven’t but can imagine), it can be super nerve wrecking! Being in front of a camera making out and being super flirty is not the easiest thing in the world to do - unless you’re like a model or an influencer then shoutout to you! I remember being super surprised once I was getting my own engagement photos at how nervous I was! I shoot couples all the time, yet here I was nervous as FRICK to have my own photos taken. So trust me, I really do get it!

SO: my number one tip to how to get rid of those nerves is to go on a date with your boo and get yoself a drink! Yep, seriously. Something that is surprisingly common before couple’s sessions is getting in an argument because you’re running late, your sig other won’t get dressed quickly, and you’re nervous, etc. so the best way to avoid that is to get ready a little earlier, go on a date and grab a drink to help shake those nerves a little bit and to just be in love! You’ll love the time you got to spend together beforehand and you’ll show up to your shoot a little more at ease.

For O’ahu specifically: I can really only speak for O’ahu since I haven’t had a ton of time on the other islands just yet, but depending on where you’re starting your shoot, here’s some recs! North Shore: grab some food from the food trucks or an açaí bowl in Haleiwa and go sit on the beach and have a cute little beach picnic! Sunset Beach is a great beach to just sit and chill. Honolulu: SALT At Our Kakaako is a great little center that has plenty of coffee shops, restaurants, and bars to grab food and drinks at! There’s also lots of cool hotels in Waikiki to grab a drink with a view or take out on the beach :)

Hawaii engagement session

CHOOSING A LOCATION

It’s no secret there’s a million great spots in Hawaii that are so specific to each island. Since we are based on O’ahu, I’ll give some insight for this island! One thing I love about O’ahu is how diverse its landscape is! Picking a general area for your shoot is going to be best since it’s kind of hard to go from one side of the island to the other in a timely way. It also helps to have a general idea in mind of the vibe of your shoot because that can help determine location!

SO: my best advice to picking your spot is choosing a landscape that feels most like you two / seems the most fun! Pretty simple. Also, choosing an activity that you both love to do can be a great way to have photos documenting that in a way that feels more personal + meaningful. But since Hawaii is probably your vacation spot, choosing things you don’t normally get to do is also fun :) Do you want to rent surfboards and take photos in the ocean? Or grab sushi and feed it to each other on the beach? There’s so many ways you can make a shoot more personal - it’s more fun for everyone that way and definitely helps determine your location!

hawaii elopement photographer

FINDING A PHOTOGRAPHER IN HAWAII

Finding the right photographer for you both can be tricky! Especially somewhere like Hawaii where there are SO many different photographers with different vibes + styles.

SO: my number one tip for choosing the right photographer for you is to first look at their style, and then do what you can to get to know them! Whether that’s going on their instagram, reading their about me on their website, or inquiring with them and seeing how they respond to you is SUPER important!

Style: There are so many different styles and “trends” out there these days that having an idea of what you’re attracted to can be super helpful in helping you narrow your search! Do you like a really bright and airy type look, a more intimate moody look, or somewhere in between? Do you like more posed photos, or more candid photos? Asking yourself these questions can definitely narrow you down when you’re searching!!

Vibes: Most importantly in my opinion is finding someone that you vibe with, because that’s ultimately what determines your experience. I’ve heard so many stories of couples booking a photographer after they saw a couple of their photos and just inquired about price and booked them immediately, and then didn’t have the best time shooting because there was no connection made with the photographer beforehand! Talking to potential photographers is a great way to see what kind of experience you’ll have once shoot time comes. And that goes for both weddings/elopements and couples sessions! So get to know your photog :) Chances are they really want to know you as well!!

There are so many amazing photographers on the island I have no doubt you’ll be able to get exactly what you want + deserve!!

Oahu wedding photographer

That’s all for my tips!! Hopefully this will help you have the best session in Hawaii possible!! It’s such a beautiful place, you deserve beautiful photos!

And don’t forget to reach out if you’re coming to O’ahu — let’s shoot around and get some shave ice ;)

Xo,

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