Magic happens when you photograph a close long-time friend in one of the happiest moments of her life! Lauren and I go way back to grade school at Haleakala Waldorf in Kula, Maui. This woman is one of the strongest, kindest, most adventurous people that I know. She is absolutely beautiful inside and out, as well as a terrific athlete, water woman, and Olympian. She has been a huge inspiration to me because of her unfailing determination to reach her goals.
We decided to capture some lifestyle photos of Lauren and her family, right before the end of her pregnancy; a week later, her son Ku’ula was born. The location was none other than their beautiful home in Kula. With breathtaking views, flowers everywhere, a trampoline for Lauren’s daughter, and a peaceful rural landscape, we got a nice variety of photos.
When I photograph family sessions, I strive to capture the natural essence of the love and happiness between people, while incorporating their surroundings so as to give a sense of place. When you combine genuinely happy people with such a breathtaking setting as this one, it really creates magical imagery! I loved the precious moments between Lauren and her daughter Lea, and also the beautiful bonding between Lauren and her partner Kapono.
I had the privilege of meeting Ku’ula a few weeks after he was born, and he is so sweet and adorable! I’m sure his life will be filled with so much love, fun, adventure and, I’m betting, lots of time on the ocean!
I am thrilled I had a chance to have captured these special moments for Lauren and her wonderful family! Have a look at some of my favorite images from our Upcountry Maui photo session. Isn’t Lauren absolutely glowing?!
How to decide on your Hawaii Wedding Photographer
While there is no “best” wedding photographer in Hawaii, there is a best fit for you! In all honesty, there are many talented photographers here on the island, so here are some tips on choosing the right one for you.
Style. Style should be the first element you look at when considering a wedding photographer. There are many different styles: traditional, photo-journalistic, dark and moody, light and airy, and the list goes on. The wording description of the different styles is less important than looking through a photographer’s website and social media postings. Do you connect and resonate with the photos? Do they evoke a strong feeling? Can you picture yourself in the same type of composition and lighting?
I describe my style in the following way: use of natural light, romantic, storyteller, flattering, heartfelt. But I suggest you look through my photos for yourself and see how you connect with them. I love to tell the story of the wedding day and capture emotions that people can then feel when they view the photos. Ideally I enjoy being there for the pre-wedding excitement all the way through the joyous dancing at the reception.
Reviews: Read through client reviews of photographers. It’s a good sign when other people had a great experience with a photographer -- but perhaps even more importantly, you can get to know specific details of how the photographer interacted with the couple and the guests, what type of photos they took, if they were professional throughout the booking process, etc.
Reputation within the wedding industry. This is a big one. It’s wonderful to read client reviews online, however something that is also important is how the photographer works alongside other vendors, especially wedding planners, hair and makeup artists, and videographers. Ask your planner or other vendors you contact if they’ve worked with the photographer you are interested in. What have their experiences been? Is the photographer professional? Are they friendly? Are they reliable? In general, are they in good standing with the majority of the wedding community on Maui? Everything goes more smoothly when the wedding vendors work well together and have a mutual respect for one another.
Experience. Experience is an important consideration, especially on a tropical island where there are unique challenges such as strong backlight, windy days, hotel rooms with limited natural light, receptions with very dim light, etc. Ask the photographer how many years they have been photographing weddings. Experienced wedding photographers will be better prepared for unusual situations.
I hear from wedding planners about photographers coming from all over the country to photographer weddings in Hawaii… Perhaps they are a friend of the bride or groom, or maybe they just want to take a vacation to Maui, Kauai, Oahu or the Big Island and combine it with a wedding to pay for their trip. Some of these photographers might be great, but I’ve heard stories of some that cancelled, sometimes at the last minute – maybe their flights were delayed – but it left the wedding party to scramble to find another photographer. These photographers might not have the necessary insurance for your venue, or they might be inexperienced in the type of intense back-lighting that happens in the late afternoon when the sun is low in the sky. Please consider a photographer who resides on Maui, – we have so many talented and professional ones!
Overall, I would say, do your research, connect via social media, email, phone calls, trust your intuition and you will find the right fit! Photography is so important because it provides the reminder of this most special day. Your treasured photos will show your family, and perhaps someday your children and grandchildren, the love, joy and special moments of your wedding day.