OHANA MEANS FAMILY

WHO: THE HILMES OHANA | WHERE: MAUI, HAWAII | WHY: FOR FAMILY

If you’ve worked with me, you’ll know that I don’t show up to any of my sessions with a plan - especially family sessions! Ultimately, I let the kids run the sessions - seriously. Mom & Dad are key parts of the equation, as is some discipline (and bribery), but ultimately, I want your family to show me who they are and not hold hold back in the slightest. Why?

Because it’s what makes for great photos & memories.

I’m a lifestyle photographer - that means I capture things as they happen, in a moment, not posed, not planned, but maybe strategically placed & coerced if need be ;-) Posed & stiff photographs aren’t in my portfolio, and for good reason - they don’t show any feelings or joy (or craziness). Sure, I’ll grab a couple for the grandparents, but we’ll move away from those immediately, because even I, get uncomfortable when clients start to stand there and smile at the camera. My job is to take you out of your “comfort” zone of the types of photos you’ve grown to adhere to; and make you forget I’m there and just focus on each other. It’s my job and I’m darn good at it.

Do we get sandy? Yes. Wet? You bet. Messy? I hope so. Can hair and clothing sometimes get messy? Isn’t that what childhood is about??? We’ll obviously do our best to keep it to a minimum, but in the end, when you let it (and them) be…you’ll get THIS:

And that is precisely, why I’m here ;-)

MOTHERHOOD IN MAUI

WHO: GABBY + JERRY | WHY: BABY MOON @ 8 MONTHS PREGNANT | WHERE: MAKENA, HAWAII

Maternity sessions are my most popular sessions…and for good reason. I LOVE watching women blossom into motherhood! There’s a quiet beauty & strength surrounding every mother-to-be; and witnessing it as they make their way along Hawaii’s shorelines is seriously beauty at it’s finest to me. They don’t have to try…they just are.

Case in point - Gabriella (and Jerry of course).

A calm, quiet beauty who’s never had professional photos taken before and without effort, performed gracefully in front of the camera. Jerry was as understanding and patient as they come, so he helped her along the lava rocks and guided her to safety and stability when needed (but really, I think she may have guided him along more than her lol). The power & strength of a woman in general is what I live for - and my time with Gabby was no exception.

See for your self below…

FROM TAIWAN TO MAUI, WITH LOVE

WHO: VICKY + DAVID | WHY: LOVE + ACCOMPLISHMENT | WHERE: MAKENA, HAWAII

What do you get when you have two newly crowned Dentists (no pun intended), endless feelings of wanderlust, the cutest relationship ever, and an airplane or two? Vicky + David totally conquering Hawaii!

From Oahu to Maui and a sprinkle of the other islands in between, these two made their first visit to the Hawaiian Islands beyond memorable - and they deserved it! After years of schooling, studying, testing, etc., you’re now looking at two of Taiwan’s newest Doctors of Dentistry -and their families are beyond proud (because they’re dentists too!). This vacation was well-deserved, and so was this photo shoot!

My evening with Vicky + David, their silliness, their smarts, their ridiculous good-looks, and a

backdrop to die for…>>>>

LOVE UNDERWATER (IN HAWAII)

WHO: MARCUS + KATIE | WHY: 1 YEAR ANNIVERSARY | WHERE: MAUI, HAWAII

Ahhh love. Isn’t it so beautiful?

But wouldn’t it be that much more beautiful IN the water?

Marcus, an extremely talented photographer hailing from North Carolina (check him out HERE) and his beautiful wife Katie, decided to go big for their 1 year wedding anniversary…so they scheduled one of my Land + Ocean sessions and geared up for a bright + early sunrise session and lots of water play...

For their land portion, Katie wore the most gorgeous pink dress, accented with a small flower clip in her hair and minimal jewelry. While Marcus kept it simple, minimal, and classy - letting Katie, be his bling.

For their water portion, Katie followed the tips provided in my “Wardrobe Guide” and kept her underwater outfit simple, light in color, and most importantly, light in weight! She also added a nice touch of fabric around her waist to create some more drama underwater - and I’m SO glad she did! Trust me ladies…you do not want to tread water with a heavy dress on, so shop accordingly ;-)

Over + under we all went, moving with the currents, swimming up, down and all around, and making the most of the clear conditions. Needless to say, these two were definitely fish in their past lives & spent almost over an hour in the water - and believe me, it was totally worth it.

BABY MOON IN MAUI

WHO: MADELEINE + AUSTIN | WHY: BABY MOON | WHERE: MAUI, HAWAII

It’s funny…I feel like many of my blogs have begun with “weather issues” here in Maui - but honestly, and I PROMISE when I say - weather in Maui is 9/10 days PERFECT. Seriously! It’s only occasionally that we get weird rain, storms, etc. I just mention it because a bunch of my clients worry when they look at the weather forecast for the islands and they start thinking about rescheduling, new locations, etc.

I’ve said it a few times and I’ll say it again - weather here moves quick! I swear, those weather folks at The Weather Channel just look out the window and give a forecast - don’t listen - they’re typically wrong. Just wait and if there’s ever anything to worry about, I’ll be in touch couple hours prior to your session ;-) I promise, you’ll never be left wondering what’s next with our session!

With that said, Madeleine & Austin’s first trip to Hawaii hadn’t been going very well - it rained the whole time they were here and they didn’t get to explore how they wished they could have. With our luck, the heavens cleared and the sun brought out it’s “A” game - but not without a few clouds in sight and a small sprinkle prior to our session.

We went ALL out - three outfit changes, land + ocean photos, rocks & beach, as a couple + solo - this gal and her 34 week (super adorable) bump toughed it out and all I have to say is….wow. Mahalo to the both of you for being so beautiful, so in love, and so adventurous!

<3

A FAMILY'S GOLDEN HOUR ON MAUI

When a fellow photographer asks you to capture their family during their Maui vacation - I’ll be honest…it’s such an amazing feeling! Us photographers are all pretty critical of our own work (and I’m sure other’s as well!), so it’s a HUGE compliment when someone searches high and low and chooses you! Seriously, it is.

Traci of Traci Merrit Photography based in Granite Bay, CA, is nothing short of sweet. And I don’t use the word short out of context…because her and her husband Josh are both on the taller side, super athletic and are the most adventurous parents ever. Just ask their two little ones, Kylie & Zoe. To say I had a blast during this session is an understatement - and I’d do it alllll over again if they come back! Or perhaps next time I’m in Cali? ;-)

From my time with Traci & her beautiful family, a collection of natural light photos at sunset, in a dreamy placed called Maui, Hawaii xo

FOR LOVE - A MAUI ELOPEMENT

WHO: MEGAN & CHRIS | WHERE: KAPALUA, HAWAII | WHY: FOR LOVE

For starters, I don’t specialize in photographing weddings. I prefer to keep things small, intimate, personable, and on the less serious side. Besides, there are TONS of super talented photographers on Maui who can capture your day perfectly - I promise - so I encourage you to reach out to them…

But when one of my closest friends told me her long-time partner just proposed to her, I jumped at the occasion to photograph their wedding…AS A GIFT to them. She naturally couldn’t turn that down ;-)

Fast forward about 7 months later, a guest list of 10, and a bride & groom that couldn’t have had their “day of” go any smoother, here we are. Chris + Megan. Two of the most grounded, honest, loving, and giving people you could ever want as a part of your life. And they’re all mine for this day (forever as well, I’d like to hope…).

Perfect weather, two loving families who flew out from the mainland to witness their perfection, the perfect Maui location…and naturally, the perfect photographer. JUST KIDDING. What I meant to say was, the perfect love. Because it’s honestly, SO perfect.

My afternoon with Chris + Megan. Cheers to the rest of your lives (and mine - because I’m so lucky to call you two friends) <3

Officiant: Ernest Pua’a @ernestpuaa

Flowers: Sunya's Flowers @sunyasflowers

Hair & makeup - MeiLi Autum Beauty (MAB) @meiliautumnbeauty

Lash extensions - Alohi Lash @alohi.aesthetics

Dress - Katie May (from Nordstrom) @katiemaycollection

Suit: Topman (from Nordstrom) @topman

Shoes: Vans

GETTING GROUNDED WITH MISS VALLEY ISLE 2020

WHO: LINDSAY TAKEKAWA | WHY: MISS VALLEY ISLE 2020 | WHERE: MAUI, HAWAII

Meet Lindsay Takekawa, your Miss Valley Isle 2020.

She’s tough. She’s fierce. She’s ambitious & bright and her own light under the sun. Did I mention she’s one of the best long boarders I know? And in case you were wondering…she’s a total sweetheart.

But it doesn’t stop there…

She’s Grounded, too.

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing & surfing with Lindsay for almost 3 years now, but it honestly, feels like forever. She has this presence about her that makes you feel like you’ve known her for a lifetime…even a past lifetime. She’s THAT personable and SO positive. She’ll make you exude rainbows out your ears if you’re open to it ;-) What I’m trying to say is - she’s beautiful inside and out, and she’s definitely in a class of her own.

So we chatted, we surfed, and we got creative and combined forces. Her soul of gold mixed with my camera. And the results are just gorgeous. But I had no doubts…

Some time with Lindsay Takekawa, Miss Valley Isle 2020. On land & in the sea, under the sun, on Maui. And don’t worry, this isn’t her real crown - it’s way too precious to go in salt water…

Follow Lindsay on Instagram @alohaimlindsay

Gorgeous bangles & jewelry provided by Jasmine Honey Designs <3

NYC Power Couple Does Maui

Where: Maui, Hawaii | Who: Annie & Jeremiah | Why: Maternity Land & Ocean Session

What do you do when two stylish & super sweet Brooklynites contact you for a Land & Ocean Maternity session on Maui? You make the time…and you make it count ;-)

I’m not gonna lie, I love it when fellow New Yorker’s come to Maui and choose me - it brings a little piece of the Big Apple to my eye and helps me remember my 12 years there!

Sorry Hawaii…if you must know, I’ll always be a New Yorker ;-)

When Annie initially contacted me, we had originally scheduled one of my Land sessions, but last minute, she upgraded to my MAKAI Land & Ocean session and I couldn’t have been more excited!

With a gorgeous location set and my water-housing ready, we set out on an adventure to say the least! The Maui Sunset? Perfect! The ocean? NOT so perfect!

By chance, I was available the next morning following a separate Sunrise session, and contacted Annie & Jer to see if they wanted to jump in the ocean because I spotted some clear water near their hotel. Without hesitation, these two showed up within 15 minutes looking as dapper as the evening before and WE. TOTALLY. KILLED. IT! The Ocean? PERFECT. Annie & Jer? EVEN MORE PERFECT.

Annie & Jer - you know I can’t get enough of you two! Thank you for your positivity, sense of adventure, deep breaths and long walks on the beach. You two were worth it all and then some. <3

RAIN OR SHINE

WHO: ALLYSON & ERIC | WHY: BABYMOONIN IN MAUI | WHERE: MAKENA, MAUI (HAWAII)

The skies in these photos are stunning, am I wrong? In fact, they were beyond stunning…but only for a short time. First, let me introduce Allyson & Eric...

Allyson & Eric are visiting Maui, Hawaii for their very first time, choosing to bask in the sunshine for the best baby moon ever. Allyson is about 34 weeks pregnant with their first child (a baby girl - woop woop!) and an absolute trooper & ray of sunshine (more on that shortly…). Eric, her patient, awesomely adventurous and positive husband, stands by her side as one of the luckiest guys ever. They’re both, in fact, extremely lucky!

Maternity photography is hands down, my favorite type of photography. Mix it with the ocean & Maui, and you’ve got me hooked for life! The forecast called for partly cloudy skies, sunshine and 5 mph winds - pretty perfect if you ask me! We arrived at our location optimistic, however, Mother Nature decided to surprise us with clouds rolling in deep, sprinkles and lots of white wash in the ocean. After much discussion, laughs, and an option to reschedule, we decided to roll on to the empty beach and make it our own. And I’m so glad we did…

With my state-of-the-art weather reading abilities, I knew we’d have some sunshine soon, but not for long. Enter Mr. Sun - for about 10 minutes - it was gorgeous! Sprinkles, rainbows, the whole gamut. Then, came a shift in winds, and more clouds…and a downpour. Allyson & Eric didn’t bat an eyelash though - they said “the show must carry on!” (Gawd I love these two!). I promised them the sunset would be worth it…and I swore by it with my life & camera (in water-housing of course)…

An outfit change, soggy sand, more rain and lots of love later, we made our way into the ocean to get whatever underwater maternity shots we could with the semi-clear waters. It was just then, the rain stopped, the sun angled perfectly through the clouds, and we were blessed with the most gorgeous conditions & sunset ever. Not going to toot my own horn…but I kinda knew this would happen - and I’m SO glad these two (and their mini) held on with smiles!

From our Rain & Shine, beach & ocean photography session in Makena, Hawaii. One of my favorites and definitely, one for the books!

Photos in order of weather progression…

THE HAPPIEST

WHERE: KAPALUA, HI | WHO: AUSTIN, SARAH & THEIR TWO KIDDOS | WHY: FOR LOVE

The last time this dynamic duo had photos done was over 4 years ago…except it was just the two of them.

Fast forward 4 years, and now, two (happy) kiddos strong! Introducing Kennedy (2 yo) and Luke (6 mo) - the cutest, most happiest lil siblings ever…AND at Sunrise! Honestly though, a majority of my families with little ones choose the Sunrise session because of the time change here in Hawaii - they’re already up hours prior to our session - so by the time I see them, they’re bright eyed, awake, and smiling from ear to ear!

The beach was all ours and the light? PERFECT as always. Some moments from our vibrant, casually formal, Hawaiian photoshoot featuring this loving family and SO much love <3

GOOD MORNING MAUI

WHERE: KIHEI, | HAWAII | WHO: SARA + RYAN | WHY: BABYMOONIN ON MAUI

Let me kick off this post with a high five to these two awesome human beings….

From the moment we arrived at our location, we were giggling and laughing without hesitation - and it seriously carried on during the WHOLE ENTIRE SESSION. Yup, no joke. I’d love to take credit for bringing them out of their shells….but the credit all goes to them! I was merely just a gal with her camera witnessing their amazingness. To say these two are warm and friendly is a severe understatement. If I could underline the word severe in this program, I totally would!

What’s even more hilarious is this was their first time having photos done and you CAN’T. EVEN. TELL. that they’re feeling uneasy and not-yet-caffeinated. They were rockstars in every sense, and their future lil boy will no doubt, be just as approachable as they are.

Woop woop to you Sara + Ryan! Come back soon - Maui needs your sunshine <3

SELF LOVE

WHERE: MAKENA, HI | WHO: COCO | WHY: FOR SELF LOVE

The lovely Coco doesn’t need much of an intro…but if you must know, she’s as smart, intelligent and driven as she is beautiful (and did I mention hella FUN?!).

We kicked off our session bright and early and she was chipper as could be and full of so much energy & confidence - it’s no wonder her beach photo session blew her own mind! And mine, of course. What made her own this session, you ask? Her willingness to step outside of her comfort zone. THAT’S IT! Simple right? Hey, it’s 2019…take a chance ;-)

Solo sessions can feel intimidating, especially if you’re not one for having your photo taken on a regular basis or even at all! Feelings of vulnerability & insecurity like “OMG do I look like a fool? Did that person see me do that? Please direct me…please, I’m awful”; mixed with feelings of “I’m fierce and I WANT to rock this because I LOVE MYSELF - I don’t care what anyone thinks - no even my photographer!”….are totally fine and natural…and completely welcomed! I’m here to help you see a beauty in you that you never knew you had (or you knew you had, but needed a little reassurance)…

I’ve heard it all, I’ve seen it all, and nothing phases me…especially because I think everyone is beautiful, inside + out. Plain. Simple. Boooooom.

Mahalo Coco, for being so magically you and embracing all that makes you so wonderful! New England is lucky to have ya!

FAMILY FUN

WHERE: KIHEI, HAWAII | WHO: BREANNA & HER WONDERFUL FAMILY | WHY: FOR LOVE

When the whole family flew into Hawaii (minus just a couple who couldn’t make the trip), you schedule a photoshoot to capture the love and allllll that comes with it. Like adorable NEW little babies named London <3

Surrounded by love, amazing grandparents, warm Maui sun, and parents that exude love for each other and everyone around them, I bring you my time with this loving family…and lil London <3

NO DRAMA MOMMA

WHERE: HAIKU, HI | WHO: GABRIELA + CARLTON | WHY: MATERNITY (IT’S A BOY!)

Gabriela contacted me because she was 1) Looking for someone to accentuate her 23 week bump; and 2) produce artistic & dramatic photos capturing her very first baby bump. But also…in a place that’s not your typical place on Maui ;-) With some tedious planning, plenty of communication and preparation about precautions, and alot of hand holding (for balance of course!), we set off on our adventure!

SPECIAL NOTE: This adventure & location is NOT for everyone! It wasn’t easy as it involved a super muddy hike, plenty of time both in and out of the trails, and cold cold water. I don’t do shoots here often, but when I do, they’re always magical!

Sunset is my best friend, especially at this particular location. And it seems, the sun was really happy to have us, as she put on a gorgeous show of lighting that completely blew us all away. Was it cold? Yes. Was it muddy? HECK YES….

Was it even worth it??? YOU BET.

See for yourself <3