Maui Engagement Portraits Gone Right

Who: Nate & Saori | Where: Makena, Hawaii | Why: Engagement Love

They say when you’ve found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with…you “just know”. Well, that saying has certainly held true for these two!

It’s not easy dating these days (ladies & gents, am I right?!), let alone finding the time to go on a date….So when one of those dates finally goes right…you hang on (and you hang on tight!). And that’s just what these two did with each other...

Embracing their traveling souls, senses of adventure, earth rumbling love and amazing ability to be up at the crack of dawn looking like this (seriously stunning!)….they came to Maui to capture it all and so much more. And they chose me…

So here’s a small collection from their sunrise Maui engagement session in Makena. The perfect location, the perfect weather, and of course, the perfect couple.

Mahalo Nate & Saori for sharing your love with me x

Hair & Make-up by: Maui Makeup Artistry | Haku Lei: Bella Bloom



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!



The timing just felt right - and with a trip to Maui followed by a jaunt to Paris, now seemed like the absolute best time ever...

So Jack nervously asked...and Leah said "I Do"...and together, they decided to make it officially, official. Leah initially contacted me to capture them as a couple on vacation - but little did she know that just a couple days prior to our session, Jack would pop the question - and this couples session would now become, their engagement session! 

With laid back vibes, perfect sunset lighting, a couple Coronas and some salty clothing later - these two and their love blasted through my lenses and made this session super fun, and even more chill than Jack had ever imagined (thanks Jack!).

Cheers to you Leah & Jack - can't wait to see you two again! 


When it’s your 10th go all out...or IN in this particular case ;-) 

Sarah & Josh dove into this session with such love, patience and FUN - I think I could have photographed them for the rest of the day. And the conditions were just gorgeous! Water was perfect with juuuuust enough clarity...the sun was shining...the morning greeted us with pastel skies and stillness... But really, my favorite part was that the beach was ALL ours. It was like Maui said..."Hey, you guys deserve a special morning, so I'm gonna give it to you. No worries - just enjoy!". 

Maui - thank you. And Sarah & Josh - come back soon. You were an absolute delight <3


Portraiture is my absolute everything.

I live for beauty in so many ways, shapes + forms...but when it comes to capturing beautiful souls, I get so excited before every single shoot. Seriously!

Solo portraits are hands-down, my favorite. Why? Because with every client, I get to help you become more and more comfortable in your own skin, and try new things! Speaking of trying new things...Miss Abigail here wanted a few water portraits mixed in with her land portraits, but was a bit nervous because Hawaii oceans aren't like your typical oceans! Can you blame her? She's absolutely right! #strangerdanger

Well, that's where my extensive knowledge in lifeguarding, surfing, Hawaii's waters and swimming come right in! And of course I jump in the water with you so we're experiencing it all together :-)

Abby was an absolute natural in the waters here - as you'll see through her calm, natural essence in each shot. Mahalo for trusting me Abby...and seriously, amaaaazing job! You made this shoot easy peasy.

© Amanda Emmes  |  Hair & MUA by Marlee: South Shore Studio



Hailing from Ohio, Darla & Kyle found themselves vacationing in Hawaii again after falling deeply in love with it the last time they visited.  We'd been in talks for months about this shoot, making sure we could capture nature at it's best, with some rocks and a bunch of water time.  And oh the water time we spent! It was adventurous, breathtakingly beautiful, and so worth the time! 

Mahalo Darla & Kyle for being so amazing & fun during this shoot - it was definitely one for the books!




"It’s pronounced /kaˈSHā/, not catch it..."

She's a lady who loves the finer things in life without sacrificing a paycheck...and SO much more. I could talk about Kachet till I"m blue in the face because she's full of pizazz, spunk, beauty, smarts and is quite the entrepreneur...but honestly, I"ll leave it up to her to explain and YOU to explore by visiting her blog at The Kachet Life.

Solo portraits are hands-down, my favorite type of sessions! Not just because I get to spend  quality time getting to know my clients and discover what their best "looks" are, but mostly because I love watching my clients find their inner confidence and strength. Each and every one of them, from the very beginning to the final shot, literally OWN the session and change a part of ME every single time. And I friggin' love it - seriously. 

That being said...multiple high-fives to Kachet for diving into our shoot with such positivity and openness - and fierceness. She embraced her inner (and unknown) water-goddess and I couldn't be more proud of her! 

Oh! And she just recently became engaged - so make sure you congratulate her ;-) Maybe one day I'll get to meet

Mahalo Kachet, for being so adventurous & outgoing...but most of all, thank you for being you!




It was a last minute request and I was more than happy to squeeze in the request...because just days earlier, this adorable couple of 8 years made a huge decision that would change their lives forever after...

"So you wanna do this...?" led to the sweetest reply. A simple (and giddy) yes. After 8 years...why the heck not right? Unfortunately I didn't get to witness this ever so traditional proposal, but let me tell you...the recap of it was priceless! I'm still not sure what to believe because M+C are quite the story tellers...mostly Cory actually (lol) but I was rolling on the grassy hills in laughter regardless. I"m just happy they chose ME...and only after 24 hours! 

Congrats Mackenzie + Cory on becoming forever lovers. You two rock each other's worlds already and I can't thank you enough for rocking mine during this shoot! 

Now hurry back and elope already...;-) 


  Arbor Day 2017 "1,000 HAWAIIAN TREE GIVEAWAY" 

Since 2012, I have been volunteering at Maui Nui Botanical Gardens here in Maui, Hawaii. My responsibilities over the years has varied depending on event, however when it comes to the larger events, my chief responsibility is capturing the smiles & excitement from the attendees and community organizations as Staff Photographer. 

Maui Nui Botanical Gardens (MNBG) is dedicated to the protection of Maui Nui’s rich native plants and cultural heritage. By collecting, cultivating, and distributing native and Polynesian-introduced plants MNBG provides people with a gathering place to see and understand the important relationship these plants have to our economic, social, and cultural livelihoods.

This past weekend was the annual Arbor Day "1,000 Hawaiian Tree Giveaway". In partnership with Maui Electric Company and Kaulunani Urban and Community Forestry Program, MNBG gave away 1,000 Hawaiian trees for free, 1 tree per person, any age! The celebration featured lectures, activities, and many community organizations sharing critical environmental information.

See some photos from the day below! 

Workshops, Cultural Demonstrations, and Garden Tours at Maui Nui Botanical Gardens are sponsored by the Hawaii Tourism Authority/Hawai‘i Community Foundation, Susan Bendon Family Foundation, and MNBG

Open Monday through Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
General Admission: $5, 
Kama'ina: $3, 
Keiki & Kupuna: Free
Free and open to the public on Saturdays



Early mornings are made for moments that last a bit longer than usual...

Typically it's because of lack of caffeine...but in this case, it was because these two were so excited to capture their first pregnancy where they were married five years prior (and a slight lack of caffeine too!).

These two laid-back Californians nestled in the early morning light together while taking in the gigantic empty beach surrounding them. From romantic glances and prolonged cuddles to slight giggles of excitement about the baby inside her who's just beginning to move around and make his presence known. 

It was a magically relaxed session for us all...and the final photos? Dreamy. Mahalo Noah & Morgan, for sharing your romance and new little one-to-be with me! 




It started with some sprinkles and unforgiving breezes and ended with a sky that left us all breathless. Photo by photo, I was nearly taking away my own breath as the skies over Maui just kept giving and giving...and so did this adorable growing family from Florida. 

Mahalo to this Tampa beauty and her family who were less than stunned by stormy skies and innocent threats of bad weather. The result was better than we ever imagined...

Making Time...


When it's almost time, you make the time...

These two are expecting their first bundle of joy so very soon, so they wanted to squeeze in their first trip to Maui for a "baby moon" ASAP. It was a last minute request (2 -ish days prior to their shoot) that worked out more than perfectly - and luckily they were wide awake bright and early for this gorgeous sunrise shoot. 

Mahalo Lauren & Tamarick for being the most friendly and photogenic morning company (seriously!) - you started my day off so perfectly :-) 

A Match Made in Heaven...


It all started with hope...and of course two online dating profiles.

Finding your match isn't easy these days, especially when you're busy as can be and located miles away from each other. Luckily, these two struck gold when they found each other amongst the piles and piles of other humans in "search" mode - and they haven't looked back since. They recently married in July of this year and decided Maui (and me) were a perfect match for their Honeymoon. 

Meet Dorinda & Chuck...the most adorable couple from the East Coast.



I first met Tricia almost two years ago while paddling for Hawaiian Canoe Club and we instantly became friends the moment we were introduced. It didn't hurt that she was also the new girlfriend to my friend John, another fellow paddler. So it was a bit of a natural fit and with our paddling schedules, it wasn't hard for us to see each other often and catch up as time progressed.  Our friendship continued to bloom and so did their relationship...and I'm so happy it did.

Fast forward a bit and this beautiful couple was now on the (very close) verge of introducing a new little one into this world and they asked me to capture her final days before everything in their lives would change. Of course, I accepted with giddy giggles and couldn't wait to get them all together. So we chose upcountry Maui as the perfect backdrop for this cowboy, his son and his soon-to-be wife & new mother-to-be...

Now, a glimpse of our adventure filled upcountry shoot with John, Gavin, Tricia & her beautiful baby bump...

Update :::: Timing really is everything in so many ways! Two days after these photos were taken, Tricia gave birth to her first son Ian Hunter...and hopefully not her last.

Congratulations you guys - such a wonderfully beautiful family in so many ways xoxo