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 ;-)

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.

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

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

5th Anniversary on Maui

WHERE: MAKENA, HAWAII | WHO: AMBER & MIKE | WHY: ANNIVERSARY PHOTOS FOR LOVE!

Where do I even begin with how sweet and fun these two were?!

With visions of warm colors, breathtaking scenery and tons of love for one another, Amber & Mike arrived at our session location and were so excited to start shooting! What time was it? SUNSET. Yup! If you want these dramatic colors and skies…that’s what you’ve gotta opt for! And believe me, it’s worth it every time…

After 5 years and two children, these two wanted to celebrate each other and their accomplishments on Maui, they’re most favorite vacation spot ever! Can you blame them?

Cheers to these two for loving hard, laughing even harder, and making me laugh the hardest ;-)

A Sorta Fairytail...

WHO: BO & COURTNEY  |  WHERE: MAUI, HI  |  WHY: FOR (MERMAID) LOVE

Ever since Courtney was a child, she's been absolutely crazy about mermaids - so much so, that she now works part-time as a mermaid back home in California, making children, and I'm sure adults, smile from ear to ear with her beautiful personality and of course, mermaid tail.

Now of course, this is just something she absolutely loves doing and it's only been a huge part of her childhood and now, adulthood, so what more appropriate than for her boyfriend Bo to surprise her with her own mermaid photoshoot! Did I mention it was her birthday too?

Bo made an appearance in a few of these, but he wanted the focus to be on her...and it seriously was. She was an absolute natural in the water with her tail - I couldn't even keep up with her! #theydoexist

Now get your inner mermaid on and check out some of my faves from their session...<3

 

MISS ABBY

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

LADY IN RED

I finally have a moment to breathe after returning from my amazing trips to New Mexico and Las Vegas for the WPPI Conference a few weeks ago...and honestly, it feels good, but I'm feeling even greater after all that I've accomplished these past few weeks! 

Las Vegas, as usual, was an amazing time! We went to see my family at Blue Man Group and ate some of the best burgers (and milkshakes) I've ever had at Holsteins Shakes & Buns, and so much more. But what was really amazing, besides the 3 days I was immersed in the WPPI Conference of course, was my short time with this stunning Lady in Red...

She was motivated & awake enough to pick me up at 5:30 am and drive us over to Red Rock Canyon to catch the sunrising in all it's beauty, while of course, capturing her in all of her beauty. 

It was chilly. It was windy. Did I mention it was chilly? And she was far from dressed for the weather...but wow, did she brave the elements and make it look easy! I cannot thank her enough for her time, her story telling, her beauty, and of course, her positive "can do" attitude.

I promise...my car sickness had nothing to do with you ;-) 

 

SOC SWIMWEAR

Working with SOC is always an absolute treat - but this time, it was the cutest treat ever! 

SOC Maui's latest & greatest swimwear line for the little ones in your life...and their other little friends ;-) Introducing, their KEIKI line...swimwear sure to make all the kids smile and giggle and look cute at the same time <3

STRONGER THAN YESTERDAY

Meet Morgan.

She's got stories...attitude...motivation...heart...and muscles galore. But what she's got the most of is strength. Infinite strength to be honest. So she's making moves...BIG moves...because she's got so much creativity and drive within her, that it can't be contained. And I'm thrilled to be a part of it.

LA, watch out. Fitness world, watch out.

Morgan in her element...

A MERMAID STORY

On a calm, sunny Sunday, we decided to make it a "Fun Day" by venturing over to Maui's Upper West Side in search of clear water, some diving, plenty of sun-bathing, and good eats. And to kick it all off, some fresh squeezed watermelon + pineapple juice ;-) 

Naturally, I brought along my cameras to capture all the goodness the day had to offer, but what I ended up capturing was my amazing friend Sabine, emerging as the most beautiful mermaid ever.  

Now...I've shot her diving before and her photos were nothing short of magical...but the photos I got of her this day were some of the best to-date...and I have mother-nature to thank for it. And her ability to hold her breath for a lengthy amount of time was SUPER helpful! (Also a BIG Mahalo to Freedive HI for your guidance in making her the perfect deep water subject!)

Thanks Sabine, for always being my mermaid-muse and a wonderful human being. Can't wait for our next adventure <3