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 ;-)

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

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

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!

THEY DO

WHERE: MAKENA, HAWAII  |  WHO: JACK + LEAH  |  WHY: ENGAGEMENT SESSION

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! 

Waterversary

When it’s your 10th anniversary...you 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

I DO (A MILLION TIMES)

WHO: MATTHEW + DENISE  |  WHY: INTIMATE WEDDING  |  WHERE:  MAKENA, HAWAII

When one of my good friends contacted me on Facebook and asked if I was open to shooting their nephew's Maui beach wedding, I couldn't turn it down - and after meeting Matthew & Denise, I"m SO glad I didn't! 

It's not often that I shoot weddings - but when I do, I love them small, meaningful, and oh-so-beautiful - just like Matthew & Denise's beach nuptials. But their wedding wasn't always planned this way...at the very last minute, they decided to scrap their 300+ guest wedding plans back home and instead, elope among close family & friends here on Maui. Where? They didn't know, but that's where their amazing network of family in Maui came into play...myself included!

After much discussion on timing, locations, concerns, etc., within a week of the wedding, it all came together seamlessly; and on their big (but small) day, it was everything they had hoped for and so much more <3

Mahalo Matthew + Denise, for trusting me & allowing me to be a part of your amazing day. I'd do it again in a heartbeat! 

Officiant: Pia Aluli  |  Hair & MUA: Maui Makeup Artistry  |  Flowers by Cora  |  Venue: Kono's on the Green / Sunsets


From Korea with Love

WHO: VIOLET & JASON  |  WHERE: MAUI, HI  |  WHY: HONEYMOON SESSION

Married only days prior, Violet & Jason contacted me to capture their wedding portraits in a "not so typical way"...basically, off the beaten path and not so bright and "paradise-like" like all the other photographers she was coming across in her searches. It just wasn't her style...

Welp, luckily she found me because our visions and ideas worked hand in hand and we captured some of the most gorgeous photos ever...incorporating both her love of dance and her love of Jason, now her husband. 

After dodging a few crazy cows, cow "bombs" and dancing in the wind at sunset, we captured this modern couple's love and so so much more. Their simplicity. Because let's be honest, why complicate things? 

Congratulations to you, Violet & Jason - you two are beautifully beautiful <3

 

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