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…

WHEN TO SCHEDULE A MATERNITY SESSION IN HAWAII

The timing of your maternity photo shoot (on land or in the water) is critical - especially during your baby moon in Hawaii…

Schedule it too early, your baby bump will not be as visible and won’t take as prominent of a role in the photos. Alternatively, if you schedule your maternity shoot after the 34 week mark, you might be dealing with swelling, aches and pains, and generally feel like a photo shoot is too much work!

<<>>

Every woman is different…so listen to your body, see how it’s changing, and make the best decision for YOU.

Some women are showing earlier in their pregnancy, so booking a shoot near the 6 month mark may work great! Plus you’ll be more mobile, adventurous, show less fatigue, and generally, happier and more comfortable. And trust me, you’ll want to be mobile during your time here in the islands ;-)

In general though, the best time to schedule a maternity session during your baby moon is typically anywhere between 26-34 weeks, or at the 7 to almost 8 month mark, when your bump is big enough to be seen, and you’re still in your comfortable zone.

At this point in your pregnancy, your baby will not have started to move downward - that means you’ll have a higher tummy that looks much better in a portrait than after the baby has started to move its way lower in your body. In the third trimester, your belly will be just the right size - big and beautiful, but not so big that it’s difficult for you to move around, change positions, swim, and pose for the camera.

Dreaming of an underwater maternity session in Hawaii?

The earlier in your pregnancy, the better!

Think about it - you, the ocean, a dress/bikini, your growing bump, and Mother Nature - it’s a lot to manage! What we really want to avoid is you performing a water birth during our session (I’m SO serious) - so be sure to time our session when you’re not too far along and your tummy is still in it’s “floatation device” stage (usually no more than 7.5 months max).

READ MY OCEAN FAQ HERE

If your tummy is too heavy, it’ll feel like a weight in the water, and that’s no fun for anyone ;-) I’ll be with you every step of the way, so rest assure that I’ll do the managing - you just show up feeling & looking your best (and lightest!) .

Salt water is super buoyant, but there are currents, sometimes waves, and you may need to tread water if you really want some of the deep, underwater shots (like the ones above + below). Fabrics like chiffon and tulle do really well in the water and look amazing when you can get them to float just right - so plan accordingly to make your time in the water, as effortless as possible.

See some wardrobe tips from my blog on “Planning your Wardrobe for Your Maternity Session”.

My biggest advice? Don’t wait until the last minute to schedule your photo shoot! Plan ahead with your photographer and get on their calendar well in advance - especially if you’re in the process of planning your Hawaiian Baby Moon. Trust me…it’s worth it!

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

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

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 ;-)

Planning Your Wardrobe: Maui Maternity Photography Session

Figuring out what to wear for any photography session is difficult...that's why I'm here to help you slim down your options, OR create some more fabulous ones! 

The most important rule is to BE COMFORTABLE! But more importantly, be you! I am going to create art that will hang on your walls for years and I want you & your loved ones to look like themselves.

Keep it fun! If you want to bring two outfits, bring two. But no matter what you wear, be confident that I’ll make you look fantastic…It’s my job.


BASIC TIPS

  • I love color and accessories, just keep the patterns to a minimum ;-) Solid colors always photograph well. There's no risk of distracting from faces, interactions or the environment around you.

  • Ladies - long maxi dresses are your best bet for EVERYTHING. They’re literally flattering on everyone! Plus they move so beautifully!

  • Flower Crowns, however, are always encouraged! I just can't get enough of them!

  • Don’t forget to bring a change of clothes or backup shirt/bottoms - sand, dirt & shoreline fun are inevitable!

  • In general, shoes aren't necessary for any of my sessions. You can bring standard rubber sandals for walking to/from our location or for walking on any rocks/stones.

ADDITIONAL TIPS

  • Photograph the outfits in advance. Lay out the clothing choices you have in mind and take a quick snapshot with your phone. If you like what you see, this photo can be super helpful when shopping!

  • Makeup: Less is more - especially during outdoor portraiture. Weather here in Hawaii his HOT & HUMID, so avoid wearing any makeup that is shiny or has metallic minerals because it will catch in the sunlight. And I stress...WATERPROOF MASCARA.

  • Hair: My best advice? Wear your hair the way you want it to look in the wind (just in case it’s windy). I’m obsessed with movement & hair blowing in the wind, but it can be unflattering when it flies across your face and it begins to frustrate you. Hairspray helps, but I highly recommend bobby pins, clips & hair ties!

  • Bra: Support is key! If you're wearing a strapless dress, I encourage either no bra (don't worry, I'll edit the obvious...) or a supportive strapless bra that won't show. I want the focus to remain on your new curves, not wrinkles or bumps because of tucked or exposed straps!

Still need some more inspiration for your wardrobe?

Visit my ‘What to Wear’ Pinterest Board!


Where to Shop:

For Her: PinkBlush, Sexy Mama Maternity, Amazon, Sew Trendy, Asos,

Lulu's, Target

For Him: Old Navy, Zara, Gap, Target, J.Crew


COLOR PALETTE SAMPLES


PASTEL COMBOS & INSPIRATION


LOVE NEUTRALS?


THE BOLD + THE BEAUTIFUL

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!