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

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

Childhood Magic - Maui Style

When a fellow (and amazingly talented) photographer reaches out to you to capture her & her family on their first trip to Maui, you jump up; raise your hand; and say YES!

Immediately upon meeting Claire & her family (did I mention they’re all gorgeous?), I knew this sunset session was going to be SO much fun! With open hearts, beautiful flower crowns, flowing dresses and the perfect sunset & backdrop, we jumped right in and made the most of the high tide & lava rock surroundings…

Not only were their outfits coordinated to perfection; the fabric was comfortable with plenty of beautiful textures, and their small accents like leis and crowns were just magic!!!!!

Need help coordinating your wardrobe for your upcoming family session? Be sure to check out my recent “Planning Your Wardrobe: Hawaii Family Photography Session” Blog!

As for Claire, if you’re in the area of Phoenix, Arizona and looking for an amazing newborn photographer, be sure to visit her website HERE <3

Much love to you & your family Claire…and of course, thank you for choosing me x

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 ;-)

Her First Maui Year

WHERE: WAILEA, HAWAII | WHO: ERIN, JEFF + BABY ELLA | WHY: ELLAS 1ST BIRTHDAY

Just a year prior, I had the joy of capturing Erin & Jeff as they were pregnant with baby Ella & enjoying their Maui vacation and baby moon. So when they contacted me just days before arriving for a last minute Maui vacation trip (and Ella’s first!), I was so excited to meet Ella, so I made the time to sneak them into my schedule.

And I’m so glad I did! Talk about a cutie patootie! Erin decided to wear the same outfit she wore while pregnant with Ella so we could coordinate some before/after shots with baby Ella! And you know what Erin also did? She coordinated Ella’s outfit to match hers…and to this day, it’s hand’s down my favorite outfit EVER on a little one!

Side note: If anyone can find this skirt in an adult size, please please PLEASE let me know! I’m obsessed ;-)

After much love, coordination, pom poms, and smiles, baby Ellas first photoshoot (technically 2nd) was a success! See for your self (and seriously…that skirt…) <3

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 t are 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

Planning Your Wardrobe: Maui Couples 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! 

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.

  • Try to coordinate outfits without looking overly “matchy”. Avoid wearing same colors and instead, find a color palette you love and piece together items from that palette that are complimentary to one another.

  • Ladies: choose soft, natural fabrics that drape and flow. These make for gorgeous portraits and give texture and a sense of motion - two things I LOVE!

  • I like my sessions to be fun and have an element of freedom, so dress in clothing you don’t mind playing in (or getting wet!).

  • 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 t are 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!

  • Sweat: 100% humidity equals sweat for everyone involved, especially men. Do yourself and your photos a favor and wear a simple tee on your way to your session, then change into your nice shirt when you arrive. I also recommend wearing a light tank under your dress shirt to wick away moisture and keep sweat spots from making an appearance. Small hand towels are perfect for wiping away sweat, especially during sunsets!

Still need some more inspiration for your wardrobe?

Visit my ‘What to Wear’ Pinterest Board!


Where to Shop:

For Her: Old Navy, Forever 21, Asos, Lulu’s, Nordstrom Rack

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


COLOR PALETTE SAMPLES


FOOL-PROOF PASTEL COMBOS & INSPIRATION


LOVE NEUTRALS?


THE BOLD + THE BEAUTIFUL

Planning Your Wardrobe: Hawaii Family 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! 

I love color & accessories, just keep the patterns to a minimum. This goes for your kids too. If you or they are uncomfortable in their clothing, it will show in the photos. Choose clothes for everyone in the same color palette (see optimal palettes below…). The goal is for you guys to look great, but we want the focus to be on you, not your clothes. The outfits should blend together and blend a bit into the background.

Keep it fun! If you want to bring two outfits for everyone, bring two. And if you have little kids, we know how they like to get dirty, so bring some back ups.

But no matter what you wear, be confident that I’ll make you look fantastic…

it’s my job.



BASIC TIPS

  • 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 your family to look like themselves. This goes for your kids too. If you or they are uncomfortable in their clothing, it will show in the photos. 

  • I love color and accessories, just keep the patterns to a minimum ;-) Try to have only 1 patterned outfit for every 3 people for family shoots. Then dress everyone else with color coordinating looks.

  • Try to coordinate outfits without looking overly “matchy”. Avoid wearing same colors and instead, find a color palette you love and piece together items from that palette that are complimentary to one another (see examples above to help get you started!).

  • Ladies - long maxi dresses are your best bet for EVERYTHING. They’re literally flattering on everyone! Plus they move so beautifully! When in doubt…maxi dress it out ;-)

    • But keep in mind…beaches tend to be windy! So those cute dresses, shirts & skirts with all the multi layers and ruffles, won’t work well on the beach. All these layers will drive you craaaazy as you try to make them stay still & flat (plus they’re distracting to the eye). So keep it simple…

  • I like my sessions to be fun and have an element of freedom, so please dress your children in clothing you don’t mind them playing in. And that goes for you too! *Don’t forget to bring a change of clothes or backup shirt/bottoms for littles ones & a towel - sand, dirt & shoreline fun are inevitable!

  • No visible logos or branding on the clothing itself. 

  • Dress babies as babies. For anyone under 2 years old, steer clear of collared shirts and jeans, as they tend to make the little ones look a lot older. Try onesies for boys and sweet little dresses for girls…

  • 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. 

    Still need some more inspiration for your wardrobe?

    Visit my ‘What to Wear’ Pinterest Board!


Where to Shop:

For Mom: Old Navy, Forever 21, Asos, Lulu’s, Nordstrom Rack

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

For Kids: Target, Baby Gap, Old Navy, Pop Real, Bitsy Bug, My Modern Kid


COLOR PALETTE SAMPLES


FOOL-PROOF PASTEL COMBOS & INSPIRATION

(Notice the 1 patterned outfit & how the others compliment it in a simple way…)


LOVE NEUTRALS?


THE BOLD + THE BEAUTIFUL

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

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!