From a young age, I found so much beauty in portraiture of females. I would constantly doodle pictures of female faces all over the margins of my text books. I loved creating fantastical creatures with bright eyes, and long flowing hair, and that passion and love of femininity eventually transferred into my passion for photography. From beautiful brides to stunning fashion models, I have to admit, women are my favorite subjects. Every woman has a different look and a list of attributes that make them interesting, unique and therefore beautiful. Translating that to Fashion photography is even more rewarding because the control freak in me can let loose. I can easily control my lighting, the colors and textures worn by the model, focus on just the one individual without the time constraints that other genres of shoots may limit. Needless to say, i am like a kid in a candy store, I love this stuff!
This particular shoot was no exception. I got to spend an amazingly epic day on the North Shore of Oahu, with a sinfully beautiful model doing what I love most. Seriously, how lucky am I!?! Anya is a local jewelry designer and is the owner and designer of Salty Turquoise. She creates beautiful Hawaii inspired jewelry, which I am obsessed with. Anya is a native to Belarus, but has made her home in Hawaii for the better part of a decade. I love her Eastern European features of large bright brown eyes, and long dark hair along with the angular lines of her body.
I started off earlier in the afternoon than I normally do for a shoot, on a field in North Shore. I used the Wai’anae mountain range to shield out some of the bright sky light and back light her for a sharp dimensional look. We then made our way down to one of my favorite beaches out of Haleiwa. There we switched gears into bikini mode and Anya modeled a 60s inspired swimsuit. The look of the last golden light of the sunset reflected on the fine beach sand is unrivaled. When I am not switching gears to actually capture the sunset, I find this time of day can create some really soft and subtle images where you can just make out the hues of the ocean and sunset reflected in the water and sand. Finishing up by the ocean seemed fitting for Anya, as her business motto for SALTYturquoise is “the cure for anything is salt water – tears, sweat, or the sea.
I offer “artwork” to a select number of images in most of my packages as well as additional artwork as an a la carte option. When I tell clients they get, lets say 3, images of artwork included in their package, this can often cause confusion. Often people think that they are only getting 3 final images, which is certainly not the case. Most of my packages allow access and rights to reproduce all of the final images of the shoot.
To help people understand the process a little better I have outlined the stages I go through here:
1) Shoot. I try to get my subjects to look their best straight out of camera through use of lighting and framing.
2) Cull the images. This means I will be taking out pictures where people are blinking, the flash didn’t go off, or a giant bug stole my cameras focus… whatever it is that makes the photo not good.
3) Edit. All of my “before” images on this blog are edited. That means they are adjusted for color balance, exposure, saturation, sharpness, etc… All of my clients collection consists of edited photos. From there, they pick their favorites to get a little extra love.
4) “Artwork” or retouching. This typically means I will be brightening the eyes, smoothing the skin, removing stray hairs, transplanting kids faces and doing all sorts of things with Photoshop that my editing program cant do. This is labor intensive work and not practical to do to every image of the shoot, especially when there are several in a row that are very similar. Often clients have a handful of images that they really love, and I take that handful and make them extra amazing.
The following 4 images are from a shoot I did for a belly dancer at sunrise on Lanikai Beach. While the original images look great, I used a little bit of artwork to pump it up a bit more. I was able to enhance the saturation a bit more. I removed some darkness under her eyes, brightened up her eyes, smoothed the shadows of her skin along with the texture of it. I removed some items that were on the sand, as well as enhanced the shape her body was taking to make it have a little bit more of an s shape, therefore giving the image a little bit more interest. You can tell that the original image looks a little bit more dull than the second image. That is the extra little “pop” that you can get through Photoshop.
This next model was shot at Makapu’u beach towards sunset. It was a last minute shoot and we got there when the sun had already set over the mountains which means there was less ambient light. I still wanted to get a soft look to her pictures so I didn’t use flash. You can see that she has some under eye darkness, and the highlights in her eyes are somewhat dim. I used photoshop to brighten up under and in her eyes bringing out the gorgeous green hues that were subdued in the original shot. This model was going for more of a sports illustrated type of look so I removed her smile lines, smoothed any wrinkles, and pumped up her hair to look like a lions mane.
The next few shots I wanted to keep a more natural look. This particular shot was taken around sunset in KoOlina, Oahu. I was using a gold reflector to give the image a warm yummy glow and lighten up everyone’s faces. The problem I have with the picture is that some of the shadows of there face got a little too gold. Using artwork, I was able to go in and lighten up as well as slightly desaturate the shadows under their cheeks and eyes. I also brightened their eyes and teeth. They already had great complexions and really didn’t need too much done, but just the simple act of lighting those shadows on their faces made a big difference.
I hope this answers most of your questions as to what artwork is. Mahalo!
Going through some of my older portrait sessions and I just wanted to share these couple portraits from my shoot with Kalea. I am a sucker for coordination + contrast. I love how the photo coordinates her golden dress with the golden Hawaii grasses, but her dark hair provides a stark contrast while still keeping with the warm and golden color scheme.
Additionally, I have to give credit to the model where credit is due. That grass may look soft, but it was a burr-fest. I love when clients will allow themselves to be put in awkward and uncomfortable places for the sake of a picture. Look, no pain no gain! Whether it be hiking to a scenic lookout, allowing waves to crash on you, putting your knees on sharp coral, some of my favorite shots have been some of the most challenging for clients. And a big Mahalo to all of you who accept that challenge.
I met Michelle and Neil at the Honolulu Bridal Expo not too long ago and instantly clicked with this couple. They are fun, young, self proclaimed “townies” and wanted to have their engagement photos taken in their local stomping grounds. We began the photo shoot at the Hilton Hawaiian Village lagoon and trekked all the way to Fort DeRussy park for some sunset shots. I normally don’t shoot in Waikiki for engagements, as most couples require a fair amount of seclusion in order to feel comfortable opening up, but these guys were just as natural and affectionate as if there hadn’t been hundreds of people on the beach! In fact, I don’t think they even noticed when a horde of other photographers gathered around to use them as their subject matter too!
Michelle has a job in the Wedding industry, so maybe that’s how she was able to so appropriately plan their outfits for the shoot. How perfect the blues and pinks of the Hawaii ocean and sunset matched their outfits! I am convinced she has control of the weather because it couldn’t have been a more beautiful day. I am so excited for this couple and their upcoming wedding early next year! I can already tell its going to be magical.
As a photographer, I am blessed to be able to catch a glimpse into the love and life of a couple or family. I am always seeking that raw and unadulterated love that is shared between couples on a daily basis, and Sai and Alana was one of the most tangibly visible examples of that.
Fate brought Sai and Alana together about 5 years ago, when both were young and working at Aloha Salads. They immediately felt an intense connection and have been inseparable since. Years later, their romance has only grown in intensity, evidenced by tender moments, and stolen glances that made me consider giving them a moment alone.
The location of the shoot, a ridge hike and beach park in Hawaii Kai, recreated their first date together. While the ridge hike had a breathtaking 360 of Hawaii’s mountains, ocean, and sunset, its main attraction was sentimental. We finished up with an amazing sunset at their favorite beach park where they often go to spend time together. Couldn’t be happier for this couple.
Brynne and Jons destination wedding at a Private Estate on the East side of Oahu could best be summed up as fresh, playful, and romantic! It was a beautiful sunny Hawaiian day for this locally styled wedding. The venue was filled with simple, elegant tropical flora which tied in neatly with the lush greenery that the estate offered. All of this, with the Ko’olau mountains in the distance, made an altogether epic yet intimate affair.
This adorable young couple were college sweethearts in Oklahoma , and many of their friends and family were visiting the islands from my home state! Being from Texas, I knew these guys would know how to have a good time. Between mustache disguises, a few awkward family photos (an inside joke), and no one holding back on the dancefloor, this party turned into a downright Texas hootenany.
Congrats to this lovely couple, who are hopefully currently relaxing on the beach and sipping fancy drinks. :)
Catering – Kenekes Catering
Cake – A Cake Life
Florist – Bill and Heidi Wise
On a recent trip to Big Island I was fortunate to book a few photography sessions. I am truly in love with the Big Island. It has every single backdrop you could possibly imagine for an outdoor shoot. Hawaii, or the Big Island, has 8 of the 13 climate zones, all easily accessible in a few hour long drive. There is the tropical forests of Southern Hilo, the desert (and literally it looks like the moon) of north Kailua-Kona, and even some tundra at the tops of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. This particular shoot Kiana wanted her and her daughter to be photographed on the golden rolling hills of South Kohala. Since it was close to home she has a lot of love for this area and had been envisioning it for a long time. She even had scouted the perfect spot. Now I adore working on Oahu but rarely do I get the privacy and grandeur of shooting miles of rolling slopes with monstrous volcanoes on the horizon. I was stoked!
Since we started about an hour and a half before sunset, we had lots of time to settle in and get comfortable with each other. It didn’t take long for Anu’s personality to come out full throttle. I was lucky my new camera was able to keep up with her! It was a particularly blustery day but I dont think there is anyone it could have worked better for, Anuhea was a whirlwind herself. I tried to just let her do her thing and see what I could get from it I was really happy with the results.
Love this shot of little Anuhea. I really feel like it captures her mischievous personality.
One of my favorite beaches on Oahu to shoot at is a secret little beach by the JW Marriott in Ko’Olina. Although there are always a few people there, and often other photographers, it is easy to get breathtaking Hawaii scenery and backdrops with not too many people in the background. There is also beautiful white sand, some Hawaiian lava rock to create a little drama, tide pools, palm trees, tall grass, always a beautiful sunset… basically a photographers dream. Ive even seen an episode of the biggest loser have a short clip at this local.
Unfortunately, this particular day, to my surprise, there was a huge festival at the beach lagoons in front of the JW Marriott, the Disney Aulani, basically all along the east coast. It was impossible to even find parking. Needless to say I was a little bit freaked that I would be dealing with lots of little nuisances in my background. To my complete delight, my secret little beach was still nearly empty. Which was awesome because I had such a beautiful, fun and sweet couple that I wanted to deliver some awesome photos to!
I haven’t had many opportunities to shoot weddings in Kailua and Kaneohe, Hawaii. I felt so privileged to be a part of Kristen and Ryan’s wedding, and to be able to capture the majestic beauty of Kaneohe Bay and Hawaii’s famous and tragically beautiful Ko’olau mountains. Kristen and Ryan’s wedding took place at a beautiful Catholic church, Saint John Vianney Parish in the heart of Kailua, and their reception at the YWCA Kokokahi on Kaneohe Bay. The surroundings were incredible. Even though the east side of Hawaii quickly looses its sunlight in the early evening, somehow the warm sunlight was able to trickle through the Ko’olau Mountains and illuminate the passion and joy that this amazing couple has for each other. Their joy, happiness and quiet gentleness to each other was so easily captured in camera.
Venue: Saint John Vianney Parish
Venue: YWCA Kokokahi
Videographer: Manoa Productions
DJ : Zachary Ching (Brother of the Bride)
Catering : Gourmet Events Hawaii
Hair and Make Up : Mia Moriguchi
Flowers : Creative Concepts
Chloe and Scotty are one of my favorite couples who also call Hawaii home. Since both were from the West Coast they decided to celebrate their love at Cathedral Park in Portland Oregon. After having a horizontal rain downpour for the entire week leading up to the wedding, no one was anticipating the sun to come out for a rare, beautiful, and warm Portland Wedding Day.
Both Chloe and Scotty are such warm and giving people, and their friends and family are no different. Everyone came together to make this a unique and extraordinary celebration. The day began at the very unique Kennedy School Hotel, which had such a magical charm to it. Chloe’s bridesmaids were buzzing around, doing each others hair and makeup, and providing the bride with plenty of coffee, donuts, and champagne.
Then the beautiful wedding couple was blessed in what was one of the most beautiful October days that Portland has to offer. Their ceremony in Cathedral Park was both majestic and intimate. Surrounded by many friends and family bringing their two worlds together even more. They continued the celebration at the Alberta Street Pub which Chloe’s friend from childhood Jango owns. It was a true Portland celebration, with lots of delicious beer, mustaches, and friends. I always am so thankful to be a Wedding Photographer who can travel, my time in Portland was one of the most easy going and fun Weddings to date!
Wedding Venue: Cathedral Park
Reception Venue: Alberta Street Pub
Florist: Lisa Krauter-Smith