Aloha, and welcome to Julia Bach Photography, Hawaii Photography Blog

Not every photographer is lucky enough to call Hawaii his or her studio. The Islands provide some of the most dramatic and beautiful backdrops for a wedding, family portrait, or event. From lush tropical rainforests, to expansive sunsets, being a Hawaii photographer on the island of Oahu is certainly living Aloha (the breath of life).

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.

Fashion model wears designer clothing on north shore of oahu hawaii Bikini Modeling Beach Photoshoot in Oahu

I love black and whites. Don’t you?Fashion model wears designer clothing on north shore of oahu hawaii Fashion model wears designer clothing on north shore of oahu hawaii Fashion model wears designer clothing on north shore of oahu hawaii Fashion model wears designer clothing on north shore of oahu hawaii Fashion model wears designer clothing on north shore of oahu hawaii Bikini Modeling Beach Photoshoot in Oahu Bikini Modeling Beach Photoshoot in Oahu Bikini Modeling Beach Photoshoot in Oahu

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.

Lanikai Sunrise Beach Portrait of Bellydancer Lanikai Sunrise Beach Portrait of Bellydancer Sunrise beach cropped image of bellydancer Sunrise beach cropped image of bellydancer

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.

Swimsuit Model at Makapuu beach Oahu Swimsuit Model at Makapuu beach Oahu

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.

Mother with daughters at Beach in OahuMother with daughters at Beach in OahuMother with daughters at Beach in Oahu Mother with daughters at Beach in Oahu

I hope this answers most of your questions as to what artwork is. Mahalo!

Portrait photography of Model in Hawaii Grasses

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.

Portrait of Model in Golden Hawaii grasses

Portrait photography of child running through field

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.

young child is windswept by hawaii breezes in golden hills Child gazes softly at photographer in Kohala grasses Daughter nestles into mothers lap tenderly mother and daughter look softly at photographer

Candid Child photography on Big Island

Hawaii girl flops in the golden kohala grass

Love this shot of little Anuhea. I really feel like it captures her mischievous personality.

family photo of mom and daughter on hawaii coast Mother and Daughter photo on the upper hills of kohala with mauna loa candid photo of hawaii child playing on the hawaii coastYoung girl flops over doing yoga Yoga portrait of young girl on coast of hawaii portrait of a young girl walking the golden hills of hawaii Mother holds daughter on the coast of Kohala Hawaii

Couple sit for a portrait in front of Hawaii sand dunes

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!

Engaged couple embrace for a photo with waves crashing in the background Bride to be rests her head on grooms shoulder with Hawaii's east coast ocean in the background Engagement Photo of Hawaiian honi honi with warm sunlight and ocean in the background Engagement Portrait of couple in beach grass with warm sunny glow Beach Engagement photo session with Palm trees at the JW Marriot in Oahu Couple kisses for a portrait on the beach with the sunset behind them

Kailua Sunrise Family Portraits

After shooting this early morning portrait session at Lanikai Beach I couldn’t wait to get it home and into my computer! Not only was the Cowan family an absolute delight to shoot with but it was also one of those absolutely epic mornings in Kailua. Just enough clouds to create a stunning sunrise and cast beautiful soft light onto my subject matter. Less people out, less wind (most the time) and beautiful soft light, this is why I pull my clients out of bed at he crack of dawn, its worth it!

Not only were the elements perfect, but so was the Cowan family. Clients like them make my job so easy and enjoyable. Everyone was happy and eager to take some fun and lasting memories in Hawaii. They totally rocked it and I am so excited to hand over an exceptional collection to them. Just another day of work, lucky we live Hawaii!

Lanikai Surise Family Portrait Lanikai Sunrise Beach Portraits Kailua Sunrise Beach Portraits Kailua Oahu Sunrise Beach Family Portraits Oahu Sunrise Beach Portraits Lanikai Sunrise Beach Portraits Hawaii Lanikai Sunrise Beach Portraits

While it may be a little premature to start pulling out the Christmas ornaments, it is time to reveal new Fall / Winter handbag lines. Free Endearment certainly has a sophisticated line up for this season, with really easy going out bags. I hate when you go to an event or club and you are stuck with a massive purse on your shoulder. Its almost like a whole other entity swinging around smacking people when you dance on the dance floor. Which is why I was so excited to see these small yet functional bags. They include a wristlet, a clutch, and a cross body. Check out her site to see how you can order your new handbag for this fall!

As a photographer, sometimes you have to get a little creative with locations… Trying to get some more urban backgrounds for this shoot was a pretty tall order shooting on Big Island. Lucky for me, my beautiful model Angelica Andersen has no fear of a little Guerrilla photography.

Free Endearment model in front of Free Sign

We started out sneaking in to the Fairmont Orchid in Waikoloa and were lucky enough to find a courtyard all to ourselves! The key is to walk in like you own the place, which is exactly what we did. In Oahu, hotel security can spot you a mile away with a big camera and equipment, but we were able to shoot uninterrupted! Its the simple things in life, I love how relaxed Big Island can be!
Model holding Free Endearment Clutch Model holding blue free endearment purseModels holding Free Endearment Handbags

Another location we totally scored was at Three Fat Pigs at the Kings Shops in Waikoloa Village. Its a newer gastropub owned by Ippy Aiona. For those of you who aren’t addicted to Food Network, Ippy is a local chef who made it as a finalist in last seasons Food Network Star television show. Luckily Angelica just happened to know him and he was totally cool with us using his upstairs lounge area as our own personal studio. Thank you to Ippy and Three Fat Pigs, its a delicious restaurant with tons of fun events, including burlesque night! See, it helps to do a favor, you get free promotion!

Fashion photography at three fat pigs hawaii

Or when you decide to sneak onto someones private property and sit on their rusty old Cadillac…

Handbag model posing on car

destination photography long exposure portrait

yoga instructor portrait in tree pose

I thoroughly enjoyed this opportunity to do some long exposure portrait photography on the Vegas Strip. Yoga instructor Molly McLaughlin had the idea to contrast yoga to the hustle and bustle, sex, money and consumerism that Las Vegas embodies. Using a long exposure on my camera really allowed me to capture the idea behind the photograph. I was able to show, in most photos, a whirl of activity of people coming and going. I have to hand it to the girl, she was a champ as far as holding her asanas completely still which was necessary to get a clear portrait of her during the long exposures. In order to help capture her a little bit better we had a flash camera right and slightly behind her to hopefully stop any motion that she might make, as well as highlight her, as she was facing a dark street. In the end, I think we got some really unique shots.

destination photography long exposure

long exposure portrait of yoga instructor on Las Vegas strip

destination photography long exposure



Aug 16, 2013

Jaclyn Morse, owner of Free Endearment in Los Angeles, commissioned me to shoot several of her spring / summer handbag line for her new Lookbook. Now, I am a handbag girl, and these handbags are where its at. Premium leather and dyes, sturdy hardware, in season colors that pop! I actually own a few of the bags myself, and their functionality is as much a blessing as their beauty. So of course, for this fashion shoot, I wanted to show how upscale they were, but also portray them as a practical summer bag.

We began the day early at Lanikai Beach in Kailua with the “Drew, Dana and Kristel,” Handbags. I love shooting on the east side of Oahu in the early morning sunrise. Not only does that help get that early morning light, but it helps to avoid the crowds of onlookers and people sneaking into shots as well.


Fashion photography for Free Endearment Handbags  Fashion Photography of model at beach for lookbook. Fashion Photography of model at beach for lookbook.Fashion shoot at Lanikai Beach

After around 10 a.m. the sun started getting high in the sky, which can cause ugly shadows across a models face. Even though the light is high contrast and harsh, we were able to get flattering lighting on our models face by turning her face upwards towards the sun. This gave the pictures a lot of contrast and pop, which is really popular in fashion photography these days. It also helped emphasize the crocodile imprint on the bag which is an important feature to highlight.

Model lies holding Free Endearment Bag on Pali Hwy Fashion shot of model holding handbagFashion shot of model holding handbag

Towards the end of the day, we made our way to Waikiki. The sun rises over the east side of the island, and sets over to the far end of Waikiki, so once again its a great opportunity to capture that soft lighting. I wanted to depart from the beach scene and show the purses as great companions for city life as well. We photographed at the Modern located in the Harbor of Waikiki. Here we were able to get some upscale cityscape backgrounds without filtering in to the Waikiki crowds. As a photographer, I love having opportunities to do something different, which fashion photography innately is. Special thanks to Angelica Anderson for being an amazing model! Also, please check out Free Endearments newest line of bags at Jaclyn Morse is an excellent designer with an eye for beauty and functionality.

Fashion model holding handbag at Modern Hotel Waikiki  Fashion model holding handbag at Modern Hotel WaikikiModel holding clutch at Modern Hotel, Oahu Kailua Fashion Shoot for Free Endearment

Mar 31, 2013

Pregnant mother leans against husband

I absolutely adored shooting Wes & Salina. Photographing soon-to-be families, and then being a part of them becoming real families is one of my favorite parts of being a photographer. I love witnessing firsthand, the love anticipation of a newborn. There is such an innate joy, beauty and meaningfulness to maternity photography. There is a genuineness to the emotion and expressions of expecting mothers and fathers whether it be their first or their 5th. To watch a mother hold her tummy knowingly, or have a father looking on in amazement at the feel of his baby’s kick gives my job a sense of awe. Salina and Wes could hardly conceal their excitement of bringing their new baby into the world, and even though she hardly shows that bump on her thin frame, it wont be long now.

I had the pleasure of shooting Salina a while back, and even though she is a gorgeous, she was reserved and shy. This time around she left all of her reservations behind for the wisdom and glow that only pregnant woman posses. The couple have a very soft and demure tenderness lets me know that they were born to be great parents. I shot them at Puako Bay on the Big Island of Hawaii. Oftentimes, Kilauea crater will spew volcanic fog, known as vog, and the winds will wrap it around the island up to Waikoloa. Although the vog is not so great for the environment, it did provide some beautiful soft lighting for this portrait session. Just enough coverage to keep everything warm and sunny, but still soft.

Husband kisses pregnant wife in hawaii Maternity photo of couple holding eachother Maternity Photography of Husband with Wife Professional Photography of new family Professional Photography of new family Maternity picture of expecting mother and husbandMaternity picture of couple wrapped in blanket