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

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