Frequently Asked Questions
I've compiled a list of the usual questions I get asked about, but if you don't see the answer to yours here, please send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. We're ready to book! What now?
Please fill out the inquiry form here. We will decide on a shooting date, time and location together, and once all those details are ironed out, I will send my contract and an invoice for the deposit. The deposit is typically 1/3 of the total package price, with the balance due on the day of the session. Once both are received, you will be officially booked!
A note for those visiting Oahu on vacation: book your session early in your trip!
Weather is the biggest obstacle when shooting in Hawai'i. In order to get those beautiful landscapes and vivid ocean colors, we need to shoot when the weather is clear. If it's looking like it will rain or if the trade winds are too high, our best option is to reschedule. I only book a certain amount of shoots each week to make sure I have openings, so I recommend you booking early in your trip so you have some backup dates available too.
2. Where are your shooting locations?
I have spent the last 15 years wandering all over Oahu, finding off-the-beaten-path, picturesque beaches, and I will gladly take you to them! Avoiding the crowds is a top priority, so those secret spots are a must. When you email me about your photo session, I will send over my list of locations for you to choose from. Each location will be accompanied with a selection of shooting times of when the lighting is optimal for good photos.
I am based on the Eastside of the island, which is filled with the most gorgeous scenery Oahu has to offer. If you prefer to have the shoot in a different area of the island, I will travel to the South, West or North shores for a transportation fee.
3. What should we wear to our photo session?
First and foremost, I want you to be comfortable! Not only with the clothes you're wearing, but in the elements as well... it's always warm here in Hawai'i, so make sure you dress for the weather. You should wear something that will look and feel natural on the beach, and that looks and feels natural on you.
It helps to start by choosing a color palette- about 2-4 colors that compliment each other. Neutrals like cream, white and tan are simple, easy, classic... or you could throw in light pink or peach to add a bit of color. Almost all shades of pastels work beautifully together- light teal, baby blue, light violet and blush pink. If you want to go bold, red or magenta look fabulous with the colors of the ocean, as do jewel tones.
I get asked if patterns will look ok in the photos, and the answer is yes! If done right, mixing in a one or two patterns can look great... just make sure they match your color palette. Actually one easy way to start planning outfits is to choose a patterned item of clothing that you love, then pull the other colors from that pattern to match the other outfits... instant color palette!
I've also learned some things that just don't work when choosing outfits, so if possible, try and avoid...
Stripes- they just don't photograph well
Anything with a logo (or characters or words)
No turquoise clothing (the reason being that when I edit, I usually increase the turquoise to enhance the ocean color and make it pop... but that also means it will enhance turquoise clothes too, making you stand out from everyone else)
If you are doing a sunrise session, skip the patterns... the sky itself will be a busy pattern of colors, and you don't want to try and coordinate with that!
Dresses or tops with a ruffle layer near the neckline that can fly up in the wind (this has happened more times than I can count)
Clothes that can't get sandy or a little wet... we are at a beach after all!
And here's a few things that do help with outfit planning!
For any little ones in dresses, wear neutral colored bike shorts under the dress
Make sure you can walk in your clothes... if a dress is too long, have it hemmed
No need to plan out footwear- we will be barefoot on the sand
For any babies or toddlers, have a second outfit as backup, just in case of accidents
Let me help! I love outfit planning, so if you're feeling stuck, send me your choices and we can plan together!
I've had some fabulously dressed clients over the years, so I put together a gallery of some great outfit examples here!
4. What happens if it rains on our session day?
Our best option is to reschedule, which is why I recommend booking your shoot toward the beginning of your vacation so we have backup dates.
If rescheduling isn't an option, I have one outdoor location that is semi-covered, and I can send over example photos of that spot if you like.
The other option- let's get wet! I've got lots of clear umbrellas if you'd like to (attempt) to stay dry, or you can embrace it! Jump in the ocean, dance in the raindrops, or cuddle with a blanket under a palm tree. Some of the most breathtaking photos can be from light hitting raindrops, and we almost always get a rainbow after the storm passes. (A note on my gear- my cameras are water resistant and will be fine in a light drizzle, but the drone can not fly in the rain).
5. Do you edit the images? How long is turnaround time?
Yes yes yes. I would never give out an unedited image, to me that is like only giving half of the product.
What exactly does editing entail? I begin by culling the entire collection; eliminating the test shots, blurry images, photos with eyes closed or images that didn't turn out the way I had intended while shooting. Once I have the best images, they are individually adjusted for even lighting, vibrancy and overall matching tones. I do my best to make you look your best... I try to remove blemishes or sweat spots if it's noticeable.
I am a major perfectionist about my work and spend a lot of time with the edits, which is why turnaround time is usually a minimum of 4 weeks for a standard session, 2 months for an elopement, and 3-4 months for a full day wedding.
Also, in terms of what I cannot do: I edit in Lightroom, not Photoshop, so I don't have use of any body-morphing tools... meaning I cannot make anyone thinner, fix slouching, get rid of wrinkles, etc. Besides, I'm a firm believer in body positivity and self love!
6. Are you LGBTQ+ friendly?
7. What kind of equipment do you shoot with?
I always bring two camera bodies with me to every shoot- my Canon EOS R5, and my Canon 5D Mark IV. I've also got a Mark III and a 6D Mark II as backups.
As far as lenses, those are all Canon too. When I'm shooting your session, I will always have one prime- either my Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 or my 85mm EF f/1.2- attached to one camera body, and my Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 or Canon 16-35 EF f/2.8 on the other camera body.
I always prefer to shoot in natural light, but I will use flash if necessary... usually to expose your faces in a sunrise or sunset shoot. All my flashes are Canon speedlites-two 600EX II and one 480EX as a backup.
If you're into photography and want to nerd out and talk gear- Let me know :)
8. What should we bring to our session?
For the most part, I just need you! However, if you want to be extra prepared, a few things can help if the unexpected should happen.
-If you have little ones: a backup outfit (because messes/spit-up/runny noses can happen) and a towel, in case they get wet in the ocean. Also covering them with a small blanket in the car ride over to avoid messes on their clothes can help too
-Sunglasses. I try to use these as a last resort, but if anyone is really sensitive to bright sunlight, I'd rather have you wear sunglasses then have your eyes closed in all the photos
-Hair ties/bobby pins. Sometimes the tradewinds can be strong, especially in the winter, which means your hair will be flying every which way. Having a hair tie, bobby pins, hair spray or a mirror on hand in case we need to do a quick up-do can help
-Props! You can bring any props you would like to include in your photos (just try to let me know beforehand so I can plan it into our session)
-Beach stuff! Most of my locations are awesome spots to enjoy the sun and waves at... Feel free to bring your beach stuff to hang out after our session and go for a swim
9. I'm worried my child is not going to cooperate...
I'm not! I love shooting kids, and I've got two little ones at home that keep me on my toes. I try and make family sessions as relaxed and fun as possible, which is easy when there's so much stuff to do at the beach! I do have a few tips though that can help get great photos of everyone-
-For the most part, just being outside is enough of a stimulant to keep little ones interested, so try and avoid bringing their favorite toys to the beach, unless you want them to be holding it in the photos
-Bribery works :) The promise of a favorite treat for good behavior will almost always give me a little leverage to coerce some smiles, if needed
-Make sure they are fed before we start shooting. Offering snacks during our session may lead to your child holding crackers in your family portrait or fruit juice dripping on their shirt
-If they misbehave during the session, let it go. In my experience, punishments are a mood killer, which usually leads to tears... and once that starts, splotchy red faces and puffy eyes are impossible to edit out
-Have fun! Play in the sand, chase each other in the waves, let them explore. Not only does that make for some great candid photos, they will be having a blast, which is what the session is all about!