Finding the Perfect Photo Locale.

When you live on an island that is 44 miles long and 30  miles wide, "road trips" are few and far between.  And at times, new and interesting places for photos can feel that way, too, but with the windows down and Mumford & Son's Babel pouring through your speakers a trip around the island in search of cool spots to shoot, chasing the light turns into nothing less than an adventure.  One that often has me walking through thick jungle, stumbling upon what I assume is the "retirees in g-strings beach" (oh gosh, make it go away!), and passing not one, not two, but THREE meditating yogis.  You know how I love my meditation.  MUST BE A GOOD SIGN!  Ooooommmmmm. When it comes to photo sessions and locations, I love it when couples have a hand in suggesting their fav hot spots.  Places that aren't just gorgeous backdrops for their images, but have meaning.  The bike path where they first met.  The ocean dock where he proposed.  Or the bright turquoise flower shop down the street just because she has always admired it.  When people pick their own locations, they take great pride in their images, and it makes for a wonderful session where clients have the opportunity to share in the creative process and reflect their personalities.  Sometimes for couples this is their first trip to the island, or they have an area they would like to shoot in but aren't really sure where.  That is where I am always more than happy to share my expertise!  It's important to me to check out locations ahead of time not only so I can get a good idea of interesting viewpoints, but for quality assurance in light.  For quality assurance, this call may be monitored or recorded...  WHOA where is my head at today?

When it comes to photo locations, here are a few things I look for:

1.  LIGHTING.  To me, beautiful light makes all the difference in the world.  Open shade (under some trees), or even in bright light that's casting interesting shadows & flare, I first look for the light.  It's KEY!  CLUTCH!  FETCH!  Did that finally happen?  It's what makes eyes sparkle, skin tones glisten, and totally sets the dreamy mood. I find the light, then position accordingly.  Lighting paired with location can have a significant impact on images (i.e. shooting in a canopy of jungle leaves on the Maunawili Falls Hike in typically wet East Side is fun and has a lot of 'Hawai'i" atmosphere, but if you are looking for super bright, light, images, that will not be the best place to schedule a shoot.  The dark canopy has more of a dramatic feel.)  I love varying locations and shooting all over the island at different times of day, that is why it is important to me to talk to couples about choosing a location, time, lighting, and showcase different scenarios ahead of time to make sure everyone's expectations are met.

2.  LUSH COLORS.  Color plays a big roll in my images and how I shoot.  Bright, dreamy colors in walls, the ocean, or my favorite bougainvillea will always make my heart skip a beat.  BOUGAINVILLEA ALL THE THINGS!  What?  Ya'll FALL people get to pumpkin spice the shit out of everything, let me have my moment, okay?

3.  INTERESTING TEXTURE:  A variance in textures in one location help convey different looks without trekking all around the island.  Unless a location is BEYOND and only needs one shot, I try to look for different textures and looks all within one location, at least 4 to 5.  I don't want everyone to get all sweaty hiking around town to get this shot, then that shot, and then one shot alllll the way over there.  You're here to have fun and I am here to help maximize your session time!

4.  SCENERY.  Oceans, fields, Chinatown, tidepools, marinas, there is a lot to choose from on O'ahu.  I want to make the most in documenting couple's local engagement or trip to the islands together and look for places that best reflect my clients.  Aiming to not only capture them, but the incredible environment around them.


Whenever I head out on "Photo Scouting" days, I take my iPhone along with the app "Pocket Scout".  It allows me to photograph different perspectives within a location, name the fab new spot in the middle of the woods, and add a description (example: "Really pretty light flare coming through the trees from the East at 2:40.  Parking available alongside the street".)  Pocketscout will then pinpoint and save the location on a map for me and if it is an obscure location with no real address, I can easily email the details of the spot directly to my client, photos and all!  It's pretty nifty, really.  Because let's be for real, I always pass a place and say "I will remember where that is!" and don't document it...and seconds later, my mind is wiped clean by a solid yet legitimate distraction.  "OO!  Leonard's!"  Now, I will never forget a photo spot again!  I actually did a Vlog on it a while back, check it out.


Below, some great spots I found over the weekend via my iphone.  Everyone's shooting style is different, I'd love to hear what YOU look for!

Sidenote:  You know if I had a client with me I would have caused an accident swerving to pull over and shoot them with that double rainbow in the pineapple fields.  "Double rainbow.  What does it meannnn?"