Top 12 Spots on Oahu for a wedding or family portrait photo session
Note: Due to the crowds I don’t shoot in Waikiki, Kailua or Koolina area.
Kawela Bay (all morning or sunset) Google Maps link
Pros— This beach is the most versatile of all the spots I use for family pictures. The jungle blocks most of the wind, lots of great backdrops– beach, banyan tree, etc, shady all morning.
Cons— 90 from Waikiki
Kualoa Park (early morning or late afternoon) Google maps link
Pick this location if you are more interested in a great mountain backdrop than a beach.
Pros— close to Kaneohe (15 minutes) and Waikiki (45 minutes), Mountain views are amazing.
Cons— can be windy, the beach is quite small.
Papailoa Beach (7-8 am or sunset) Google Maps link
Pros— Closer to the west side. Great for people staying at Koolina (45 minute drive), very secluded and pretty.
Cons— limited parking
Other Great Ideas
Crouching Lion (north east Oahu – google maps) It’s a hike to get there but the view is amazing.
Portlock Spitting Caves (Hawaii Kai – google maps) Fairly close to Waikiki with great sunset views and black wavy lava rock
Lana’i Lookout (near Waikiki – google map) Black lava rock and nothing but blue ocean and sky around you.
Nanakuli Beach Park (near Koolina – google maps) Big beautiful white sand beach less than 10 mins from Koolina, Disney Aulani, and the 4 seasons hotel.
Halona Blowhole (South shore – google maps) Fun cove with a sea cave. Best to get there early to avoid the crowds
Kaaawa Beach park (North East Oahu – google maps) Dramatic mountain views on this small east side beach.
Pali Drive waterfall (google maps)– this is a small waterfall that you can walk to in less than 3 minutes.
Malaekahana (north shore – google maps) Very secluded beach on the north shore. Across the street from Gunstock ranch. If you love horses they might just wander into the frame.
Pounders Beach, (Laie – google maps) Amazing mountain views with pretty white sand. Get here early to beat the crowds.
Laie Point (google maps) Sandstone sea cliff sitting 30 feet out of the ocean on 3 sides. Dramatic views of the Koolau mountains.
Places I don’t shoot portrait sessions
Waikiki beach– I don’t shoot anywhere in the Honolulu area because it’s too crowded at the beaches. I’d recommend Kualoa which is 45 minutes from Waikiki if you don’t have any plans to make it up north.
Koolina– Beaches are also too crowded in that area. My style of photography requires lots of room on the beach for an empty clean look.
Crazy ideas for the adventurous
If you like to hike and don’t mind getting dirty I can take you to a waterfall and take your pictures there. I know of a small waterfall on Oahu that is just a minute from the road. I can also get out my underwater housing and take pictures of your family in the water. We can hike up to a ridge with an amazing view. If you are looking for something completely different we could head in to Honolulu for some street art.