A gritty snarl can be as striking as a tender smile. Flying out of the surf in silhouette is thrilling magic—the things I strive for as a Kauai family photographer. I want my clients to have the most awesome fun as we, together, make zany, silly, sometimes sweet and tender, occasionally classical family photos. Of course I'm inspired by the people I photograph! And there isn't a better place than at sunsets at the beach for amazing sunset photography sessions by a top Kauai Photographer.
Just engaged at Hanalei Bay, of course they're giddy with joy. To capture this photo (opposite) I threw ideas out to Chris and Blaine; I did not specifically pose them for each set up. This is the way I like to shoot. To me, aesthetics are phenomenally important. For example, in a recent shoot, I had a family holding two large umbrellas, which made sense as it was raining. The angle in which they held the umbrellas was key to pulling off great imagery as I knew I could create some interesting symmetry. I strive for mood, which helps to make the photoset unique and special. Being a Kauai family photographer, color and vibrance and eyesight reality are forefront. I have no desire to get caught up in photography fads, which include Instagram looks or the image filter fave of the day. Most professional photographers these days, in my opinion, are too happy to rely on preset filters, and they apply them across the board. While it's quick to edit this way, I'm not a fan because I'm not interested in making the colors in the photo different from what they really were in real life. I probably spend way too much time editing to make sure that skies and mountains are not washed out unless the haze in real life washed them out. I make certain that skin tones are true to life, outfit colors on point, and that's just the beginning of my editing process. Making images magazine ready or postcard worthy requires painstaking modifications that in the end, to an observer, appear seamless. Beach debris and too many beachgoers easily ruin a photo. I'm a Kauai baby moon photographer that won't settle for beach debris. And even after all that's done, I'm still not truly done. Beautification comes next. I always ask my clients if they'd like this step. Making one's appearance a bit leaner or a lot leaner if desired is a better way, no? Shaping and shadowing really makes a huge difference. Nuff said, for now— David
Kauai’s misty mountains with lush foliage make for stunning photo ops, only it wouldn’t be so verdant without the rain. Still, not everyone wants to have their photo session in a downpour, which is why as a Kauai family photographer, I try to be as flexible as possible in regards to switching times, even the shoot date for portraits photography if possible, at no extra charge.
Hidden, ready, waiting for the predetermined signal, and then in a flash I'm out of anonymity, my camera aimed and taking photos (or video). Surprise engagements take extra planning but so worth it! After the engagement, after you've seen and loved your engagement photos (or video) I'm so ready to be your wedding photographer, ready for sunsets at the beach.
Destination elopements are the staple of Hawaii's photography business. As a Kauai wedding photographer, during the photojournalism portion of the session I love seeking out interesting angles, which adds to the dimension and blends seamlessly as we move to portraits photography.
"Sunset hour on a beach, please."
I cannot tell you how many times this request appears in emails to me.
I tell the client, "Got it! Kauai surprise proposal photography sunset. Awesome!" Now where to do the session? Kauai has so many stunning beaches, vast stretches of sand with a gazillion swimmers and surfers and sunbathers, at sunset.
If the crowds are an issue, you might ask me, "why not choose to shoot on a deserted beach rather than a famous crowded beach?"
My answer is this: I like to shoot in locations with an overabundance of dynamic qualities in order to make a photoshoot rich and varied. If it's a mini-shoot, a tucked away beach like Larsons can be perfect. But for a longer photoshoot when I'm editing 30 or 40 or 60 fabulous images, a remote beach such as Larsens beach, which is gorgeous to hang out at, is somewhat limited for photo ops. For sure it has sparkling ocean stretching far and wide and sweeping drifts of sand, shrubs and bushes here and there. But there's no tide pools or lava rock maizes, no misty mountains, no iconic pier to sit on sideways with your legs dangling over the side.
As a Kauai photographer I love it when my clients see their photo set for the first time and they text me, "These are amazing!" 'I love them all!" "They're stunning!" And "Wow!" I know why they're "wow." I have help with my location selection. Not that I cannot produce wow factor photos at Larsens beach. But having magnificent dynamic properties at a single location (lazy green river, a profusion of palm trees, jungle, misty mountains, all at a stone's throw) makes it a lot easier.
Is Shipwreck beach in Poipu dynamic? The actual iconic cliff, Makawehi Point, is breathtaking but the background on the other side of the beach is a view of buildings. There's some forest areas nestled to the back of the beach but overall it's a a heavily trafficked beach. Rarely can you find a shady area without a group already there.
Is Tunnels Beach dynamic? Yes! Absolutely! One of the most stunning spots on Kauai. Is Lumahai beach dynamic? Yes.
Once again. 'nuff said, for now
I’m in a forest for a sunset shoot, I face the sun and boy it's blinding. Gee, not good for my eyes! I place my subject with the sun behind her, in a spot where there’s just enough sun flares through the trees for a magnificent shot—not too much backlighting that curbs my ability to dial in an exposure giving her natural skin tones (without photo flash or other added artificial light).
Now I'm no longer in a forest but at the beach. If the sun is setting into the ocean and there’s nothing behind the family I'm photographing but illuminated ocean and blinding sunlight, my photo choices are silhouette or photo flash. Later in the shoot, when the sun is just minutes from sinking into the ocean, the light is usually magical. Especially true if the sky is washed in vibrant color. Being a Kauai family photographer I love this time of the day But I don’t really think there’s a bad time of the day for a photoshoot. In fact, I think mornings are my favorite! Go figure! My company is Sunsets at the beach and not mornings at the beach. Maybe one day I'll change it.
The three types of twilight:
Tangelos are absolutely delicious. Winter time is citrus time in Kauai and you''l find me at the farmers markets buying tangelos by the crate load. Is it weird that I’m a Kauai photographer who loves broccoli, sunsets, sunrises or that I never spread peanut butter and jelly?
I am absolutely a people person. I talk to strangers I pass in the street, at the supermarket, in the parking lot at the beach after I’ve finished a photo session. Growing up I was a shy one. Who knew I’d be such a chatter box?
Don’t be surprised to see me walking around with three cameras slung over me. If I’m your Kauai wedding photographer and we’re doing a session at the beach, I’d sooner have the three cameras ready, each with a different lens attached rather than a single camera and a backpack of lenses. On the beach, swapping out lenses is not my thing.
I speak one language but at three different speeds, all with an accent that says I was born where…Australia? Nope. South Africa? Nope. Yup, you guessed it, the other place.
Surprise proposals seem to come in waves for me. I won’t shoot a surprise engagement for months, and then all of a sudden, it’s six in row over two weeks.
I don’t have a favorite movie, favorite book, favorite food, favorite color, or favorite most things, and I’ve read thousands of books, seen thousands of movies, tasted more foods than I can name and so on. Although Kauai might be my favorite place to live and I love being a Kauai photographer.
It’s not just my decades of experience and schooling in photography that yield stunning photos.
Even in a mini photo session, I’m likely to take over 100 photographs; in an hour session it’s typical for me to take 250 photos. Just the organizing and decision process is enormously time consuming; and that’s before I start editing.
The editing or post production of your photos is by far the most time devoted part of the process. On average I spend 5 or 6 hours post producing a 1-hour photo session.
In the last few years computers and software have gotten very sophisticated with processors much faster so you’d think editing would be swifter, easier. It’s not, by a long shot, pardon the pun. Here’s one reason why: 10 years ago when I’d do a Kauai photography session at Hanalei Bay oftentimes there would be no other souls on the beach. Just my clients and me. So during the editing of the photos in those days I didn’t have to spend hours and hours removing strangers from images that otherwise, if left in, would make the photo look like a snapshot. Today, with our heavily trafficked beaches, one of my main editing tasks is object and person removal. While some of this is fairly automatic using Photoshop’s AI tools, at least fifty percent of the time I have to use painstaking masking and airbrushing techniques to create believable, aesthetically pleasing images. Otherwise you’d have snapshots, and that just won’t do—at least not for this Kauai wedding photographer!
Perhaps some Kauai maternity photographers don’t do as I do; perhaps some merely finesse a handful of photos and leave the rest. I don’t do that. I finesse every single shot. And object/person removal is just a part of the editing process for me before I switch to the beautification stage of my workflow, where I make certain that everyone in the image looks their best, their leanest, and lastly I work on color and timing balance shot to shot, especially images of a particular sequence. So yup, a one-hour photo shoot is really a 7-hour project. And I love it!
Below you’ll see my craft: Before/ after photos.
Aloha...I'm a north shore Kauai professional photographer specializing in fun family photography and couples photography. In this blog you'll get a pretty good idea of my photography style, editing techniques and what you're likely to receive when you hire me as your Kauai photographer.
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