My photographic vision has changed immensely over the past eight years! Flashback to 2016, or thereabouts, when I did everything in my power to exclude any people from my seascape images! If someone walked into my scene, I’d remove them with Photoshop in post-production, plain & simple, no questions asked! Lol!
hiflyingdress photo shoot at Makapuu Beach with Tiff at sunrise.
Fast-forward to 2024, and I’ve totally lost interest in photographing seascapes. The only time I’m up and at the location at 5 a.m. is when photographing my subject at sunrise! Setting up a creative photo session with someone gets the juices flowing. It doesn’t matter if it’s a sci-fi lightsaber-themed shoot or a simple lifestyle session…I get excited!!! For me, it’s the act of creating something from nothing. This entails from the first contact with my subject, planning a theme, creating a mood board that leads up to the actual photoshoot & finally, the actual photo shoot itself.
Purple Hi Flying Dress at sunrise on Oahu with Hideko.
Usually, the day before the photo session, my anxiety levels will slowly start to escalate & will continue to the day of the shoot. As soon as I dial in the correct exposure with my camera, hit the correct flash power with my lighting & finally have a visual confirmation of the exact look I need for the image. It’s like a wave of relief that overcomes all that anxiety. My assistants know when I’ve hit that frame & I stop bitching…I have a “thing” I do! LOL! From that point on, my creativity just kicks in like a tidal wave!
Orchid Hi Flying Dress sunrise portrait.
I’ve been in a small creative funk lately. It’s a different kind of funk that leaves me walking away from a shoot, feeling something is missing. At first, I couldn’t quite place what was wrong until this recent shoot with my friend Tiff. What it is is that I’ve come to the realization that my taste or style of the final look of an image is changing, and I’m fighting that change rather than embracing it. However, to get to the final image, I’ve also noticed how I’m using light, whether it’s natural ambient light, strobes, or a combination of both, at the time of capture. As I said earlier, my lighting taste is changing as well & I’m digging the more natural lighting with a kiss of flash as more fill light rather than using the strobe as my key or main light.
Honolulu, sunrise photo session with the beautiful Tiffany wearing a HiFlyingDress.
I love or used to love shooting highly dramatic sci-fi lightsaber imagery, but I’m slowly coming to terms with the fact that my style is moving towards a more subtle lighting scenario. I really love lifestyle shoots with a touch of fashion. 

“With change comes growth. I think I have finally realized that!”

Aloha & a hui ho y friends!

My first entry into the New Year 2024. On the day after Christmas & after three years of dodging the “Covid” bullet, I tested positive…DAMN! What timing! Christmas & New Year is a time to be spent with family! Like everyone else, we took all of the safety precautions, wearing a mask & washing hands frequently, of having our traditional dinner with my immediate family but spent it isolated in my bedroom quarantined. Even though the safety precautions, my wife tested positive a few days later. Fortunately, my two daughters, brother, niece & her family steered clear & are all negative! What a way to bring in the new year!

Early sunrise street photography in my neighborhood, Kaimuki.

In April of 2023, after purchasing my Leica Q2, I fell in love with street photography & found it to be curiously delightful!! In my “work” environment as a professional photographer, I still find it strange calling myself a professional photographer after doing photography as a hobby for the majority of my photographic journey. I enjoy photographing people in general & looking for moments seems to be what I look for in all of my work, photographically speaking. This mentality aims to capture interesting moments on the street with everyday people. The shrinks say that one should have a hobby away from whatever I do as a “day” job. With my “day” job as a photographer, my hobby is photography & for the moment, it’s specifically street photography, my getaway. I have never been your “normal” kid growing up & am still the same today, a bit on the odd side, so photography is my hobby from photography! Lol!

Street photography in Kaimuki, morning prep.

I’m unsure if anyone feels the same way I feel when using different camera systems. A little something I’ve noticed after looking at my small body of street photography work is that when photographing an engagement, elopement, or even one of my creative projects with my Sony A7IV, I see everything in color, a very sharp technical sterile image, this is exactly what I want in the image. Having an eye to use the dominant colors of a scene, composition & more so, the lighting sets the mood of the image. As far as the noise is concerned, I try hard to minimize the noise but have come to terms with having a “noisy” image I believe it helps to set the ambiance to the whole image & it really doesn’t bother me at all if it is noisy. I’d rather have taken a noisy image than no image at all! The Sony will help me create beautiful color images of a bride tearing up at the wedding ceremony as she reads her vows or create a sci-fi glowing lightsaber scene out of Star Wars!

Street photography of a man waiting for his morning bus ride.

When I shoot with my Leica Q2, I see everything in black & white. 90% of the time, in fact, I find it annoying to have it set to color. However, there is the 10% of the time, that calls for color. I have three saved profiles that are set in monochrome & one in color. Rarely do I see anything in color; it’s so strange! The Q2 makes me want to go out to shoot my street photography work, where black & white can enhance the feeling of a picture of a person, place, or thing. Something I don’t get from my Sony, & I don’t think I’ll ever grab my Sony for street photography! It’s definitely too big, bulky & obvious to people walking by. When I’m shooting street, I want to be a fly on the wall.

Downtown street photography of a man & his best friend.

The Fuji black magic voodoo kicks in when I pick up my Fuji XT5! I don’t know what it is about Fujifilm, but there is an aura, a kind of mystique about holding & shooting with it! I can’t explain it & it’s the same with the Leica Q2! I used to shoot with a Fuji XT2 & XT3 before I moved back to Sony. I love it for street photography mainly so I could interchange different lenses with my two favorite focal lengths, even with my Sony 35mm & 50mm, a Fuji 23mm (35mm equivalent in full frame) & 33mm (50mm equivalent in full frame). In my opinion, it is the one fatal flaw in the fixed focal length of the Q2. With the XT5, I see everything in “Classic Chrome,” a Fuji film simulation, and I am starting to experiment with Classic Negative & shooting RAW + JPEG or just JPEG. As an Oahu photographer wanting to learn as much as possible about photography, I want to test it out on a portrait photo shoot. The Fuji system is lighter in weight & they are known for their excellent glass & weather sealing. The XT5 seems to me to be a gateway between Sony & Leica. It almost split down the middle of the technical image sharpness of a Sony & the b/w feel of a Q2. The XT5 has a 40mp sensor & Fuji is updating its lens lineup to be able to render the higher megapixel with their new sensors. Perhaps a change in the future for me? Who knows?

Honolulu hard working refuse workers in the early hours of the morning.

At the end of the day, wandering around the streets, I ask myself, did I enjoy my walk & doing some street photography? 99.9% of the time, the answer is yes! It really doesn’t matter if I got a shot or not. Just shooting for fun is great therapy for my mental health, especially with all the hustle and bustle of everyday life. I’m not trying to impress anyone.

I had the pleasure of working with Nicole & Zack on a fitness photo shoot on the east side of Oahu at my favorite sunrise spot! I’ve worked with Nikki three times over the last two years, and she first caught my eye when I saw her wielding a bow & arrow and asked her to be my Lady Hawk, Hawkeye-themed photo shoot.
Fitness photo shoot at sunrise on Oahu with Nikki & Zak.

Fast forward to September 2023, Nikki approached me to do a fitness photo session & of course, I said yes, let’s do it! I believe I shot a fitness-styled shoot only once, many moons ago! Lol! I had to do my homework & research poses & more importantly, lighting. Fitness shoot lighting is a little bit more complex than elopement or engagement lighting. It’s more about highlighting the muscular build of a person as they have worked so hard to shape & chisel out their body into their vision of perfection. At first, I had a hard time seeing the concept of never being “happy” with their physique & always trying to reach their vision of how they think they should look. However, being a creative, I do the same thing, always striving to better my previous work and pushing myself mentally and creatively.


Nikki body building fitness photo session with photographer Ryan Salkamoto.

The fitness genre is something that I’m very unfamiliar with & I always love a challenge! It was a needed break as my creativity was starting to fade, shooting the same style over & over again. I get very bored very easily & am constantly researching something different to play around with to expand my creativity. Not only themed shoots but also different lighting techniques.

This shoot required a few different types of light modifiers that I don’t usually use. Mainly 2-12×36 strip boxes. My other tools are my trusty 24” octa without my beloved grid, 4 AD100Pro  with one of the 100s with a MagMod Sphere & multiple gels! Lol! In hindsight, I should have used my 33” octa & removed the inner & outer diffusers for a more contrasty look or even used a 3rd strip box as my key light on some of the shots. My last mistake was that I should have brought a can of ORS Olive oil sheen spray to give their skin a shine. We all learn more from our mistakes.

Photo session with Nichoe & Zak, early morning on Oahu.

The photo session went very well! There were a few lighting techniques I wasn’t able to get to due to time constraints for the rising ambient sunrise light. I would love to do another photo shoot like this…

Fitness body-building photo session on the east side of Honolulu just before sunrise.

What’s my worth as your photographer?

Defined from Oxford Languages: “Having or showing the qualities or abilities that merit recognition in a specific way.” Value is what something is worth. As a Honolulu based photographer, photographing someone is my service & most importantly, my vision or style. This also spills over to customer service & being able to connect with whoever is in front of my lens on one of my photo sessions here on Oahu.

There is a distinct difference between the cost of an item or the cost of a service for a photographer, as opposed to what my services are worth to you. So, let’s break this down. As in anything in life, if you do it for a long time, you are supposed to get better at what you do, so having 20 years of experience, and I’m still learning to capture beautiful images but also to see & capture intimate moments as they unfold in front of my lens. 

Pricing is the cost of the service I provide to capture these moments with you. First, I want to set this straight: when you hire me for a photo session, you’re not paying for my camera, lens, computer, or any other gear. You’re paying for the knowledge I’ve learned over the past 20 years to capture your special moments. The past 20 years are all the mistakes I’ve made & learned not to repeat the same mistake today! It’s also taught me to see a moment happen as it unfolds, watching and anticipating how each couple will react to a prompt & also, when the couple thinks the camera is not pointed at them & they let their guard down for just a split second. These unprompted moments are my very favorite to capture!

Suprise proposal at sunrise on Oahu.

With the new generation of fast-paced social media & getting “content” for Instagram, Facebook & other social media sites, many engagement, wedding, and elopement couples are asking friends to take pictures with their iPhones and Android phones & I cannot stress how bad of an idea this is. These friends are not photographers trained to see intimate moments happening & if they do happen to see it, they usually see it too late as the moment has passed. At especially weddings & elopement, you cannot ask the bride, groom, or priest to redo the “you may now kiss the bride” moment or even a small but simple coy glance between the couple. 

Having a photographer who knows what moments are critical to the bride and groom is essential to capturing and documenting that special day for my clients. The old adage “You get what you pay for” holds true in hiring a professional photographer. 

Honolulu Elopement photography Oahu

What happens in the background when you hire me as your photographer? These are the things you don’t see or hear about. You get someone who knows how to capture a good image with a mood that will fit what you want, to be able to see intimate moments and guide you in posing to flatter your look. 

My camera has 2 SD card slots that automatically write to the 2nd card simultaneously as a backup, so if 1 card goes bad, I have a backup of the entire photo shoot on the second card. As opposed to a smartphone that may get damaged, lost, or stolen, you’ll never be able to get those pictures back. 

However, it doesn’t stop there. Once I return to my office, I’ll immediately back up the entire photo shoot to my main pictures hard drive and then make another two backups to the second & third external backup drives. In the meantime, my computer will begin to clone an exact copy to the cloud. 

That’s four copies of your photo shoot. As you know, computer files can get corrupt if there’s a system crash, but with four copies of your shoot plus the 2 SD cards I keep, until I make the final delivery to you, I have you covered to keep your memories safe. I’ll archive your memories for up to 2 years just in case something happens to your computer or mobile device. These services are included in my photo package pricing at no extra charge. 

So this is my worth as opposed to a friend shooting your memories on their iPhone who probably won’t have your pictures a year from now if they lose or break or, worse yet, have their phone stolen. Not all professional photographers do what I do on backing up to multiple hard drives & archiving your photo session. This is the workflow that I follow in all of my photo sessions & this is my worth when you hire me as your photographer….Aloha

The best time to schedule a photo shoot on Oahu is sunrise or sunset…

Individual photo shoot at sunrise on the east side of Honolulu.

An early sunrise photo session on Oahu, backlit only with natural light, no flash.

The soft and warm light during sunrise and sunset can create stunning and dramatic images, making them an ideal time for portrait photographers. Here in Honolulu, the colors in the sky are breathtaking, ranging from deep oranges and reds to soft pinks and purples, while the angle of the light can create interesting shadows and highlights, adding depth and texture to the photo. Additionally, there are typically fewer people out, especially during sunrise, providing a more peaceful and uninterrupted photo shoot for the people I photograph and making it less stressful for everyone. This is very helpful in capturing environmental portraits without the distraction of crowds.

Sunrise family portrait on Oahu at Makapuu Beach Park.

Sunrise backlit my subjects. I added a small flash to give them a pop of light to separate them from the background.

One of the unique challenges for portrait photographers is capturing the perfect shot during specific times of the day. As the lighting conditions can change quickly, it is crucial to adjust the exposure settings accordingly. This can be an exciting and rewarding experience for photographers who wish to improve their skills. However, it is essential to practice new techniques on a family member or friend before trying them out on a client’s photo shoot. This will help avoid any potential disasters!

Elopement photographer Oahu

Elopement at Kualoa Beach Park on the windward side of Oahu. Two flashes, one on each side of the bride & groom to brighten their faces.

Having a photo shoot at noon can be pretty challenging for any amateur or pro photographer when it comes to capturing beautiful photographs. However, many people who visit Oahu for an environmental elopement, engagement, or wedding photo shoot have a hectic schedule, making it tough to schedule their session during sunrise or sunset. 

Noon, the worst time of day, is when the sun is directly above us. This causes “raccoon eyes,” where shadows cover the subject’s eye sockets and create long shadows that appear below their chin. Nonetheless, this problem can be resolved using a flash or bounce card or, better yet,  finding a shaded area. The latter is particularly crucial. You would be surprised to see the stunning portrait of a bride and groom that can be created with the use of a small flash and some shade.

Sunrise fashion photo shoot on Makapuu Beach with David.

Fashion photo shoot at Makapuu Beach Park, natural light no flash.

I’m a photographer based in Honolulu, Hawaii on the island of Oahu & there is no lack of sunshine here, so doing a photo session at any time of the day is absolutely possible. Hiring a professional photographer who knows what they’re doing is crucial to getting beautiful memories that will last a lifetime.

In summary, any time of day for your photo shoot is possible at the right location, which I can help you find. Sunrise and sunset would be the best times of day to schedule a photo shoot, but absolutely not necessary. I have the experience & I can promise you a beautiful gallery of images for you and your ohana. 

Family portrait with Jenn & Edric with Oahu photographer Ryan Sakamoto.

The art of photography is so much more than just taking a picture of someone or something! As a portrait photographer on a wedding or elopement, it’s not only seeing that special moment unfold in front of me. It’s also the lighting & more so, the emotions & gestures! Here in Oahu, there’s no shortage of natural light. For the most part, we normally have sunny days & beautiful rainbows when it rains. 

Lighting sets the mood of a portrait, not the camera. The camera is the tool that helps you capture these moments. As the photographer, “seeing” the moment is the most important part of making a beautiful image. The eye behind the camera determines the mood based on the moment, subject, vision & lighting. Without light, there is no picture, only a dark void. The untrained eye cannot see beautiful lighting or anticipate a stolen kiss when the flash is not pointed at my couple. 

The word “photograph” means “drawing with light.” Personally, in my opinion, a good photograph will invoke an emotion, such as happiness, sadness, anger, calm, or even confusion. However, special moments don’t always wait for the “perfect” lighting, so with or without the “perfect” lighting, you have to take the shot. I’d rather have a grainy image with bad lighting than no image at all. I get this question from beginning photographers all the time & my answer is always the same: get the shot first. The couple will appreciate you telling their story with small, intimate moments more than the grainy picture! 

I put lighting into these categories: natural ambient lighting-sunlight & moonlight, artificial ambient-street & indoor light or flash, strobe, constant, & LED. As a portrait photographer, I use natural lighting & flash or a combination of 2 combined lighting depending on the scenario. There really isn’t a right or wrong way of using light, so long as there’s enough light to take a picture to set a mood.

In the past, I’ve always been a stickler for having the sky, foreground & subject in “perfect” exposure! As a seascape & portrait photographer, there were workarounds to capture that perfect seascape image using ND filters & bracketing my shots. 

Then, there was portrait photography using VND’s (variable neutral density) filters & strobes (flash). Exposing for the background, mainly the sky & using flash to light my subject. The difficult part was to find that balance between the camera setting, VND filters, flash power & what mood I wanted to portray in the final edit.
Sunrise family portrait on Oahu at Makapuu Beach Park.In my opinion, capturing an image in natural light is an art in itself! It’s definitely something I had to learn & embrace in this past year! For myself, being a strobe photographer, it was a very difficult concept to grasp. I wanted the sky to have some form of detail; this is the seascape photographer talking,  but I’ve come to learn that it isn’t always necessary & the moment is what counts!

Senior portrait on the east side of Honolulu.

In my opinion, the ability to bend natural or artificial light to your vision is crucial to creating a beautiful image. Think of light as water being sprayed onto your subject. The more water you have, the larger the area will get wet. Less water focused on a specific area will carve out just a part of the subject. Water can also be focused into a pinpoint stream & so can light. I truly believe every photographer sees light in a different way & that’s a good thing, as we’ll capture beauty with our own vision!

Aubry and Becca’s elopement

Ryan Sakamoto is a Honolulu elopement photographer on Oahu. Aubrey & Becca pose for their elopement photographs at Sherwood Beach on Oahu.

Imagine a sunny, beautiful day on the picturesque shores of Oahu. The gentle waves crashing against the sandy beach create a serene backdrop for an intimate elopement ceremony. This is the setting where Aubry and Becca decided to exchange their vows, surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of Waimanalo Beach Park, known locally as Sherwood Beach.

Elopements have become increasingly popular in recent years, offering couples a chance to escape the stress and expectations of traditional weddings. It’s a chance for them to focus solely on their love and commitment to one another without the distractions of booking a venue, meals, centerpieces, music, & who should be invited. The biggest drawback to a traditional wedding is cost. According to The Knot, an average wedding ceremony & reception in 2022 can cost as much as $30,000. Brides Magazine estimates for 2023 are $29,000-$35,000.

Sherwood Forest in Waimanalo, early morning elopement photography with Aubrey & Becca. A popular location with Oahu photographers for couples photography or senior portraits.

For Aubry and Becca, this sunny day on Oahu’s North Shore was more than just a destination elopement; it was an opportunity to express their deepest emotions authentically and intimately. With only their closest loved ones present, they could create cherished memories that would last a lifetime.

Waimanalo Beach Park served as both witness and participant in this special occasion. As the warm sun kissed their skin and the gentle breeze whispered through their hair, Aubry and Becca exchanged heartfelt vows that echoed with love and devotion.

Honolulu elopement, photographer Ryan Sakamoto capturing Aubrey & Becca's wedding ceremony on the beach at Waimanalo Beach Park.

Their decision to elope allowed them to break free from convention and create a wedding experience that truly reflected who they were as individuals and as a couple. It affirmed their unique journey, celebrated in an idyllic location that perfectly captured their love story.

Elopements like Aubry and Becca remind us that love knows no boundaries or traditions. They inspire us to embrace our desires for genuine connections and meaningful experiences. Elopements allow couples to create unforgettable moments explicitly tailored to them, whether on a sunny beach or amidst towering mountains.

Elopement photography session at Waimanalo beach park, on the east side of Honolulu. Photographers love doing couples photography here due to it's scenic views.

As your Honolulu elopement photographer, I will be there to capture the memories of your special moments and emotions and guide you toward creating your magical day. Bask in the beauty of nature while declaring your love for one another. Let’s create memories of a lifetime together on the beautiful island of Oahu…Aloha

When I picked up my Leica Q2, I stepped into a time machine.

Individule portrait shoot at sunrise.

For the past year, my bread-and-butter camera of choice has been my Sony A7IV, mainly for its articulating screen and 33-megapixel file size. Being a portrait and seascape photographer on Oahu, I’m surrounded by water. Having the ability to shoot low to the ground and not having to lie down on the ground, especially in tide pools and water, is a must-have in a camera body! I feel that 33mp is my sweet spot in the outrageous megapixel war that is currently going on in the camera industry. I recently sold my Sony A1, with no articulation screen and 50mp. When I pack my camera bag, I have reached for my A7IV rather than my A1. I feel the A1 is overkill for what I need with my portrait work.

I admit I’ve been looking at the Leica system, Q2, and the relatively new M11 in the last two years. I’ve also looked at the Hasselblad 907X 50C, and this camera is so sexy looking, and the X2D, which has a more modern spin on medium format, is not so sexy! Lol!

Morning model portfolio photo shoot at Makapuu Beach.

Enter the Leica Q2 Reporter. It’s a step backward in the sense of technology and features that we’ve all become accustomed to, such as eye autofocus, phase detection, and having many dedicated custom buttons and assigning features to exciting knobs, buttons, and dials. The Q2 can do some of this, but nothing like my Sony. I did opt for the Reporter version of the Q2 just because it’s unbranded with no Leica logos on the body.

It’s forced me to slow down to compose my shot and, more importantly, see my composition through a fixed 28mm lens. Before I made the purchase, I researched how or if this body and lens combo could shoot portraits. The biggest concern was whether a 28mm could handle portrait photography. It is a Summilux f1.7 ASPH, which is supposed to minimize the distortion from a wide-angle lens and does to a certain point. There’s no way to get away from the distortion 100%.

Sunrise photo shoot with Nicole at Makapu'u beach, North Shore Oahu. Family photographer Ryan Sakamoto also specializes in senior portraits and couples photography, and is a popular Oahu elopement photographer in Honolulu.

I have successfully done a few photo shoots with only my Q2 or a combo of my Q2 and A7IV. There are limitations on how close I can step toward a model before I start seeing the distortion kick in, but the images are still usable for the most part.

I’ve started a new sunrise photography project called “Like a New Day.” When I first got the Q2, I wanted to work it into my portrait photography and use it specifically for my wide shots, which will capture more of the environment to complement the subject.

Model photoshoot with David at Makapu'u beach, on Oahu's North Shore, a popular location for Oahu photographers.

Every seasoned Leica user says the Q2 is the gateway drug into the Leica system! At first, I didn’t think so, but now I’m thinking about the M11. However, for my professional work on engagements, elopement, and couples photography, the M11 will not work; it’s only manual focus, and I know that I’ll miss shots trying to focus on moments. My Sony A7IV with my Q2 will be in my bag for “work.” My Q2 is for me to have the freedom to grab a relatively small camera body as an everyday carry and have some fun with it.

Absolutely no expectations. I get what I get from walking around Kaimuki or at the beach at sunrise!!! The Q2 has reset my vision to slow down and think differently. In a nutshell, it makes me want to go out and shoot. The Leica M11 is on my wish list, and perhaps when I retire and sell all my Sony gear, I’ll get a chance to have my dream camera in hand?!?

Portfolio update with model Nicole during a sunrise photo shoot at Makapu'u beach, a popular location with photographers in Oahu.

From November of 2022 up until today, June 2023, these past months have been a total crap and very depressing time for me. My brain has been constantly in a fog, and, at times, my thoughts have been racing, making it hard to focus. My heart has been heavy and broken. Picking up the Q2 has allowed me to grab a camera and go into the world to help heal myself. I’ve started to take daily walks around Kaimuki to capture the everyday life around this small Oahu town, and, most of all, I’m having fun!

Early morning walk at sunrise photo shoot in Honolulu. Makapu'u beach is a popular spot for Oahu family photographers and people looking for a couples photography session.

Until now, I’ve never been remotely interested in environmental fashion photography, and learning about this genre of photography has been a slow transition. I understand fashion photography is all about clothing rather than the subject, but I have always been a beauty and glamour photographer and have always put more emphasis on the beauty aspects of the subject in front of my lens. Clothing has always taken a backseat to the main subject.

Sunrise bikini swimwear photo shoot at Makapu'u Beach on Oahu. A popular spot for Oahu photographers and those looking for the best place for couples photography.

In exploring the world of photography, I have gravitated towards a style that falls between fashion and glamour. This has been an exciting journey as I experiment with different poses, primarily with natural lighting and some flash. My models have brought outfits to create truly stunning images.

I appreciate how fashion photography allows me to showcase clothing and accessories artistically, while glamour photography lets me capture the confidence and beauty of my subjects. It’s quite a delicate balance, but I enjoy the challenge of finding the perfect mix, but I am still learning & experimenting.

Early morning swimsuit photo shoot at sunrise at Makapu'u beach park. Early mornings are popular times for Oahu photographers. Warm colors give Honolulu photography a special look.

I have been exploring different photography styles lately and want to pursue a more environmental, editorial fashion style. I love how fashion photography can tell a story and convey a mood. This style allows me to be more creative with my images, especially outside of a studio. I am excited to experiment with different lighting, poses, and wardrobe choices to create a unique, eye-catching style.

An early morning walk on the beach at sunrise with Rey.

My growing fascination with environmental editorial fashion photography and how it conveys the essence of a moment that tells a story through images is truly captivating. I’m eager to delve deeper into this style and discover the unique and creative images I can produce. Here are a few images from my last photo shoot with Rey, owner of Kimi Collective Swim, clothing & wearable art.

Sunrise bikini swimware photo shoot at Makapuu Beach on Oahu.

Creating memories from the heart ❤️…Aloha

What is the best time to take a family, couple, engagement, or senior portrait photo shoot? From my personal experience as a sunrise seascape photographer, sunrise or sunset are the best times, in my opinion. From a professional portrait photographer’s point of view, sunrise or sunset. For the best light of the day, I truly believe that sunrise is the best light, closely followed by sunset.

I started off my journey by photographing sunrise & sunset. The soft and warm light during sunrise and sunset can create stunning and dramatic images, making them an ideal time for portrait photography. The colors in the sky are breathtaking, ranging from deep oranges and reds to soft pinks and purples, while the angle of the light can create interesting shadows and highlights, adding depth and texture to the photo. Many of my mainland city clients have never witnessed a sunrise on a beautiful white sand beach ever in their life.

Sunrise engagement phot shoot with Melani & Luke.

Through my experience, I’ve found that sunrise offers a few perks. There’s a lot more parking except for a few sunrise photographers. For me, it’s the start of a new day. You’ve slept off all of the stress from the previous day. You’re rested and more relaxed. When photographing a person at the end of a day, all of the stress from a full day of work is bundled up & I feel that the subject cannot truly express themselves. This is especially helpful in capturing environmental portraiture without the distraction of crowds.

Environmental portrait at sunrise with Nicole.

With all of nature’s beauty of sunrise & sunset, unfourtanitly our lives revolve around time & place & we all cannot be at a white sand beach at 6am in the morning. So there are compromises to be made. Doing a photo shoot at 1pm is still doable. I just need to be more creative about shoot locations & how I use the hard lighting that the sun produces in the afternoon. Picking locations where there’s shade from trees or on the side of a building that’s in the shade of another building will work with a shallow depth of field. I need to be more aware of the location conditions of what I want to show & what busy distractions I need to blur out.

With all of this said, I cannot control Mother Nature, so we need to work within its ever-changing weather conditions. As many of you know, it could be raining & 5 minutes later, it’ll be sunny. That’s just how Mother Nature rolls in Hawaii. Sunrise and sunset photo shoots provide a beautiful and rewarding experience for anyone who wants to capture stunning and unique images, especially on the beautiful island of Oahu, Hawaii’s “Gathering Place!”
Creating memories from the heart ❤️…Aloha

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