Danny and Emma had booked me for their elopement in Hawaii. I happened to be in California for a shoot, and have been dying to explore and shoot at Big Sur! Big Sur is a gorgeous coastal area near Monterey, CA. There are miles of trails and beaches to adventure around Big Sur.
Danny and Emma happen to live in Monterey, and were game to have an engagement session with me amongst the beauty of Big Sur. It worked out perfectly! I rarely get to shoot engagements, because a lot of my couples who elope in Hawaii are traveling from out of state. That being said, if you book with me and are coming to Hawaii a few days earlier than your elopement, having an additional shoot can be great to get you more comfortable in front of the camera and for us to get to know each other. You won’t be in a bad position if you aren’t able to do an engagement shoot beforehand, but it can be really helpful if you have the opportunity to!
Back in Big Sur, Emma didn’t have an engagement ring because her engagement to Danny happened pretty organically. Not a problem! Every couple’s love story takes them on a different path.
While walking alongside an amazing cliff, Emma took the lead. Danny turned around and made eye contact with me, and I could see him pull a ring box out of his pocket. Emma turned around to see Danny on one knee, and she was totally surprised. Danny said he didn’t even necessarily plan on proposing at that time, especially because I set up this engagement shoot with them just two days prior! But the ring he had ordered for Emma arrived in the mail that morning, so he just knew it was the perfect moment. Serendipity!
Shooting an adventure session, elopement, or engagement session in Hawaii is always epic. Being a photographer in Hawaii allows for so many fun experiences for both myself and my couples!
Have you heard about “land to sea” sessions? These photo shoots are an adventurous way of incorporating the ocean into your photo shoot! I shoot with special underwater housing for my camera that allows me to capture those Pacific Ocean scenes in a unique way. Having a part of your photo shoot in Hawaii take place in the ocean is exhilarating and totally different! If you’ve ever wondered what its like to have an underwater land to sea adventure session, stick around for some of my tips.
Underwater Photo Shoot in Hawaii
Jenna and Peter live in Truckee, California, which is close to Lake Tahoe. Because this adventurous couple lives so close to a place with so many outdoor recreation activities, it only makes sense that they love to partake in skiing, wakeboarding, and surfing.
Jenna and Peter got engaged after a lovely afternoon of surfing. They explored a ridge that looked over where they had just surfed, when Peter popped the question! These two lovebirds are getting married at a family friend’s home in Hawaii, where Jenna learned to surf. Jenna grew up on Oahu, so having their adventure session and intimate wedding in Hawaii is important to the two of them.
Both Peter and Jenna wanted to incorporate the outdoors in their Hawaiian boho photo shoot. They requested wanting to end their session in the water – hence, “land to sea”!
6 Tips For Your Underwater Photo Shoot in Hawaii
There you have it! My top tips for having an adventurous underwater photo shoot in Hawaii, as well as some inspiration photos. Now let’s get to planning your “land to sea” session!
Dwayne and Krystal travel to a special destination once a year, just for themselves! This year took them to the magical island of Maui, to celebrate Krystal’s 40th. They decided to stay in Kula in upcountry Maui: which has so many pretty places to explore!
Golf clubs in hand (as a birthday gift to Krystal from Dwayne!), the pair of them goofed around, exchanged silly banter, and got to be playful together at Pukalani Country Club in Maui. After some fun at the golf course, Dwayne and Krystal headed to their Airbnb to enjoy the Maui sunset and a dinner cooked by a private chef. The next day, we began our adventure on the other side of the island! We met Krystal and Dwayne in Kahului, and caravanned to the adorable town of Lahaina along the way.
Lahaina is the only way to get to Lanai and Molokai by ferry: with both islands being less inhabited, they make for some cool day trip spots! With fruit and coconut stands lining the roads, and Krystal and Dwayne driving a lime green Slingshot around the island, I took them to different places we had scouted that show off Maui’s beauty! A secret forest, Nakalele Blowhole, and Ironwoods Beach, with the white sands for sunset.
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I love being a proposal photographer in Hawaii, because it lets me be a part of beautiful moments like this. Jasmine and June met on Tinder, where they both matched because they were 5 miles away from each other. The next day, the app said June was really 1,200 miles away, which confused Jasmine! June reached out and told her that she was from Ohio and had been on vacation, but left to go back home. Discouraged, Jasmine felt that long distance just wouldn’t work out. Over the following days, Jasmine found her thoughts kept drifting back to June. She talked herself into at least being open about getting to know June: and the rest is history! June ended up moving to Florida, only 10 minutes away from Jasmine.
“She was beautiful in pictures, but in person, she was on a whole other level of beautiful!” Jasmine gushed about when they finally first met. A few months later, Jasmine knew June was the one. She planned on proposing to June during a trip to Hawaii!
It was important to Jasmine that the location was secluded, so that they could have some time to themselves without onlookers. Black sand beaches are very popular in Hawaii, but because I am all about location scouting, I had a secret black sand beach in mind! It works perfect for proposals because it is intimate, and you won’t really risk running into people.
Jasmine pitched the proposal as a couple’s photo shoot, complete with a picnic at the end. I had their song, “Get You The Moon” by Kina, queued up on my phone and as soon as it began to play, Jasmine got down on one knee. After Jasmine proposed on the black sand beach, the two of them had a playful picnic, complete with gift baskets that their friends organized to send to me that I could help surprise them with! The card from their friends brought tears to their eyes as it showed their support, even if they couldn’t be there in person!
The rest of their session was spent celebrating! Wearing leis provided by Lalamilo Flower Girl (it’s so much fun to include florals as an add-on, they’re not just for weddings!), Jasmine and June laughed, hugged, and enjoyed each other’s company on the Hawaiian black sand.
Florals: Lalamilo Flower Girl