Popular Oahu Outdoor, Beach & Park Locations
Listed below is our most commonly used locations for beach, park, sunset & sunrise photo sessions for families, couples and destination beach weddings. Starred locations are excellent alternative spots. These are just the most common locations.
First - Choose Your Style
Before trying to decide on a location...we suggest you consider the "look" you want from your session. Morning and mid-day sessions are bright and cheerful, while sunset and sunrise sessions tend to be more moody and dramatic. Neither is better than the other, just different.
Next - Choose a Location
Your choice of location will be determined by factors such as your ability to travel, what "look" you chose, etc. Listed below are some of the best locations along with the pros and cons of each. The first three listed are the closest to Waikiki.
Hawaii Hilton Village (click name to view Google Map)
A popular, close-in Waikiki location. Easy access, lots of different backgrounds in all directions, multiple great shooting spots, direct sunset views, view of Diamond Head...and tons of people around. However, people are less of an issue than you might expect. I can nearly always find an angle that has few if any people in the background, and if there are, they're just blurred tiny figures. The images below were all taken at the Hilton Village/Hale Koa location. *Best for sunset sessions only.*
Magic Island (click name to view Google Map)
Not really an island, but a great location nonetheless. Same characteristics as the Hilton Village above...but even better. A very popular park with locals makes parking sometimes difficult on weekends (impossible if there is an event going on). But people in the background are not an issue at all. Tons of different looks/backgrounds, direct sunset views, family friendly, calm sandy beach, rock promenades, Diamond Head views, Waikiki views... *Good for sunset, mid-day or morning sessions.*
Waialae Beach Park (click name to view Google Map)
Family friendly, nearly deserted beaches. Excellent for those classic Hawaii palm tree beach shots. Romantic for couples and fun for families. Connects to Kahala Hotel Resort beaches. One of my favorite locations. Parking can occasionally be limited so arrive early. *Excellent for morning and sunset sessions - but there are no direct sunset views*.
Lanikai Beach (click name to view Google Map)
If you have transportation and don't mind a little drive to the lusher side of the island (40 min from Waikiki), Lanikai Beach is a gorgeous white sand beach with twin islands just off the shore- the "Mokes" - and the sun rises right over them creating gorgeous sunrise images- just like a sunset only in reverse! Its also a wonderful location even at sunset, as the setting sun highlights the Mokes in golden light. The downside to this location is that backgrounds are limited... homes 20 ft from the water and lots of people on the beach, limit the directions we can shoot. A better location is Waimanalo, see below *This location is good for both sunrise and sunset - but there are no direct sunset views!*
Waimanalo Beaches (click name to view Google Map)
There are several great beach locations in the Waimanalo area, all of which have better views and backgrounds than Lanikai Beach, and with far fewer people. Beautiful white sand beaches, crashing waves, mountains and islands in the distance. There are several great spots I love to shoot at depending on the size of the party and the time of day. *This location is good for both sunrise , mid day and sunset - but there are no direct sunset views!*
Ko Olina Resorts (click to view Goggle Map)
The Aulani Disney Resort, Ko Olina Beach Villas, Marriots Ko Olina Beach Club Resort and the gorgeous Four Seasons Resort make up the four main west side destination resorts in Ko Olina. They share a series of four man-made beach and palm tree-lined lagoons that are perfect for families, sun bathing and stunning sunsets. The lagoons are the private property of the resorts and they do not allow outside photographers on their property. However, there is a secret hidden natural lagoon tucked among them and that lagoon plus the shorelines are public property. If you are staying in the Ko Olina area, this can be a wonderful place for sunset sessions. This is easily my favorite location due to the variety of backgrounds available. *This location is good for morning, mid-day and sunset sessions.*
Off The Beaten Path Locations
For the adventurous and those seeking something a little different, there are dozens of great out of the way locations, from deserted white sand beaches with islands just off shore, to WWII hill top bunkers with coastline views, to rocky shores with crashing waves. Some require more driving time, effort and a little bit of hiking. And I seldom charge more (unless it's a long drive) - since this is fun for me too! If you like the idea of a little adventure and exploring mixed in with epic portraits, check out these off-the-beaten-path-locations ideas.