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How to do Family Photos in Hawaii (that won’t break the bank)!

How to do Family Photos in Hawaii (that won’t break the bank)!

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Planning a trip to Hawaii and want to get awesome Hawaii family photos? Keep scrolling to find out how to book family photos in Hawaii at an affordable price!
This post about affordable Hawaii family photography and how to take family photos in Hawaii was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

Planning a family vacation to Hawaii and want to capture memories that will last a lifetime?

We’ve got you covered!

My family has been booking professional photographers on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island for years.

In this guide, we’ll give you all our best tips on who to hire, where to go, and what to wear for your family photos in Hawaii.

These professional photographers have taken photos all over the Hawaiian islands and know all the best spots for your family portraits. Plus, we’ll give you tips on what to wear so everyone looks their best in the photos.

You’ll have beautiful photos of your family to hang on your walls and cherish forever. And you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that everything was taken care of by a professional photographer.

Don’t want to scroll? Click HERE for $25 off a Flytographer photoshoot!

Want a Hawaii travel guide? I’ve got detailed guides and 7-day itineraries!

Hawaii Photography FAQs

When should you schedule Hawaii family portraits?

If you want to do sunrise photos in Hawaii, it’s best to schedule that early in your trip to take advantage of the time change from the Mainland. If you are doing Hawaii sunset photos, schedule those later in your trip when you are on “island time.”

Where’s a good spot for Maui maternity photos?

Maui is a popular babymoon destination so it makes sense that people would like to do maternity photos in Maui. Choose a beach that has a public restroom, such as Baldwin Beach. It’s also helpful if it’s near a place where you can get food or drinks after taking photos.

Should you wear shoes for Hawaii beach family photos?

It’s totally up to you whether or not you’d like to wear shoes for your Hawaii beach photos. However, it’s much more comfortable to be barefoot and it looks more natural. You can always put sandals on if you are taking photos in a grassy area near the beach.

Why are Hawaii Family Photos Important?

I don’t know about you but I’m feeling like the past few years have really flown by.

My kids are growing up faster than expected and it makes me sad because soon they will no longer be my little babies or toddlers that love showing off their newest tricks for mommy’s approval on repeat 24/7!

I know we only have a few more years left before the next stage in their lives begins.

So this is my opportunity for some “me” time with them. I love getting nice photos during vacation pictures near Hawaii where families tend not only to act happy but also look beautiful doing it all together as well.

I’m a total sucker for cute coordinating outfits for our Hawaii family photos!

One of the reasons I love doing vacation photography in Hawaii is that our family tends to be in a good mood. We do lots of fun adventures, buy cool souvenirs, and basically have a lot of “yes days” for the kids.

I’d rather get photos of my family when they are at their best instead of trying to force a photoshoot at home. And there are so many amazing Hawaii family photographers to choose from at Flytographer.

Why You Should Hire a Hawaii Vacation Photographer Through Flytographer

1. SECRET INSIDER TIPS

The photographers in Hawaii are a wealth of knowledge! And I always make sure to ask them about the best restaurants, coolest playgrounds, Instagrammable spots, and more.

Plus, since they are professional photographers, they know how and where to take photos without getting random people in the background.

Image of two brothers hugging on a grassy field with a green mountain in the background.
This place was PACKED about 15 minutes before this photo was taken. Photo credit: Natalie from Flytographer

For our photoshoot on Oahu, we were at a popular location close to sunset. There were several other photographers and visitors taking their own photos. It was packed.

But, our Flytographer photographer completely bypassed that area and we did our own special route to get amazing photos. And then, we circled back to the popular spot and there were ZERO people and the lighting was absolutely perfect!

And our photographer on the Big Island gave me tons of information on the town of Waimea and we ended up doing an unexpected half-day trip there and had a blast!

2. POSING HELP

While I love taking fun photos of my kids, I’m not comfortable being in front of the camera myself.

It’s like I forget how to look “normal” and I end up doing the same things with my hands, standing the same way, and even smiling the same.

Image of a mom laughing as her two boys kiss her cheeks at the beach with a little island in the background.
I never would have thought of this pose but I LOVE the photo! Photo credit: Natalie from Flytographer

The photographers at Flytographer always know just what to do with me.

They come up with poses for us quickly so our photos look natural despite being forced into awkward positions on camera!

It wasn’t until we got back home after the first shoot that I realized how much of a difference their expert guidance made. And some of my favorite photos are when they have us do activities during the shoot so we look natural and spontaneous.

3. CAN LEAVE YOUR GEAR AT HOME

So, you say goodbye to your heavy camera equipment and instead can focus on being present for the family photo session? It doesn’t get much better than this!

You literally leave all of that mess behind when booking a family photoshoot with Flytographer.

Image of a family holding hands while wearing Aloha Wear on the beach on Kauai.
It would have been tricky to get this shot with a self-timer. Photo credit: Pru from Flytographer

Plus there’s no need in trying out different poses while using a self-timer (and having to repeat it over and over again).

Someone else does everything around here anyway. So let them take care of everything from setting up their own shots before yours come into frame. It’s a perfect way to spend time together as one big happy crew.

4. THEY ARE FUN + EASY!

The Flytographer crew always know how to make family photoshoots fun! They are able to read each family and pull engaging games and activities out of their imaginary toolbox for the best photos.

Image of a mom and dad dancing on the beach with two boys trying to make them laugh.
We did a little dance party to keep the kids entertained. Photo credit: Natalie from Flytographer

On Oahu, our photographer Natalie was a former 4th-grade teacher. So she knew exactly how to talk to our kids on their level and keep them super engaged in the photoshoot! And she played the best games with them!

On Kauai, our photographer Pru encouraged us to get a little wet in the ocean and run around chasing rainbows.

Top Oahu Photography Spots

One of the most popular places to take photos on Oahu is Kualoa Beach Park. It’s across the street from Kualoa Ranch and it provides awesome beach photo options as well as sweeping views of the mountains seen in Jurassic Park!

Waikiki Beach is another popular Oahu photography spot. It’s really convenient for families who aren’t renting a car plus you can get a mix of city and beach shots.

And it’s hard to beat North Shore Oahu. It’s usually a bit less crowded up there and there are tons of places for amazing beach photography.

Image of a family dressed in pastel colors pretending to be dinosaurs with Kualoa mountains in the background.
We loved that Kualoa Beach park had beach and mountain backdrops. Photo credit: Natalie from Flytographer

There are tons of Oahu photographers to choose from that shoot in locations across the island. Check out our Oahu photo shoot at Kualoa Beach.

Top Maui Photography Spots

One of the top Maui photography locations is Po’olenalena Beach. It’s in South Maui, so it’s close to Kihei and Wailea. It’s one of the best places to take family photos in Maui.

My personal favorite Maui photo spot is Kapalua Bay. This is in West Maui, so it’s not far from Lahaina and Ka’anapali. It’s a small cove that’s absolutely stunning at sunset.

Baldwin Beach is in North Shore Maui and it’s an unexpectantly awesome place for Maui family photos. Plus, it’s close to Paia so you can grab food or shave ice after the shoot.

Image of two little boys wearing Aloha shirts sitting on the beach in Maui
Kapalua Bay is so quiet and calm for photos. Photo credit: Marie from Flytographer

You can take your pick from any Maui family photographers that shoot in West, South, and North Shore Maui. Check out our Maui photo shoot at Kapalua Bay.

Top Kauai Photography Spots

My favorite place for family photos on Kauai is Hanalei Bay in North Shore Kauai. There’s the iconic Hanalei Pier, lush mountains, and an amazing beach. It’s truly a slice of heaven!

For families staying on the South Shore, Shipwreck Beach is a popular Kauai photography spot. It’s just a few steps away from the Grand Hyatt Kauai and it’s a gorgeous beach.

Another cool option is Moloa’a Bay. It’s a small, semi-secluded beach with really beautiful and tropical backgrounds.

Image of a family of four wearing Aloha shirts and dresses standing at Hanalei beach with a rainbow in the background.
Gotta love the rainbows on Kauai! Photo credit: Pru from Flytographer

We loved our Kauai family photographer, and there are several others to choose from. Check out our Kauai photo shoot at Hanalei Bay.

Top Big Island Photography Spots

We chose to do our Kona photoshoot at the Old Kona Airport Beach because it has a little bit of everything. There are places with grassy backdrops as well as an awesome beach with lava rocks and tidepools.

Speaking of lava rock, there are some beaches in Puako that are tucked away from crowds that have some amazing lava rocks to climb on. Plus, you can usually spot sea turtles here.

And there’s also the Pauoa Bay Beach, which is right in front of the Fairmont Orchid. This is an awesome spot where you can usually get a section of the beach to yourself.

Image of a mom wearing a white dress and a boy wearing a red shirt walking on the sand in Hawaii.
Old Kona Airport is a great Big Island photography spot! Photo credit: Amanda from Flytographer

Our Big Island Hawaii photographer was pretty fabulous! Check out the photos from our Kona Photoshoot.

How to Book Affordable Hawaii Photographers

While we’ve used a lot of different vacation photographers throughout the years, some of my most memorable experiences have been through Flytographer.

Basically, it’s a concierge vacation photography website where you can find photographers almost anywhere in the world, including Oahu. Actually, they have tons of photographers in Hawaii. Find the best prices here.

Flytographer makes it really simple to pick the perfect Hawaii family photographer. You can find out all about their photography style, secret places to take photos, and even scroll through their online portfolio before you book your shoot!

And Flytographer’s booking process is simple and quick — just pick your preferred dates with a click of a button.

They will then check availability for you so that there’s no stress involved in selecting an available date or time slot when they get back to you with more information on what works best for them!

What I love most about Flytographer is that they are FAST! We sometimes receive our photos before the end of our trip! I love looking at them on our flight home.

What to Wear for Hawaii Family Pictures

Of course, you can totally wear whatever you want for your Hawaii family photos. But, I know some people like to get ideas, so I’m listing a few options to add to your Hawaii packing list to make your photos look cohesive.

Aloha Wear

The Aloha Shirt is a timeless classic that never goes out of style. And it’s easy to find them in Hawaii. Sometimes you can even find matching dresses.

Image of a family of four wearing blue Aloha shirts and a pink Hawaiian dress at Hanalei Bay on Kauai.
We bought these items online, but you can find them all over Hawaii. Photo credit: Pru from Flytographer

There are higher-end options like Reyn Spooner, Tommy Bahama, and Manuheali’i. And you can find them at smaller boutiques too.

And don’t worry if you’re on a budget. You can find some great deals on Aloha Wear at Target, Ross, Walmart, and sometimes even Costco.

Maxi Dresses

If Hawaiian print dresses aren’t quite your thing, you can always choose a nice maxi dress.

It looks great to have some members of your family wear Hawaiian dresses or shirts while others in the pictures are wearing solid colors that coordinate well.

Another option that is similar is to go for an airy skirt. These tend to flutter with the ocean breeze and can add some dramatic movement to your photos.

Solid Colors

Aloha shirts are great but don’t stress if they’re not your style. Another popular option is to wear the same color as your other family members. Wearing all-white (or light colors) can look fabulous when contrasted to the colorful, tropical background!

You can also have each member of your family wear different shades or colors to make their clothes coordinate and be cohesive.

One of my favorite Hawaii photography outfits was when we chose a pastel rainbow vibe. Everyone wore a different color and it looked great with the ocean background and the mountain background.

Hawaiian Flower Crowns (Lei Po’o or Haku Leis)

I’m obsessed with ordering haku leis to wear for my Hawaii family photos. And I always suggest them for families looking to add another tropical element to their photos.

Image of a woman wearing a flower crown with tropical flowers while laughing with her son at Kualoa Beach Park with a little island in the background.
This is my favorite haku lei! Photo credit: Natalie from Flytographer

The Hawaiian flower crowns, also called haku lei or lei po’o, have been around for ages. But they have become super trendy since people on Instagram and other social media sites started wearing them.

There are TONS of places to order them all across Hawaii. I usually do a Google search and then check Instagram to see which ones will go with my outfit and then see if they have availability for the day of our shoot.

After your photoshoot in Hawaii, keep the flower crowns in the fridge. You’ll just need to put a wet paper towel over the top or slip it in a plastic bag so it stays fresh. That way you can get an extra few days of wear out of it (like if you’re going to a luau)!

5 Tips for Getting Awesome Hawaii Family Pictures Every Time

1. DO YOUR HAIR AND MAKEUP

I’m not saying that you need to go to a salon or anything (although you totally can). But, I am recommending that you set aside some time to focus on your hair and makeup.

While many people choose to either do light or no makeup during their beach vacation, it can make you look washed out in photos.

That’s one of the reasons I started wearing full makeup when doing professional photos in Hawaii. It’s mainly just foundation, lipstick, and mascara to brighten up my face a bit for pictures. And it’s a great way to tone down any sunburns.

You also don’t want to forget about your hair. When my kids were really little, I used to pose for photos with my hair pulled back in a ponytail or up in a bun. But, I realized that I didn’t like the photos as much.

Now, I usually add a flat iron or curling wand to my Hawaii packing list specifically to use for photoshoots. I do my hair about an hour before our photoshoot and I feel super put-together. I’m pretty obsessed with this curling wand.

But, you can totally skip the curling wand and just wear your hair in a bun during the day. Then, simply let it down before your photoshoot. Usually, you’ll get effortless beachy waves that will add some movement to your hair.

2. WATCH POSING VIDEOS

If you’re as awkward in front of the camera as I am, it never hurts to learn a few tricks when it comes to posing.

That way, you’ll have a few solid “go-to” poses you can whip out when you need to change things up.

One of my friends suggested watching posing videos on YouTube to help us figure out an easy pose that still looks natural yet confident!

This is one of my favorite posing videos because it breaks down a few easy poses that anyone can do.

Watching how to pose videos has helped me figure out what to do with my hands, where to look, and how many ways there are for flattering your body.

Not only that but you can get ideas on how to interact with your kids on camera so it looks carefree.

3. GET PHOTOS WITH YOUR PARTNER

It’s super easy to end up with a TON of photos of your whole family or just the kids. It’s much rarer to get photos with just your partner. That’s because a lot of families simply forget to ask.

Image of a man and woman posing on a grassy field with Kualoa Mountains in the background.
Don’t forget to ask for romantic photos in Hawaii! Photo credit: Natalie from Flytographer

So, now I’ve made it a point to let our Hawaii photographers know that I want to make sure to get a few shots of just me and my husband. These usually end up being some of my favorite photos.

And when you think about it, this might be your best chance of getting any decent photos with your partner during your entire trip.

4. COME UP WITH A SHOT LIST

One of the most important things that you can do for your Hawaii photographer is to make it clear about what you envision for the shoot. This includes the photography style and family combinations.

Image of grandparents with 7 grandkids at a Maui beach
We loved getting a photo of grandparents and grandkids together (it rarely happens)! Photo credit: Marie from Flytographer

I’ve found it really helpful, especially when doing multi-generational vacations, to think about any combinations you want to make sure happen. That’s how we’ve gotten photos of all the grandkids together as well as one with grandkids and grandparents.

You’ll also want to think about your photo location and if you’re picturing something specific (like splashing in the waves or getting shots with the mountain).

If you’re a visual person, it can help to scroll Instagram and create a folder of your favorite photos of OTHER families so your photographer can help you replicate some of the ideas.

5. USE PROPS

One last tip for getting the best Hawaii family photos is to include props.

Kids tend to relax a bit when they are holding something or doing an activity. It helps avoid the awkward “cheese” face so many kids pull as they get older. Plus, it’s a way they can put their own spin on the photos.

Some ideas include ukuleles, surfboards, fresh flower leis (which you can make yourself), beach balls, or a cool souvenir they picked up on the trip.

Image of a boy wearing a red shirt holding a lava rock on a beach in Hawaii.
My son insisted on holding “rocky” during part of our photography session on the Big Island. Photo credit: Amanda from Flytographer

My son found a pet rock in Kona that was featured in some of our shoots. We had kukui nut leis on Oahu.

Oh, and food always works!

Usually, we bribe our kids with a special treat at the end of the photoshoots. And we give it to them right at the end.

You could do ice cream cones, shave ice, popsicles, fancy drinks, etc depending on where you are taking photos. These make up some of my favorite photos of my kids!

Hawaii Family Photography Wrap-Up

Get your Hawaii family photos taken by one of the best photographers in the islands.

Check out our list of recommended photographers in Hawaii and book a shoot with them today!

Plus, I’ve also come up with some Hawaii Instagram caption ideas or cute Hawaii quotes you can use when posting your photos on social media.

Remember to wear colors that pop so you can have an awesome photo session in Hawaii. Make sure to follow these tips for getting perfect pictures, too!

Now get ready for some fun in paradise – it’s time to start looking at those cute kiddos again and plan how they’ll look when they’re standing next to that iconic Hawaiian landmark or lagoon.

Check out these awesome Hawaii family photographers! Click HERE for $25 off a Flytographer photoshoot!

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