Are you planning a trip to Oahu and want to get some awesome vacation photos? Keep scrolling for my top tips for taking the perfect family photos on Oahu!
This post about taking the best family photos on Oahu 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.
When you are planning your Oahu vacation, I’m sure you’ve thought about the best beaches, attractions, activities, and restaurants you want to experience on your Hawaiian vacation.
And you may be driving around the North Shore, Waikiki, Honolulu and all over the island.
So, why would you stop all your fun to do Hawaii family photography on Oahu? Here’s why:
Why is Doing a Family Photo Shoot in Hawaii a Smart Idea?
IT WILL SAVE YOU TIME
Is it hard for your family to have dinner where everyone is home? Between work, school, activities, and other commitments, it can be nearly impossible to schedule family photos.
And it will cost you hours of time trying to schedule something.
That’s why it’s so much easier to schedule one on vacation. The lighting is best in early morning and at sunset, so it won’t interrupt your Hawaiian activities.
So, when you are planning fun things to do in Oahu, make sure a Hawaiian family photo shoot is part of your itinerary!
YOU WILL LOOK RELAXED
Imagine you are on day three of your Hawaiian vacation. You have finally let the stress melt away and you are in full-blown vacation mode.
And your kids have adjusted to the time difference and are having the best family vacation ever.
Now’s the time to take advantage of good spirits! Your carefree attitude will shine through your photos.
Do you stress out about your Christmas cards in November or December? Do you settle for an iPhone selfie and race to print your holiday cards in time?
I live in Seattle and I’m always worried that we’re going to be cold in our photos, so I have to figure out how many layers we can wear without us looking too bulky.
Wouldn’t it be nice to already have your holiday card photo ready to go? Heck, you could even print your holiday cards before Halloween and really be ahead of the game!
Don’t have time to read a bunch of Hawaii blog posts and reviews? Here are some of our top picks for visiting Oahu.
Popular Oahu Tours/Activities
- Kualoa Ranch UTV Tour (this is a fun adventure with the prettiest views)
- Full Pearl Harbor Tour (this is the BEST way to do everything at Pearl Harbor)
- Hawaii Bucket List Tour (you get to pick where you stop on this custom Oahu circle island tour)
- Toa Luau (this is my all-time favorite Oahu luau)
- CLIMB Works Ziplining (this is the longest zipline on Oahu)
- Book a Photo Shoot (this is a Hawaii souvenir you’ll treasure forever)
Favorite Oahu Resorts/Hotels
Want a Hawaii travel guide? I’ve got detailed guides and 7-day itineraries!
Choosing an Oahu Family Photographer
Have I sold you on the idea yet? If so, your next step is finding a family photographer in Hawaii.
Think about where you are staying and where you will be visiting and then find a photographer in those areas. Some Honolulu photographers will travel, depending on location.
The traditional route is to search for an Oahu photographer on Google. This is where you’ll find really established photographers with nice websites.
I like to scroll through their online galleries and see how they photograph children. Do the photos look serious, are they candid, super posed, etc?
Then, I read the testimonials to see what clients thought of the experience.
Instagram is THE place to find up-and-coming photographers on Oahu who might not have a website. It’s basically a visual search engine.
Search #oahuphotographer and see what style of photography you like. You can also find established Oahu photographers.
I’m a fan of bright and airy, so it was really easy to connect with Aloha Sunshine Photography.
Hawaii Family Photography Tips
CHOOSING A LOCATION
My biggest tip for getting your ideal family photo in Hawaii is to think about your family. Are you beach bums that love the ocean? Are you thrill seekers that go on adventures on Oahu? Do you like scenic spots, food trucks, shopping?
Let that guide you in choosing your Oahu photo location. You want your photos to represent your family!
PHOTO TIPS FOR KIDS
Are you sick of your kids pulling their “cheese” face? Do you wish you’d get their real smile? Here are a few of my tips for getting better photos with kids:
- Let them shop for their clothes. Kids don’t always have a lot of say in their lives, so they get very excited when they get to make a decision. Come up with your color scheme and then give your kids a few wardrobe options. I took my kids to the Aloha Swap Meet and let my 4 year old choose his favorite blue Aloha shirt. He was excited to wear it for the Oahu photography session!
- Encourage them to be themselves. My son insisted on wearing his wristbands from Aulani Resort for this photo shoot. I tried to get him to take them off because I thought the colors would be distracting. Then, I took a step back and asked him why he wanted to wear them. It turns out, the wristbands reminded him how much fun he had floating in the lazy river and he never wanted to forget it. So, the wristbands stayed on and he was happy!
- Bring a prop. While we were getting dressed for this Oahu photo session, my son found a haku lei he loved. It was too big for him to wear on his head, so he wore it like a traditional lei. It gave him something to hold in his fidgety hands. We also brought sand toys and toy trucks.
- Play a game. If things are feeling a bit too posed or unnatural, stop! Let your kids throw sand, or play tag, or jump in the air, or do whatever they like to do. They will genuinely smile and laugh and your photos will come alive!
What to Wear in Hawaii
Once you have found your photographer, booked a photo shoot at your dream location, don’t forget to plan your outfits.
Now, you don’t need to all wear the same Hawaiian print clothes or even the same color. You can have a lot of fun with it!
When you’re looking for the best shopping in Honolulu, Ala Moana is the place to be. Ala Moana is the largest outdoor shopping center in the world.
Not only can you find department stores like Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, and Macy’s, but they also have local boutiques.
Some of my favorite places at Ala Moana to find tropical clothing for Hawaiian photo shoots include: Reyn Spooner, Tori Richard, Lani Beach by Mireille, and Planet Blue.
ALOHA SWAP MEET
The Aloha Swap Meet is the best shopping near Honolulu. This is my favorite place to find Aloha shirts for boys and Hawaiian dresses for girls because it’s inexpensive.
I usually get Aloha shirts with shorts for $9. The trick is to visit a few stalls and see what you like. Personally, I don’t like the boys to wear matching Aloha shirts, so I like to choose ones in complimentary colors.
The Aloha Swap Meet is also a great place to find inexpensive men’s Aloha shirts, flower hair accessories, and photo props.
If there’s one thing you need to get for your Hawaiian photo session, it’s a haku lei. It’s seriously THE trendiest thing right now. Go check Instagram.
Are you wondering where to find a haku lei on Oahu? In Honolulu, there’s Cindy’s Lei Shoppe and Oahu Boutique Weddings. And on the North Shore, there’s Haku where you can buy a pre-made haku or learn how to make your own haku lei.
If you get one earlier in your trip, you can wear it for a luau or out to dinner at a nice restaurant. Keep it in your fridge to make it last longer. And spray it with hairspray if you want it to last even longer!
My mom is a wedding officiant on Kauai and I’m a professional hula dancer, so we have lots and lots of artificial haku leis. The ones we’re wearing in this photo shoot are fake. My son is even wearing a haku lei around his neck.
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Hawaii Instagram Captions
Once you get your photos back, you’ll probably want to share them on social media. If you aren’t sure what kind of Hawaii Instagram caption to use, check out these awesome sea quotes that will set the mood.
It’s an easy way to caption photos of Hawaii!
Don’t Forget to PRINT Your Photos
Now that you have all these amazing family photos of your Hawaiian vacation, don’t let them sit on your computer!
Yes, you can use one as your background photo and add them to your phone so you can show people. And post them on social media. But, don’t let it stop there.
Take the time to print a few of your favorites to hang in your home or office. I recommend choosing a professional print lab through your photographer so you can maintain the quality and color of the images.
I also like to print photo books of our favorite vacations. My kids love seeing themselves in the books and ask me lots of questions about our trips. It’s a great way to relive your trip even years later.
ALOHA SUNSHINE PHOTOGRAPHY
Thank you so much to Aloha Sunshine Photography for collaborating with me on this post. Oahu has so many wonderful photographers, but it’s important to find one that is a registered business.
Shannon of Aloha Sunshine Photography is very familiar with Oahu and knows where to safely hold a session. She specializes in family, kid, maternity, couples and mermaid photo shoots. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook.
Family Guide to Oahu with Kids
Toa Luau is Oahu’s Newest Family-Friendly Luau
Polynesian Cultural Center Offers Family Activities on Oahu
Aulani Tips to Maximize 2 Nights at Disney Aulani Resort in Hawaii
Is the Disney Aulani Character Breakfast on Oahu Worth the Price?
How to Maximize the Disney Aulani PhotoPass Service
Oahu Travel Hacks + Budget Tips for Families