michele + josh | botanical gardens | oahu lifestyle photographer

You know that couple that you can just tell that they’re best friends and they’ve been through so much together and they’re so in love and the way they look at each other makes you melt and also they just happen to be really, really good looking? Yeah, their names are Michele and Joshua and I had the honor of shooting them.

They met 8 years ago and are now going on their 5th year of marriage and I am so glad that they were the ones who won my giveaway because LOOK AT THEM. I can’t even begin to tell you how good their modeling is. Michele was almost directing the shoot herself all while smiling and like… I couldn’t have asked for an easier time. The original date we scheduled for the shoot was storming so we had to reschedule. The day of the actual shoot, it was hot and humid and we were all sweating but they still killed it.

Also, random fact for all of you: if there’s anyone in the world who knows how to change from one outfit to another without flashing everyone in public, it’s a hula dancer. We train for that ish.

coen + family | botanical gardens | oahu lifestyle photographer

Heeeeeeee’s baaaaaack. The boy, the myth, the legend: Coen. And he’s got words to say. My favorite is, “Whaaaaat?” The terrible twos are coming up for this kid so we had to capture what’s left of his one-ness. Erin (his mom) booked me for a shoot to get some photos of him with her sister and her parents and oh. my. gosh. They’re the cutest. It’s absolutely no secret that I love greenery but go ahead and throw in a cute kid with dimples and his family that he adores (and the promise of ice cream), you’ve got yourself a recipe for some great photos. So without further ado, here’s Coen.

janelle + bryson | kahana bay engagement | oahu lifestyle photographer

Let me start by just telling you all that the day we shot these photos, a big-hurricane-strength-windy-storm was about to hit Hawai’i. No big deal, but they forecasted 60 foot waves or whatever and it was cold. as. heck (for Hawai’i). Keep this in mind as you scroll through these photos and see Janelle’s hair blowing in the wind, the sun hitting the ocean and mountains and the two of them in the water. Everything was freezing. The sand, the water, the wind. Everything. And yet, they look perfect and happy and in love.

If you recognize these faces, it’s because they were the very first couple that I shot going into this business last year. Ever since then, I had been anticipating shooting their actual engagement photos. So here they are in all their glory!

krystal + cody | koko crater | oahu lifestyle photographer

The last time I had been to Koko Crater, it was lush and full of plumeria and bougainvillea. It was also raining a lot but I had to get some photos done for friends who were graduating a week or so later. Most people go for the cactus garden, but there are so many plants if you’re willing to walk around and scope out the place. Unfortunately for us, the garden was pretty barren. The plumeria trees had little to no flowers and reminded me of the elephant graveyard in the Lion King. But these things, as much as they make great backdrops for photos, are not needed.

I’ve known Krystal and Cody for about 10 years now and I’m really starting to feel my age thinking about how young they were when we met. They’ve been together for 6-7 of those years and it’s really incredible to me that they’re fighting through together. Life is messy and people change, so being in a long-term relationship — especially through high school — is not an easy thing to do.

Something I absolutely love about them both as a couple and as individuals is that they’re so musically talented. Krystal, along with a couple of her friends formed a Hawaiian music band (Ke’olu) and they’ve been killing it. But Cody and Krystal will sometimes post videos of them playing music together and like… literal tingles down the spine. I’m so grateful to have been able to shoot with them, especially since a photoshoot is basically a workout and Cody just got his appendix removed.

Juliana + Brad | Bellows Beach Engagement | Oahu Lifestyle Photographer

There’s nothing I can really say to express how much I loved this shoot. When you pretty much have an entire beach to yourself and the sunrise is amazing, can you really complain? I admit, I’m absolutely, 100% not a morning person. Nor am I really a night person. I’m more of a the-more-sleep-the-better type of person. But waking up for a shoot like this is absolutely worth it.

Juliana is the kind of coworker everyone wants to have, and I was lucky to have her as one for a short period of time. She made work fun. Even while I worked in the office and had to turn on my more intellectual vocabulary, I’d still get emails from her addressed to “My BFF”. So of course when she and Brad got engaged and she reached out to me for photos, I was more than happy to do it. Since Brad is in the military, we got to shoot at Bellows Beach when it was closed to the public. In my 27 years of living here, I have never been there. How.

Of course, like a lot of couples do, they started by telling me how awkward they are in front of the camera and I was like, “Girl. I got you.” Needless to say, we had fun, got some great photos and that has nothing to do with me and absolutely everything to do with how much these two love each other.

Worrell Family | SALT Kaka'ako Family Portraits | Oahu Lifestyle Photographer

I’ve probably taken more photos of Coen than anything or anyone else in my entire life. He’s only a year old but boy, does he know what to do in front of a camera. It also helps that he’s just adorable to begin with. It pains me to watch him grow since I’ve known him since he was born and have babysat him on numerous occasions, but that’s just what kids do. Break your heart. Haha. Anyway, Erin has been one of my sister’s best friends for yeeeears so I was more than happy to be taking her family photos for their Christmas cards this year. It was such a gloomy day, but we managed to get some great shots around Salt in Kaka’ako.

Kayla + Ruben | Kahala Beach Engagement | Oahu Lifestyle Photographer

Can we all just agree that couples who are actually best friends make it sooo easy to shoot? I’ve known Kayla since middle school and had the privilege to get her family photos done when her son was just 6 months old! Camden is three now, and I’m forever in shock of how quickly kids grow up. Anyway, Kayla and Ruben got engaged and are getting married soon in Vegas so we did a quick engagement/lifestyle shoot in celebration! I love the love these two share with each other, that you can literally just feel through their smiles.

Janelle + Bryson | Tantalus Engagement | Oahu Lifestyle Photographer

At my previous job before deciding to do photography full-time, Janelle was one of the first people I met. Though I didn’t remember meeting her when she said hi to me about a week later, we formed a pretty good friendship while we could. She was the visual merchandiser and I was the social media manager, so the both of us were bouncing around the different stores and hardly got to see much of each other. But when we did, it was always such a good time working together.

Bryson proposed to Janelle at Aulani after graduating and I was SO. EXCITED. Though they won’t be getting married for a while, we decided to get some couple photos (not their official engagement photos) and they turned out amazing!

EmmaLee | Queen Emma Park Baby Portraits | Oahu Lifestyle Photographer

Last week, I had the privilege of getting some shots of sweet little Emma. This girl is the literal cutest. Lashes, dimples, curls. The whole package. It was also so fun getting to catch up with her mom and grandma (who I’ve known for about 10 years now, whoa) and play with Emma a bit. It had rained the night before and the location we were going to shoot at was pretty muddy, but we made it work! I loooove taking photos of babies because you really get to see their personalities unfold before your eyes as they grow more comfortable with you being there and they’re just natural models.


Coen | Queen Emma Park Cake Smash | Oahu Lifestyle Photographer

I cannot believe this kid is turning one already! His mom, Erin, has been one of my sister’s best friends since I was in middle school. So it’s safe to say she’s pretty much my adopted sister. I took her engagement photos back when I really had no idea what I was doing with my camera. My sister and I danced hula at her wedding. When I found out she was pregnant, I was so so so incredibly happy and excited to be an aunty and have a child to spoil. Coen was one of those infants that didn’t look like an alien when he was fresh out the womb. Literally the cutest thing from the very beginning and it’s so painful but so fun to watch him grow. Every chance I get to babysit this kid, I take it and turn it into a mini photoshoot. But this time, we had a legitimate reason to have a real shoot. These cake smash photos get me smiling every time I look at them!