Wedding Bells for the Covells | Sydney & James Covell

Waialua is a truly beautiful part of the island, with long untouched sandy beaches backed by stunning sunsets in the high-reaching mountains. Most weddings, I sit down ahead of time with the bride and groom to discuss great locations where we would want to have some photos taken. But with a wedding at the Hawaiʻi Polo Club, we didn't have to travel too far to find great locations for beautiful wedding photos. 

Both Sydney and James were so easy going. It is easy to see how much they truly love each other. I love it when you don't have to pose somebody and they natural beauty shines through in every photo. Congratulations Sydney and James!

October 14, 2017

LOCATION: Hawaiʻi Polo Club, Mokulēʻia

23 Must Have Wedding Shots

You will probably spend many hours deciding on every detail of your wedding day. Take your time to prepare everything as your wedding day will come and go so quickly. You will not want to miss a single moment, and that is where a photographer's shot list is very important. Photography is a creative process, and as much as we will guide you through your wedding day to capture each great moment, it is also very important to discuss exactly what you want. You will want these memories to last for many years to come.

So follow us as we walk through one of our recent weddings from 2017 and go over a short list of our must have wedding shots.

1. The Ring

2. Details

3.  Bouquet

4. The Dress

5. Glam Squad

6. Bridal Portrait

7. The Bridal Party

8. First Look

9. Ceremony Views

10. Ceremony Details

11. Exchanging Vows

12. The Kiss

13. A Secluded Moment

14. Favors

15. Escort Cards

16. Table Settings

17. Decorations

18. The Venue

19. First Dance

20. The Cake

21. The Party

22. Four-legged Guests

23. Food

Fitzpatrick Family Session

Kokololio Beach, Laʻie


It was a little over a decade ago the last time that the Fitzpatrick Family were all together in Hawaiʻi. And why not mark this momentous family vacation with some photos including a flashback photo from the last family Hawaiian vacation. You gotta love their 90s throwback wardrobe change.

Family Photo Sessions on Kauaʻi


So I had this crazy idea to island hop and capture a few family portraits on Kauaʻi. One of my good friends lives on Kauaʻi and I was told that a few families she knew would really love the opportunity to have some professional photos taken. Hop on a plane, arrive in Līhuʻe in the morning, meet up with five different families, jump back on a plane back to Honolulu in time for dinner. 

In addition to meeting a lot of new people, it was a lot of fun challenging myself by taking photos in completely foreign locations. Many of the spots we had selected to photograph at I had never visited. I am so glad that I ended up traveling for the day and I know it won't be the last time I visit Kauaʻi for some family photos.

Stolan Maternity Photo Session

Kahanamoku Beach, Waikiki


Maternity photo sessions are a lot of fun, especially when the couple brings along cute little baby items as props for their photos. Tiny little slippers, tiny little hats. It's just exciting knowing that in a few months there will be a little human adding to their family.

These world travelers from Southern California wanted to incorporate their passports along with a little baby passport and a tiny pair of Rainbow Sandals. Toss in a beautiful sunset and the entire shoot was perfect.

Hair and Makeup: Tips & Recommendations

Hair and makeup is easily a standard with every wedding. Every bride will opt to have her hair and makeup done whether with a professional or by a savvy friend. We get it, wedding photos are very important so you want to look your best. But why does it stop there? Wouldn't you want to look your best in every other photo you have professionally taken?

That is why we now offer hair and makeup with everyone of our portrait sessions. We have worked with Allison and her team at Reveal Hair and Makeup a few times in the past and were impressed by their professionalism and quality of work. So I asked Allison to offer some advice to anyone who may be interested in hair and makeup services prior to their photo session with us.

What services does Reveal Hair and Makeup offer for photo shoots and portrait sessions?

We offer hair styling and makeup application to enhance your natural beauty and have you photo ready. Although our styles last we are able to stay on set for touch-ups at an hourly rate.  This is highly suggested for windy days, long shoots or shoots with wardrobe changes.  

Why should I consider hair and makeup for a photo session? Isn't it just for something fancier like a wedding?

It is likely that any photos you have professionally done you plan to keep them forever.  In our busy world we often don't take time to get ourselves ready. Having hair and makeup or even one or the other can be relaxing knowing someone else will make sure you look amazing!  For our photo shoot makeup and hair we focus on a more polished you.  

What can I expect from my hair and makeup session with Reveal HM?

We will arrive a few minutes early to set up. We then will go through ideas, style and wardrobe.  As we get an idea of your look and desires we will begin makeup and hair. You can expect to spend about an hour and a half with us.  We are very prepared with styling tools and cosmetics that work well in humid and warm days, perfect for Hawaiʻi.  

How should I prepare for my hair and makeup session?

Gather ideas of the vibe you love! Have your hair clean and air dried. Your face clean as well.  We suggest exfoliating a day before to create an nice clean surface for makeup.  Wear a top easy to remove. Preferably not over your head.  

Finally, do you offer hair and makeup for children, and would you recommend it for children?

We love getting the kids all dolled up for shoots. It is not entirely necessary but so worth it to have your child prepped and ready for shooting.  We just polish the children up where they need it most   Typically to do hair and makeup on a child it takes about 30 minutes. 

Allison has been working in the beauty industry for over 15 years. She is trained and licensed as a hair stylist and has been mentored by a number of celebrity stylists. Allison and her team continuously work to hone their skills to keep up with new trends. To learn more about Allison and her team, visit or inquire about her hair and makeup services upon booking your next photo session with us.


Demand Family Photo Session

Kapiʻolani Park, Waikiki


I have to admit that I have a few favorite outdoor locations for photo sessions. At the top of the list is Kapiʻolani Park in Waikiki, specifically the Dillingham Fountain on the Diamond Head side of the park. The iconic water fountain is beautiful and the surrounding area has these gorgeous trees. My favorite wind-swept tree arches across a lone bench creating both a romantic and almost magical space. Check out these past photo sessions for shots with this tree (Hong & Warnock, Silva).

This was the reason we had set Kapiʻolani Park as the location for our family friends, the Demands. However upon arrival to the photo session, we had noticed that the entire tree had been cut down, leaving behind two stone pillars (which were built to support the "falling" tree). Let's just say that we made the best of it and ended on the Waikiki end of the park feeding ducks. The photos turned out great and everyone was happy, but a part of me inside still mourns for this lost tree.

I hope you enjoy these photos, and if you are still looking to get your family photos taken, let's connect. Tis the season for family photos.

Shattuck Family Photo Sesssion

Hoʻomaluhia Botanical Gardens, KAneʻohe


I'm not familiar with many places in Hawaiʻi yet alone the country where you can walk through a beautiful tropical garden alongside a pristine lake, turn around and take in breath-taking views of staggering cliffs and mountainsides. But I think the best part of taking family photos at the Hoʻomaluhia Botanical Gardens are the ducks that can be found at the lake.

Did I ever mention that I love ducks? Not only are the fun to watch and I've secretly always wanted one as a pet, they are the best subjects to capture any child's attention. What child doesn't like feeding ducks? Pro Tip of the day, take family photos near duck ponds, you can easily capture great smiles from the children and then crop the ducks out during editing. And if not, they can add to your composition as foreground elements.

Enough about ducks. Working with this beautiful family was a lot of fun. Their little girls were so much fun to work with. The eldest daughter had a mind of her own and was always out in front posing for all the photos. The youngest daughter, while reserve and a bit shy at first, opened up and once she cracked her first smile, it was the most beautiful smile I ever saw.

Kim's Maternity Photo Session

Ala Wai Boat Harbor, Waikiki


This shoot was especially exciting to work on, not only because the couple was so much fun to be with, but because it was the first time that we collaborated with Reveal Hair and Makeup. When we initially scheduled Kim's maternity photo session she had inquired on the possibility of finding a hair and makeup artist to help her prepare for her photo shoot. I have worked with Allison and her team with Reveal Hair and Makeup in the past and was confident that they could provide Kim exactly what she was looking for.

We were all very pleased with the outcome and I will always recommend hair and makeup service before your photo shoot. Why not look your best for your photo session.

Little Man's First Birthday

Its been twelve months since this little man was born, so we celebrated with all of his favorite things in a camping themed birthday party. We decided to keep it simple, but definitely went hunting through the endless amounts of inspiration on Pinterest. Camping is one of our favorite family past-times, and why not, the weather in Hawaiʻi is beautiful almost year-round.

I hope you enjoy the photos.

Camping themed smash-cake with a candles arranged as a campfire. And the delicious campfire themed cupcakes were custom baked by Sarah Pruett with Little Bites of Heaven

Chili bar with self-serve condiments including bacon bits, sliced jalapenos, chives, sour cream, shredded cheese, Corn Nuts, and Fritos.

Documenting every month was a challenge, but so awesome to see side-by-side.

Happy Birthday Baby Samuel - you are not a little baby anymore. Welcome to the new world of a toddler!

Cupcakes: Little Bites of Heaven / One Year T-shirt: Jade and Paiige / Custom Lantern: Rustik Creations

Waddell Family Photo Session

North Beach (Mokapu), KAneʻohe


Four generations of the Waddell Family spent their family vacation at Kāneʻohe MCBH located on Mokapu Penninsula. This area of Oʻahu is particularly beautiful because of its location a few miles out into Kāneʻohe Bay. The beaches are pristine and the Koʻolau Mountains create a gorgeous backdrop for any photo shoot. The only downside is the access to this beautiful beach as it is restricted to military personnel. Lucky for the Waddell Family we were able to grab some great family photos there.

Hong and Warnock Family Photoshoot

Kapiʻolani Park, Waikiki



Chris and Petra are great friends and have been ever since studying together in Australia. Years later, both have families of their own. With Petra now living in Canada, they both decided to vacation together in Hawaiʻi. A perfect family vacation destination halfway between Australia and Canada.

So we decided to get some family photos at the beautiful Kapiʻolani Park in Waikiki. The gorgeous trees and Dillingham Fountain made for a fun and playful location for the little ones. Photographing little ones can be a challenge at times, but when we can have fun, I think it is the most enjoyable part of being a photographer.

Portrait Sessions and What to Wear

You booked a portrait photo session, maybe its with your family, or maybe you are looking to freshen up your professional headshots. But here comes the next big question - what should I wear?

As a photographer, I want to you to not only look your best for your photos, I want you to feel your best. This is not meant to be a rulebook for clothing styles and options, just a few guidelines you can use as a starting point when you are hung on what to wear.

Flattering Clothing Styles

Not that all fashion magazines know what they are talking about, but it is worth doing a little research on general body shapes. What styles of clothing would be the most flattering for specific body shapes - for women and men both. Put in the effort, and dress accordingly. Stick to something that fits your body shape, anything hanging off your body will make you look bigger than you are (who wants to look bigger than you really are?). You will feel so much better knowing you look good in the style of clothes you picked out.

Coordinate with your Group

When deciding on a color choice, think about the rest of your group. You want to look good together without looking too identical. Manuhealiʻi family prints may look great for that family luʻau, but not so much for your family photos. You don't have to be wearing the same colors, just coordinate them so they fall within the same family of colors (EXAMPLE: dark blues, light blues and maybe teal for some added fun)

Styles of your overall outfit should also coordinate within your group. If she is wearing a nice dress, then maybe a button-down and pants for him. If she is wearing jeans and a pair of boots, then something a little more casual for him would work. But no, t-shirt and shorts should never be an option, remember you want to look your best.

Don't overdo it with patterns or bold colors. Sometimes too many patterns in a group can make a photo look too busy. There can be a great happy balance between solid colors and patterns. If you have any questions just let your photographer know.

Consider Your Location

Think about where you will be having your photo session. Are you looking to have your family photos taken on the beach? Look for more casual styles but remember that 80% of your background will be blue. A button-down shirt and rolled-up slacks look great on men, and a summer dress is always a good way to go for women. Are you going to be having photos taken in a city or urban setting? A more dressed-up wardrobe would look stunning - think layers.

Things Not to Wear

Again this not a list of rules, but merely recommendations:

  • Bright white matching shirts and jeans, this isn't the 90s
  • Tops with big logos, stay classy.
  • Shirts with short hemlines and mid-drifts, again stay classy.
  • Super short skirts. Some photos look a lot better with seated family arrangements, need I say more.
  • Exact matching outfits, look coordinated, not matching.

Hair and Makeup

Are you having your hair and makeup done for your wedding?  Then why wouldn’t you want to get it done for your engagement session? What about your family photos, don't you want to look your best.

Hiring a hair and makeup artist will add that little extra to your photo session and allow you to feel your best. From a natural look with a simple blowout to full makeup, lashes and an updo, a professional hair and makeup artist will know what photographs well and how to make you look your best. Just let us know if you are interested in hair and makeup for your upcoming photo session and we will be more than happy to arrange something with one of our favorite hair and makeup artists.

To sum it up, just be you. Let your personality shine. Look your best and you will feel your best. 

ʻEwa Sunsets | Clyde Jeana Engagement

I think our original plan was to find parking at Ko Olina near Paradise Cove for some beautiful beach photos during sunset. Often times the best photos are found when we deviate from a set plan - so when Paradise Cove didn't work out we weren't too disappointed. The short walk around the corner took us to a little more secluded area, Milo Cove. The intimate setting was a perfect for an engagement shoot.

What made the entire session perfect was the sunset. Vog has a way of creating the most beautiful sunsets and this humid, still day did not disappoint. Just see for yourself. 

October 1, 2017

LOCATION: Milo Cove, Honouliuli

Cheng Maternity Photoshoot

Ala Moana Beach Park, Honolulu



I had the opportunity to meet up with this beautiful couple while they were on their baby moon vacation here in Hawaiʻi. We definitely wanted to take advantage of their trip to Hawaiʻi and capture some great photos of the two of them, especially her growing baby bump. The evening was gorgeous and created a beautiful backdrop for amazing photos of this couple.

When To Send Out Christmas Cards?

Now before you ridicule me for bringing up a Christmas topic over a month before Halloween, hear me out.

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When Should You Mail Out Your Christmas Cards?

Let's say you want to send out Christmas cards this year to show off a new addition to your family. You want your friends and family to have enough time to enjoy your awesome Christmas card before the holiday frenzy begins. Should be simple, right?

2-3 weeks before Christmas should give you enough time so that they are not too early or too late. Be sure to finalize your mailing list to avoid any confusion when stuffing envelopes.

When Should You Order Your Christmas Cards?

Now that you know you want to mail out your Christmas Cards in the first week of December, how soon in advance should you order them - assuming you are using an online printing service for convenience.

If you want to avoid rush shipping costs and potential delays, give yourself 2-4 weeks to order your Christmas cards. Remember we are living in Hawaiʻi (if you are reading this from the Aloha State) so shipping costs will be a little higher and time-frames will be a little longer. To be safe let's plan to order our Christmas cards in the first week of November. 

What About That Family Photo?

You could thumb through your phone's photo gallery for the one photo where everyone is in it, the kids are all smiling, and your arm is not blocking half of the foreground. I have done this before and I swear finding Waldo was so much easier.


What about getting that family photo taken professionally

Find that perfect spot with everyone dressed appropriately and voila - a beautiful photo you can be proud to share with your family. But how soon should you schedule your next family photoshoot now that we know we want to have the finished photo ready to print by the first week of November. Photographs are usually ready for you within the week of your photoshoot session. You will want to give yourself time to choose the best photo and prep your Christmas card design. So it looks like October is the best month to schedule your next family photo session.

Now talking about family Christmas photos in September and October doesn't seem to weird. Wow that crept up on us rather quickly.

To Summarize

Send out your Christmas cards in the first week of December - 2-3 weeks before Christmas

Order your Christmas cards in the first week of November - 2-4 weeks before you want to mail them

Schedule your Family Christmas photo session in the month of October

If you follow the tips above, you can reduce some of the stress that comes along with sending your Christmas cards and move on to your next holiday season project with ease. So let's schedule your next family photo session. You can find more details on our family portrait offerings, here or if you are ready to go, book your next session with us now.

Happy Holidays (that did seem a bit weird to type in September)

Photographers, Can You have Too Many?

When meeting with couples, I am often asked if it is necessary to include a "second shooter" or additional cameramen. I understand their motives when asking this question - the cost of a wedding is getting more and more expensive these days. So I wanted to explore the benefits to having a second photographer and any upsides to maybe skipping on one.

"I'm getting ready at two locations"

You will want to get pictures of everyone getting ready, and one photographer can only be in one location at a time. Odds are you are going to miss something. With two photographers, you can ensure that a camera is there to capture all the details.

"We are expecting over 200 guests"

Well in this case wouldn't an extra photographer help you capture all of your guests. Actually, when was the last time you looked through wedding photos from a friend's wedding and saw a picture of every guest in attendance.

"We are not going to see each other until I am walking down the aisle at our wedding ceremony"

The first time you see each other on your wedding day is an important moment. You'll want to have photos of your walking down the aisle, the look of anticipation on your face, the joy in your eyes. You may also want to have photos of your fiance as you are walking down the aisle, his reaction and all the emotions on his face. In every moment of your wedding day, many things are happening simultaneously and you will not want to miss any of it.

There are many occasions when a second shooter will be very important. But if budget is the primary reason you are looking to cut out the second shooter, then maybe consider reassessing your wedding photography needs. Some brides have opted to "hack" their wedding day by combining key moments so that they get away with one photographer. Other brides have planned their entire wedding reception around the fact that they are paying for only 6 hours of photography coverage.

In our opinion, a second photographer is very important. If budget is an issue, then there are other ways that we can work within your budget and timeline of your dream wedding to ensure that we capture every moment. 

Choosing the Right Photographer, part 3


Most wedding photography contracts will stipulate who owns the rights to the photographs. In most cases, the wedding photographer owns the full rights to all of the photographs and will be able to produce any prints and albums you want. This means that any images you also share digitally fall under this policy. In some cases you will only be able to share watermarked images or with proper credits. You will need to negotiate a release of rights for your photographs if you will want to print them on your own or through another source. 


After your wedding date, you will want to see the photographs immediately. Bear in mind that it usually takes a month to get all of your proofs back. There are a lot of images and most wedding photographers will spend up to 40 hours a wedding editing, color correcting and making any necessary adjustments. Depending on how busy your photographer is, this process might take longer than others.

Be sure to discuss with your wedding photographer how you will receive your photographs after the wedding. How many images should you expect? Will they be edited proofs? Will you be able to share them through social media? Who will retain the rights to the photographs? How long will it take for prints and albums to be made? Figuring out these details before the wedding will allow your wedding photographer to work smoothly and efficiently, and in the end will get you your beloved wedding photographs sooner. 

Choosing the Right Photographer, part 2


You may have heard it before, and there is truth to this piece of advice, ask to see a full wedding album.

Your decision to hire your wedding photographer should not be based upon a couple photographs that you fell in love with. Photographers will always put their best foot forward and with good reason. However, you don't want to hire a wedding photographer based on a select few shots, you want a wedding photographer that is well-rounded. And a full wedding album will give you that perspective.

It will also help to see photographs from weddings at similar locations to your wedding venue. This will give you better insight as to the wedding photographers abilities in specific conditions. If you are having an outdoor wedding, take a look at photographs where the photographer utilized natural lighting. If you are saying "I do" in a large chapel, take a look at some indoor wedding shots, maybe some with up-lighting. This will help you to see how your wedding photographer will be able to work with you and your unique wedding.


Many photographers will offer set packages for you to choose from. This may be helpful if you have no idea what you might want from your wedding photographer. If you do know what you want, and may be very specific in your needs for your wedding photography, it may be beneficial to find a wedding photographer who will be able to cater to your needs. 

Generally, wedding photography works on a standard of coverage hours. You will want to ensure that your photographer is available for your wedding during the times that you want them. Most weddings are covered from the getting ready stages, through the ceremony and even into the reception. Ask questions about what your wedding photographer offers as this will help you decide on what you want for your wedding.

You may even want to consider additional photoshoots before your actual wedding date. Engagement shoots are very popular for multiple reasons. Aside from the obvious reason of having photos of yourself while being engaged, it offers a great opportunity to get used to your photographer. Most people are camera-shy. It is a natural tendency when asked to pose in front of a camera. An engagement shoot allows you to get used to posing with your partner in front of a camera. Think of it as a practice run - because when the big day comes, there are no re-shoots. You will want to be sure you are comfortable with a photographer and vice versa.