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Starting With Change

A week ago, I wasn’t a happy camper. A week ago, I dreaded what this week would hold, because I was that sure that I wouldn’t survive last week. I muttered to anyone who was listening, while tears created a salty film on my cheeks, that I wasn’t sure how I was going to handle it all.

I want to apologize to you, my dear reader, for pretty much dropping the ball on infusing this blog with my personality. I know it’s why a lot of you read it and I feel like I have been split into so many directions, that this blog has been pushed to the side. Well, I’m dusting it off, to tell you that change is sometimes good. And sometimes bad.

Last month, right before the holidays, I broke up with my boyfriend. Now, this is a wedding blog and it’s a big reason I didn’t share this fact. I mean, you want to see beautiful happy images, not hear about the ramblings of a chick going through a breakup. I respect that and I still won’t sit here and talk about it. If you want to know what was going on, head on over to my new travel blog, Passport and Lenses to find out.

But last week, I was a mess because I had to finally move and finally get a start on all of these life changes I’ve committed to making, like traveling for almost a year starting in September. I rehomed my loving and wonderful dogs, moved into a tiny apartment, shared with two roomies and committed myself to this change. The first night was hard, because I missed my queen sized memory foam mattress for a twin sized bed, an inevitable consequence of leaving the island. I cried, because the new mattress just wasn’t the same (in size and softness haha). I cried because I reached down to play with my dogs and they weren’t there. I cursed change, practically shaking my fist at the Universe, almost forgetting that I made these choices and had to stick with them.

But this week? I feel better. I haven’t cried too much, if at all and I feel better about my choices. I miss my dogs terribly, but in the end, I feel happy about where my life is headed. I feel as if I will know all of this change was worth it, when I stop traveling in two years. Or maybe I’ll never stop traveling. I don’t know.

But one thing that this past week taught me was that change CAN be good. But it will most likely be terribly difficult. I had a friend tell me to take it one minute at a time and that’s what I did. Sometimes, taking it day by day is too much and rather, minute by minute is far more feasible.

2015 is looking like a good year. What changes do you think you have in store?

     

Haiku Mill Styled Shoot

I have been waiting for over six months to share this gorgeous Haiku Mill Styled Shoot that I did over this past summer. When Morgan of Moana Events agreed to team up, I knew I had to create something epic with her. While I let her come up with the concept, because she’s a fantastic event planner, I began to concoct poses and locations I wanted to shoot in Haiku Mill. It’s SUCH a gorgeous venue in Maui and I was so excited to be working here. We flew in, bright and early and left later that night.

When Grace Ormonde picked up the shoot, I knew it was something good. But we’ve had to keep it under wraps and it’s been KILLING ME. I mean, a geisha bride?? How could you NOT eat this ish up??

I’d like to give a shoutout to the amazing vendors who put blood sweat and tears into this shoot! Y’all ROCK!

First, to Liz at Maui Makeup Artistry for her GORGEOUS modeling skills and hair/makeup talents!

The dresses are from Maggie Coulombe, where the lovely Eugene Hicks hooked us up and helped us out!

Finally, the stunning florals were painstakingly created by Dellables. They did such a fantastic job!!!!!

Finally, on to the stunning imagery!

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Haiku Mill Photographer

Haiku Mill Photographer

Haiku Mill Photographer

Haiku Mill Photographer

International Wedding Photographer

International Wedding Photographer

International Wedding Photographer

International Wedding Photographer

International Wedding Photographer

International Wedding Photographer

     

The Wedding Photography Partnership

Since it’s booking season and I have the entire year of 2014 to reflect on, I wanted to write a blog for 2015′s brides and let you know something very very very important: Wedding Photography is a Partnership.

I know you’re probably puzzled right now, so let me give you a little background. In 2014, my goal was to work. I actually revamped my pricing and collections, to broaden my horizons, experience and grow. In March 2014, I announced new collections and by golly, that shit worked. Since then, I can count on one hand how many times in the past 9 months that I wasn’t working 3-4 times a week at least. My goal was to photograph 25 weddings and instead, I shot almost 40. Some were small one hour weddings, others were more than 9 hours. Some had three guests, others had almost 300. I would like to think I’m now well versed on different situations, types of clients and variations of weddings. So please believe me when I tell you that when you hire your wedding photographer, it’s a 50/50 partnership.

Some of you may scoff, saying, “I’m hiring a company, not starting a relationship” yet that is where you’re completely and utterly wrong. Providing that you’re picking a photographer based on their merits, artwork and personality, you ARE starting a relationship and you’re obligated to treat it as such. Would you start a relationship and then ignore your new friend? Would you start a relationship and throw all of their advice out of the window? Maybe. I know some people that have. If you think you might, please continue reading and heed my warnings.

Reasons Wedding Photography is a partnership:

1. We are human. When you hire a personable wedding photography company, such as “Jane Doe Photography” or “Creatrix Photography”, you’re hiring a PERSON. Not a company, not a massive conglomerate, a PERSON. We bleed, sweat and cry just like you. Yes, we cry. Sometimes, clients make us cry. I’ve had clients be so mean, I’ve doubted myself as a human and as a business owner. When you decide you want a Pinterest style wedding without a Pinterest style budget, then lambaste us for not making your paper-streamer lined wedding look like a six figure wedding, that hurts us. We are artists and we do our absolute best, but we are limited by our mortal bodies. Please take that into consideration.

2. We are as creative as you let us be. Do you love gorgeous rain shots lit by flash, taken in the dark? What about sparkler exits when people are excited and happy?? I bet you just turn into a pile of goo when you see images like this one:

Did you know the above image was taken at 6am, on a windy beach? I’m going to tell you what I tell all of my clients: art takes time. If you give us only 30 minutes to photograph you and your spouse, your family of 50 people AND the wedding party, it ain’t gonna happen. You will receive gorgeous images, but they will be simple and easy poses and photos, like the one below:

Just kidding…this isn’t gorgeous, simple or nice. And it is NOT MY PHOTO. EWW.
Pin found here: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/182606959865494446/

I can’t tell you how many times I will send a minimum 2 questionnaires, 10 emails (MINIMUM) and lots of guidance, only to have a client ignore me and act like I can take gorgeous images regardless of situation. I recently had a wedding where there wasn’t a set dance floor, but the catering manager told me it would be over here. Then the couple decided to begin dancing over there, where NONE of my equipment was set up. I scrambled with my team to set up, but the hotel turned down the lights, so my camera refused to focus and then the images lost at least 60% of their quality. I was forced to make them redo their first dance, because they changed their minds last minute without telling me. I’m 100% good on my feet, if you COMMUNICATE. Hence the partnership of this whole thing.

3. We are limited by the information you don’t share. Any good photographer will ask you about important moments not to be missed during the big day. Don’t be condescending and say, “I need the first kiss captured,” because if you think your photographer might miss that, you shouldn’t have hired them. Communication is vital to any partnership, so let them know if you’re doing a petal toss after the first kiss, a sparkler exit, giving your mother a wonderful gift during the ceremony. I once saw a person (not my client) bitch and moan because her photographer missed her dad giving her away, yet admitted that she didn’t tell the photographer how important that moment was to her. Some moments will be missed, because we’re focused on getting the must-haves, like the ring exchange, your mom crying, etc. If there is something you need, COMMUNICATE.

Shots like the above are missed if you give us a specific shotlist, by the way.;)

Communicating about your needs are vital. Do NOT hand us a new timeline on the day of the wedding. DO NOT ignore us for weeks before your wedding. We WANT to help you, so let us! Fill out all questionnaires, answer all emails within 72 hours, make sure we can do the job you hired us for!

4. We want your images to be gorgeous too. You won’t survive in this wedding industry if you weren’t passionate about it, because photographing weddings can suck. It’s long hours, detail oriented and CUSTOMER SERVICE DRIVEN. We answer emails at 1am, we edit for hours on end, we will make conversation with your Aunt Juniper because if we don’t, she’ll tell you we are assholes. We put out fires, proverbially and sometimes literally, and usually you won’t ever know. I once had a guest step on me, on purpose, because she thought her Canon Powershot Camera would take better photos than me and she needed my spot. The client, to this day, has no idea what her friend did to me. I will never tell her. It’s none of her business, because sometimes the money I receive is “hush money.”

At the end of the day, I want your images to be gorgeous too, because I pour my soul into your pictures. I will email you repeatedly about timelines and shotlists, because I need them to give 100%. When you don’t communicate and the images are what I know they could be, I get so beyond frustrated, I begin to mutter expletives to my camera, demanding it to somehow fix the situation. But cameras are innately stupid and they can’t help me. You can though! You can communicate, help me out, give me the time I need to create stunning breathtaking imagery for you to keep forever.

5. Photoshop is NOT a cure-all. I grit my teeth anytime I have a client or guest say, “oh she can just fix it in Photoshop!” and I partially blame Adobe for creating this idea that Photoshop is the go-to fix for any picture not perfect in camera. Don’t get me wrong, for clients that are kind to me, I’ll remove half naked tourists out of their beach shots, but did you know that can take up to 15 minutes per photo, JUST to remove maybe 5 people? “oh, it’s dark but you can fix that in Photoshop, right?” Nope, if your reception is pitch black, my camera is stupid…remember? It doesn’t see light and color like your naked eye, so no, Photoshop will not save that moment. “Can you just take 50 pounds off of me in Photoshop?” No, no I can’t. Sorry. I don’t support that kind of mentality. “Can you remove my Aunt Lilikoi out of my family images? She’s pissed us off and we don’t like her anymore!” Sure, let me send you the invoice for the edits.

The magic of it all, is that Photoshop won’t be needed if you communicate enough. For the most part. Half naked tourists are everywhere.

This is my best friend and this is what she thinks of Photoshop.;)

You have a big day coming up and trust me, I know how much you have on your plate. The florist wants to know how many and which kinds of flowers you want. You have to narrow down your cake flavor from 15 delicious options. Your mother is demanding you wear her wedding dress, regardless of how big the sleeves are. And your grandmother? Wants you to invite 25 people you’ve never even met before. I get it. Just keep in mind that at the end of the day, the flowers die, the cake gets eaten, but your photography will last through the years. Your photographer will be the BIGGEST decision you make, outside of who your spouse will be, and don’t take that decision lightly. Ask for full wedding galleries, reviews, how long it will take to get your images (I have a 30 day guarantee!).

If you’re looking for your own gorgeous wedding photography, head on over to my website. I travel the world, so don’t limit yourself to just Hawaii.

p.s. congrats on the engagement. It’ll be a wonderful journey from here.:)

     

Keegan & Jessica | Luxury Wedding in Hawaii

Jessica and Keegan have an epic story that started when they were children, playing tag on the playground. It ended with their gorgeous luxury wedding in Hawaii, with all of their friends and family, all 250 of them. They had an amazing team put together, with Sarah of Whik’d Hawaii doing the beautiful makeup and hair, as usual. Seriously, hire that chick.

Anyway, these two are beyond adorable together. Keegan shared this tidbit with me, to show how they met and how their relationship grew:

“We met at waikele elementary school in the 5th grade! We both played tag; she was on the girls team, and I was on the boys team. To me (groom), tag was just for fun and of course flirting without knowing it. On the other hand, Jessica took it more serious and had a big crush on me in the sixth grade. Her friends would write my name on her arms for fun. I moved to Vegas in 7th grade and we lost contact. In the summer after 8th grade, Jessica found me on myspace, and we immediately started talking. Before that, I never had a girlfriend or even attempted to ask anyone because I wanted to wait till I knew for sure that the girl I pick would be special and respectful to herself and to me. That’s when Jessica started talking to me. She grabbed my attention quick! Her looks got my attention, but her personality is what made me fall in love. In the past girls have given their number, but I didn’t bother to call or even think about calling them. But when Jessica gave me her number, I felt like I had to drop everything and call her….which I did of course! From, everything was right! Even though distance between us for four years, I still made my way back to the islands to see her every year from sophomore year. I started working at 14 to first change my phone service so we can talk and text for free, then I started working to buy a plane ticket to go see her! This is how I knew that I loved her with my heart! She gave me the drive and motivation to work 40 plus hours weekly, earning overtime to buy my ticket to cross the ocean for her! I first told her I loved her on February 6, 2006! Our first kiss was in the double tree hotel elevator! Our first picture was in the shuttle bus to pick up a rental car. After high school I joined the army in 2009. After basic training and job training (mos training) I was very lucky to have gotten my first duty station here in Hawaii in January 2010. But I didn’t get to spend much time here as I was getting ready to deploy to Iraq in June of 2010. I took r&r in November 2010 and proposed to Jessica on her birthday at La Mer French restaurant where I got down on one knee and asked her to be with me forever! ”

If you aren’t tearing up by now, perhaps these gorgeous images will. Thank you to the wonderful team of the day making it flawless and fluid for everyone!

REA Events and Designs with the linens for the reception!

Kaleo Pilanca for the AWESOME DJ skills and comedic relief for the reception!!

Flash Lab was also there, as an awesome photobooth!

Sugar Hut also had the most delicious desserts there. The chocolate cake and apple pie was to die for!!!

Finally, a shoutout to Dukes Limo for being flexible on finding me spots to photograph them and manuvering a limo through narrow streets to get the best shots.

International Wedding Photographer

International Wedding Photographer

International Wedding Photographer

International Wedding Photographer

International Wedding Photographer

Luxury Hawaiian Wedding Photographer

Luxury Hawaiian Wedding Photographer

Luxury Hawaiian Wedding Photographer

Luxury Hawaiian Wedding Photographer

Hawaii Wedding Photographer

Hawaii Wedding Photographer

Hawaii Wedding Photographer

Hawaii Wedding Photographer

Hawaii Wedding Photographer

Hawaii Wedding Photographer

Hawaii Wedding Photographer

Ireland Wedding Photographer

Ireland Wedding Photographer

Ireland Wedding Photographer

Ireland Wedding Photographer

Ireland Wedding Photographer

Scotland Wedding Photographer

Scotland Wedding Photographer

Scotland Wedding Photographer

Scotland Wedding Photographer

Scotland Wedding Photographer

Travel Wedding Photographer

Travel Wedding Photographer

Travel Wedding Photographer

Travel Wedding Photographer

Travel Wedding Photographer

Seattle Wedding Photographer

Seattle Wedding Photographer

Seattle Wedding Photographer

Seattle Wedding Photographer

Seattle Wedding Photographer

Seattle Wedding Photographer

Seattle Wedding Photographer

     

Bri & Dan | Hawaii Engagement Photographer

In my quest to be one of the best Hawaii Engagement Photographers, I have met some wonderful people. Bri and Dan are no exceptions and together, combined, they’re super good looking. And have the most hair I have ever had to deal with during an engagement session. haha We were thwarted three times because of rain and even when we showed up for this session, we had to move a couple miles down to avoid even more rain. It became fortuitous, because these images are damn gorgeous. Their outfit colors were a stark contrast to the dark lava rock, creating a mesmorizing photograph.

They’ve just gotten married and their images will be up on the blog soon enough, but until then, let’s admire all of their wind blown hair and happy smiles.

Hawaii Engagement Photographer

Hawaii Engagement Photographer

Hawaii Engagement Photographer

Hawaii Engagement Photographer

Hawaii Engagement Photographer

Hawaii Engagement Photographer

International Wedding Photographer

International Wedding Photographer

International Wedding Photographer