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Photographing Your Hawaii Vacation


Pictures - Pictures


Whether it’s from the lanai of your luxury vacation rental or from one of our magnificent beaches or parks, perhaps the first thing you’ll notice on your Hawaii vacation is the seemingly endless opportunities for the “perfect photo”!

Hawaii’s landscape is made up of lush fauna, vibrantly colored flowers, cascading waterfalls and of course, crystal blue waters set against one of the most spectacular coastlines in the world. In fact there is so much to photograph here that it makes you wonder how Hawaii’s visitors managed to capture it all before the digital age.

Since you’ll want to document every moment of your Hawaii vacation, we thought we’d provide some simple tips to help take your pictures from good, to GREAT!

Pictures - Hawaiian Poke


Food pics or “food porn” has taken the internet by storm, and here in Hawaii, there’s plenty to document. From our poke, to shave ice, to malasadas and some of Hawaii’s other delicious foods, we know you’ll want to take some Instagram worthy photos of Hawaii’s “grinds”, and here’s how:

  • Like most subjects, food pictures tend to turn out better when photographed in natural light so take your photos outdoors, or try to sit near a window if inside.
  • Zoom in on the dish to avoid catching other objects like napkins, cutlery and salt shakers as these will distract from your subject.
  • Be aware of angles in order to keep shadows to the side or rear of the plate instead of upfront where they will interfere with your focal point.

Pictures - People


Of course you’ll want to photograph the amazing people you’re on vacation with, and maybe some of the locals as well so here are a few tips to get the best shots:

  • When photographing people outdoors, use your flash. Sunlight can cast shadows on your subject’s face highlighting wrinkles or other imperfections. Using the flash can offset some of this by evening out the exposure.
  • Scan the frame before snapping your photo to determine the best positioning for your subject. Are there interesting objects or landmarks in the background? If so, try to position your subject to the side instead of front and center for additional visual interest.
  • Everyone loves cheese, but the standard expression prior to snapping a picture can appear forced and unnatural. Instead, try soliciting a genuine laugh or smile from your subject right before taking the picture.


Pictures - Haiku Stairs




Diamond Head, Sweetheart Rock and Iolani Palace are just a few Hawaii landmarks you won’t want to miss, and these too will deserve a spot in your vacation album. To make the most of your landmark photos, try incorporating the following tips:


  • Arrive early. Not only does this allow you to take advantage of the light produced by what professional photographers refer to as “The Golden Hour”, it also eliminates having your photos littered with tourists.
  • We often see landmarks placed front and center in a photo, but pictures can often be more interesting when the focal point is off to the side.
  • Try taking your picture from an alternate angle. Capturing an object from the ground up, or from above, or even on a diagonal angle can add some artistic flare to your photo.


Pictures - Flowers



Wildlife, tropical flowers and Hawaiian sunsets are all photo worthy and we’ve got some good advice for photographing these as well:


  • If snapping pictures of wildlife, try to capture the subject in the most natural looking shot possible. Scan for hydro wires, trash cans etc. Your picture will have much more visual appeal without all of these extras taking the eye away from your intended subject.
  • Photos of Hawaii’s colorful plants and flowers will turn out much better if taken during the “Golden Hour”. This refers to the period right before dawn and again before the sun sets. The light produced at these times is softer and can make the colors truly pop adding dimension to your photos.
  • You can make the colors of a sunset come alive by slightly underexposing. It’s also a good idea to take several photos as the sky’s colors can change dramatically from start to finish during sunset and you’ll want to capture as many of these as you can.


So now that you’ve got some tips, Hawaii is waiting! Get out there and snap away! We hope you enjoy your stay in our beautiful state, and we wish you an Aloha filled vacation!