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Choosing a Session Location on Oahu

Updated: Aug 7, 2021

Let me start off by saying Jacky's attention to detail and communication were TOP NOTCH for his proposal session. He started his inquiry asking all the right questions and seeking advice on his proposal plans. His original location was a highly sought after beach on the island but I informed him that specific location would present a few logistical problems. When looking for a photographer you want someone knowledgeable not only in photography but who knows the area well and can provide insight that can save you a headache the day of your session. Three things to consider when choosing a location for a proposal (or any session really) :

  1. Accessibility

  2. Popularity

  3. Time of Day

Accessibility- Is the location easy to get to? What's the parking situation like? While many beach parks on Oahu have a parking lot/area, peak hours of the day or even the year (HELLO SPRING/SUMMER BREAK) can present a major challenge in finding parking. You want to choose a location that has ample parking so you don't spend precious time going around in circles waiting for a parking spot or having to park blocks away and making a far trek to the beach (This type of pre-session workout is not advised).

Popularity- I know there are certain spots that Oahu is known for and you want to have the picture perfect spot for your session on social media. However, let me give you some things to consider- If you choose an "Instagram worthy" location, everyone else who's vacationing here is likely to want to visit that place as well. Do you really want to have a session with hundreds of people around (trust me, in Hawaii there are hundreds if not thousands of people at certain beaches each day) during your session? If there's a certain place you've seen on social media, chances are there's a lesser known area with a similar vibe that would be perfect for your session. Ask your photographer for their recommendations of whatever type of location you're dreaming of for your session (i.e. beach, mountains, forest, etc.) and don't be afraid to send them photos of the location you saw on social media so they know what you're looking for (photographers are visual people, obviously).

Time of Day- I get it, everyone is not an early riser, but there are benefits to choosing sunrise sessions as well as sunset sessions. Let's break these down.

  • Sunrise- Less people are up which means less people at your session location. I usually tell my couples if they're up for a sunrise session to book it because during that time of day you'll likely have the location to yourself (most people don't want to be watched during their session) and will feel more comfortable not having strangers stare at you throughout your session. There is gorgeous soft light that comes with early morning sessions. You don't have to worry about squinting because the sun is in your eyes. A major selling point is with sunrise sessions, once the session is over you can go for breakfast and still have the whole day ahead of you. The phrase "early bird catches the worm," definitely applies to sunrise sessions.

  • Sunset- You don't have to get up early and are blessed with gorgeous golden lighting (enough said)! In all seriousness I love sunset sessions as well. The golden lighting makes up for the crazy traffic, and crowds of people that are common at locations for later sessions. You can't blame everyone for wanting to watch the sunset on a gorgeous beach on Oahu, but that doesn't mean you want to have them crowd a location either (balance). While there will likely be more crowds during a sunset session, photographers know how to look for "pockets" in a crowd to give you enough space to freely move about and enjoy your session without being right next to the next beach-goer. So talk to your photographer and let them know if you'd rather have a sunset session, they'll make it work (it's in their blood).

Okay, back to this couple. Jacky took my advice and switched locations to another beach on the same side of the island as his original choice (similar views). Our session went smoothly and while talking with Jacky and Jenn, they told me they went to the beach Jacky had originally planned for this proposal. They mentioned how crowded that beach was and I was so glad I was able to educate Jacky and that he was receptive to me moving his session location. So all you couples out there, trust your photographer, you're paying us for our expertise and we won't steer you wrong!

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