North Shore Sunrise

North Shore Sunrise

This image was created last week just minutes after sunrise.  I used a low camera position because I wanted the horizon in the upper third. Thankfully my carbon fiber tripod was made to use in uneven topography as the ground was anything but even.

I wanted to show the wide angle view of Hawaii’s beautiful coastline and decided to use the fish eye lens.  In part thats because the lens has a 180 degree angle of view, but the secondary reason is  I love the fish eye lens because of  the way the image bends at the ends.

We live on a round planet and for some reason people have come to expect straight lines on the horizons of photographs seen.  I think its refreshing to see the curve.  In addition, it adds a secondary line that repeats the round line of the water surrounding the rocks in the foreground.

The portrait will be printed as  30 x 60 and will be displayed in Waterfront Restaurants private dining room. The Waterfront is one of Maui’s most established restaurants and is located in Maalaea Harbor.

If interested in a participating in a photography workshop or tour check out Maui Photo Tours.  Click here interested in fine art photography.

Clothing is an important consideration and part of the portrait planning process

“What should we wear” for our family portrait  is a question Mieko and I get frequently.  I tell clients that as much as we create beautiful portraits that capture the emotion and expressions of their family, we are also creating custom home decor. So it makes sense that the clothes compliment the color scheme of the room the portrait will be displayed in.

This means that for rooms that have soft colors and wooden tones, colors like white, khaki, denim and soft pastels work well.  Clothes with logos, stripes, checks, or loud patterns do not. Black should be avoided.

Our goal is to help families determine the number of different poses or breakdowns desired so we have time to create everything.  Knowing what is desired also allows us the opportunity to inform clients what the costs  are so any issues or inconsistencies can be taken care of.

So, a fair amount of advance planning is required.  While this does take time, it enables families to  make important decisions before they get here so  in the end they get what they really want.

Maui Wailea Po’oleanlena Beach, Family portrait, Family Photography

Our web site has a portrait planning guide and a consumers guide to photography on Maui, located on the family portraiture gallery drop down menu.

If coming to Maui and you would like to learn more about photography please contact us.

How to photograph kids and pets

Below are 7 tips to photographing pets and children.  Enjoy!

1) get out of your comfort zone and into theirs.   Kids and pets are not tall like adults, so go down to their level.  Try getting low or even on the ground.  You will see all kinds of new angles and possibilities.

2) Dont bark commands and force them into cooperation. Parents are famous for this.  Yes, we want respectful children, but we dont want tantrums, tears, and conniption fits. so sometimes parents just have to relax.

3) Let kids & pets be themselves.  If they want to explore let them, you might just get something really special that you would otherwise not have even considered.

4)  Remember the best portraits are the ones that tell a story and evoke an emotion, not just looking at the camera.  In this way you capture the personalty and emotion of the subject and this is timeless.

5) Saying cheese triggers the mind to make a cheesy smile.  Instead capture a portrait with a real expression.

Smile for the camera

7) Use props like a noise making chicken, sea shells, bubbles, toys, & sand castles for kids, frisbees, dog toys, treats, ocean, and squeaky noise makers for dogs.

6) Have Fun – Remember Getting wet or dirty makes for great story telling.

7) Have dog treats, kids snacks, drinks, towels, and extra clothes standing by.

Helpful links.

If coming to Maui and are interested in a family portrait please contact Maui Photography.   If interested in learning about photography, check out Maui Photo Tours.  Workshops on landscape, basic, I-phone, portraiture, and underwater photography are offered.               If interested in fine art photography or joining wildlife  photography expeditions check out Douglas J Hoffman

Sometimes we all need a time out…..

This week I photographed a large family with four kids under 6 years old.  This is nothing new but hearing a comment from one of the parents resonated with me because I have been in the same position with my family. We were about halfway done with the session when the one of the kids decided  it was time to have a fit.  Tarzan screams, funny animal sounds, and bribes with ice cream had no affect. I saw the frustration build in the parents faces and the child fed off this energy as if there were sharks smelling blood in the water.

The last time my family planned to have a family portrait created, I wanted it too bad and our eldest child knew it.  For a little while she had the power and decided to be uncooperative. If I would have only relaxed and let go,  things would proceeded much better. Instead, I became the frustrated father.  In retrospect it would have been better to take a brief timeout.

Life gives us opportunities to learn and it when it comes to kids, sometimes its smart to try and understand what its like to be a kid. Our child is testing her boundaries and finding out what she can and cant do. This is important for her development.

So, the next time we have our family portrait created I will be more relaxed. Hopefully without the scent of blood, our daughter will be relaxed as well.  However, in the event one of the kids should have a tantrum, rather than get stressed,  I will take a short time out in order to relax.  I will offer the same advice to our clients.

Mieko and I know as professionals that with the absence of pressure on children, most of the time kids have fun and enjoy the family portrait session.  However, each child is different. Sometimes, regardless of what parents do, a child will melt down.

If this should occur, portraits can still be made that capture the personality of a family.  In this case we would have the everyone sit on the beach and look at the view, sunset, boat or whale on the horizon.  We might also have everyone looking at each other.  This often stops frowns and starts smiles.   Walking away from the camera and jumping into the setting sun are  also great options.  This captures a family in action.  While we cant see the faces we can feel the emotional impact and let our minds go back to a beautiful place called Maui.
When it comes to having portraits of family created the goal is to capture the love and relationships that exist within a family.  If their is frustration &  stress it will show up, so its best to just let go. Otherwise its time for time out!

Enjoy family.  Live life.  Aloha

Maui Photography launches new business Maui Photo Tours

Over the last few years we have noticed that almost every family coming to Maui has a digital camera. Technology has made it simple to point and shoot and take pictures.  Having said that a lot of people do not know what the settings on their cameras do let alone understand basic rules of composition.

So we decided to help people learn about their cameras while having fun in Maui, and recently started a new division called Maui Photo Tours.

Were offering 1/2 and full day scenic tours and workshops around the island for individuals, families, and small groups.  We will take people to locations that are good for photography and off the beaten path.  Our instructors will show  the best vantage points, provide tips on composition,and help each participant take better photographs.   At the same time he or she will be creating photographs of the tour in order to make a souvenir music side show as a gift to take home.

bamboo forerst

Were also offering mini workshops at peoples homes, or resorts.  We will come and give a concise easy to understand talk about photography and answer all your families questions, then go outside and work together to create portraits of the scenery and each other.

Workshops in Iphone photography, basic and advanced photoshop are also offered.

Check out Maui photo tours  for more information.

Maui Photography – Beautiful Hawaiian Sunsets

Maui Magic

The sunsets are beautiful in Maui.  If coming to the island make sure to take time and enjoy them. Each day the sun sets differently with some more spectacular than others.

To get a good exposure point your camera off to the side of the brightest point in the scene and meter the light.  Most digital cameras today have a light meter inside and that’s what your using to set the exposure.  Once you have determined the values set the shutter and f-stop to match.  Now your ready to then recompose the scene and make the photograph.

If coming to Maui and want to learn more about taking better pictures check this out.

Maui Photo Tours and Workshop – Beach photography tip

When going to the beach to create portraits of people, avoid putting the horizon line in someones head or body. One way to do this is create the photograph from a higher angle of view. Mieko and I bring a step ladder to every session for this very reason.

The heads are below the horizon line making for a more pleasing composition

If interested in a photography workshop while in Maui, check this out.

Tips for doing family photography this Holiday Season

Holidays are great time for families to get together and take pictures.  When I was growing up for whatever reason my family waited till the meal was over than gathered everyone around the table for a group photo. I remember the table was full of plates, half empty glasses, and serving dishes but it didn’t matter that was when they took the picture.

A generation later we still take photographs of the family but now we do it before everyone eats. We go outside and do something fun. This way there are no food stains on the kids or table, and everyone is awake.   As were preparing for this years holiday we thought to share a few tips.

First,  if planning to do a family portrait that will be displayed on the wall give thought to where in the house the portrait will go and try to match the clothes the family wears to the color theme in that room.   If there are a few kids in the family young or old that always give you trouble when its time for family photos, simply tell them that you work hard to provide a good life. In appreciation everyone can cooperate for some family portraits.

Second, use a tripod if you have one it eliminates camera shake and this is a huge problem.  If not available hold your elbows into your body to eliminate movement, and gently press the shutter.  Make sure the shutter speed is about 1/125th of a second as this will also help eliminate movement.

Next, have the family look at the lens, then look at each other.  Photographs of people interacting and relating to each other have good impact and tell a story.

Finally, avoid the tendency to put people in the center of the frame.  Instead try putting them a little on the left or right.  This change of composition can add a lot of interest and story telling to your photographs. You can also try having the kids look away and have them jump into the setting sun like in this image.

Family fun under the sun

See more information about family portraiture here