Workshop on composition

blog imsge tour 9:30In this image their are three compositional designs in use.  First is framing.  The bamboo trees serve to frame the image and draw the viewers attention.  Next are the repetitious lines of the bamboo trees which also directs the viewers eye.  Third, the S-curve going through the image guides the viewer down the trail and beyond.  These are some of the concepts we discuss and practice in a photography workshop.

IF planning a trip to Maui, let us know we offer a variety of workshops. We can come to your hotel and teach you how to use your camera, and take better photographs as well as take you on a tour of the island and teach you on location. Call 808 870 3686 for information.

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

underwater photography workshop

If you like to dive and take pictures, why not combine the two and take a underwater photography workshop while on vacation.  Maui has great conditions and lots of good dives sites.  We have a lot of turtles and a few good wrecks. There are several good boat operators as well as sites that can be easily done from shore.


Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle

The Wreck of The Carthaginian

Professional Photographer Magazine November Issue

Were so exited, as Douglas had a little feature in this months Professional Photographer Magazine.  The story and images are below.    Enjoy!

Gracefull baby whale

Douglas J. Hoffman: Into The Blue
Lorna Gentry

Douglas J. Hoffman sails the Pacific Rim to photograph whales and other creatures of the deep. While snorkeling the warm, clear waters of Tonga in the South Pacific, Douglas J. Hoffman photographed a humpback whale for nearly an hour as it languidly swam 10 feet below. Suddenly the whale twice shook its mighty tail and propelled upward like a torpedo. Breaching the surface, it sailed through the air 8 feet from the photographer. “I lifted my camera to the air and snapped shots as it flew past me. From my angle, the horizon was underneath the whale rather than over it. It was fantastic!”


Perfect breach

The awe of that moment is still palpable to Hoffman. For all his underwater adventures over the last 30 years, he still talks about that one with reverence and glee. Hoffman has a stunning portfolio of under – water photographs, which he prints on aluminum and canvas as large as 40 x 60 inches. He and his wife, Mieko, run Maui Photography in Hawaii, a family portrait and fine-art photography studio. In addition to commissioned work, Hoffman conducts workshops on underwater, land scape and portrait photography.

Sunset portrait at Po'olenalena Beach

In September 2012 he’ll take three small groups to Tonga to photograph humpback whales, and the following March he’ll take a class to Fiji for shark diving. Not much scares him, he says. “For me, it’s serene.”


Lemon shark

The main thing to know about photographing whales is to take it slow, Hoffman advises. In some ways whales behave like dogs, he says. “If you want a dog to come to you he won’t, but if you’re calm and ignore him then he’ll come sniffing around. A whale is no different, except that it’s 55 feet long and weighs 55 tons. Approach a whale with respect, and it will relax and get comfortable with your presence. Be peaceful and let the whale see you’re not aggressive.”

At times Hoffman has been so trustworthy that mother whales have allowed him to babysit their calves while they nap. “The mother is with her baby 24 hours a day and wants a break, but only if she can trust you,” he says. “If she can, then she’ll take a catnap and let her baby do donuts around you, blow bubbles and provide the most fun on Earth a human being can have. I had one interaction that lasted six and a half hours in the water, but most of our interactions last about 90 minutes.”

To see more of Douglas J. Hoffman’s work visit

Digital cameras are so ever-present in society today. Even my phone has a camera

Each month we see new and smaller cameras in the hands of tourists coming to Hawaii.  Indeed, i t is getting easier and easier for people to take pictures, Even today’s cell phones are creating photographs.

Family is very important and portraits like this are priceless

We  think its great because the more the public takes pictures, the more they are learning about photography.  These days people are able to see the difference between a well posed, composed & illuminated portrait from one that is not.

Mind you were not saying that the public can explain why one image is better than another, only that people are starting to see a difference.  This is starting to build respect and value back into photography. Recent trends show people are learning that while they can take pictures posing people & lighting them well is not easy.

Family portraiture on Maui

In the not to distant past a person would shoot a roll of film and take it to the lab.  The people there would do their magic and just like that people got nice pictures.   When digital came out people and photo labs had to start learning Photoshop to make their pictures better. This has truly made the last 10 years the digital age and one of the reasons why people are starting to hire professionals again.  As a result we’re getting more inquiries from people.

I tell people who are on the fence about hiring a professional portrait photographer.  Having a portrait created is not something done often. So when ts time – its important to do right.  Its kind of like hiring a plumber. When you have the need, its better to get a pro and get it taken care of right the first time.

I tried hiring a home repairman to fix a leak, and in the end I spent more time, money, and frustration than if I had hired a plumber to begin with.


For those that want to do it yourself, why not take a photography workshop as a family.  IT will be fun, and you will take home knowledge and great memories.


Three Sisters

Three Sisters


Besides the happy faces of the girls, I wanted to capture their reflections and the colorful clouds so I decided to go vertical.  Had I created a landscape orientation, the reflections or the clouds would not be included.  These compositional elements give balance to the portrait.  The reflections are leading lines that draw the viewers eye and the colorful clouds in the background give the eyes a place to o after enjoying the the three sisters.

Praise from a recent workshop

Last night Doug received this comment from Mark Hull who participated in one of his recent workshops. Doug is one of the two main photographer at Maui Photography, the other is his beautiful wife Mieko. Thanks Mark!

“After returning from your workshop I told myself that it was the smartest thing I could have done on my trip to Maui. Your personal attention and knowledge was very much appreciated. You challenged me to do things differently and offered great suggestions to help improve in areas I was having trouble with. I like that you asked me in advance what I wanted to focus on and wanted to know about my problem areas. The special locations we traveled to allowed me to see parts of the island that many don’t get to see, and I returned with great images to boot.”

I would highly recommend your workshop to anyone interested in learning more about photography or just looking for an educated tour guide that knows the best locations for the ultimate photographs.

Thanks again for a great time, I hope to see you again on my next trip to Maui.

PS. Meeting your great family and viewing your studio was also very special and gave the day that “personal touch”.

Mark Hull

Those interested in workshops please click on this link.