• Hawaii family and wedding photographer, Keao's Photography, is based out of Oahu and provides beautiful professional photography for couples and families. We photograph weddings and families all over Oahu, including but not limited to Honolulu, Waikiki, Ko Olina, and the North Shore. Our services include Hawaii wedding photography, destination weddings photography, vow renewal photography, family photography, and wedding officiating. Please nquire about availability for the other Hawaiian islands.0

Workshops for the Fall are being posted and the next workshop is already open for registration.  Check out the workshop tab in the menu above for more information and to register.

Email keao@keaosphotography.com or Facebook our business page to be notified of other workshops.  They fill quickly so grab your spot now.

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Hawaii is unique for a multitude of reasons.  It’s an entire state made up of islands and isolated by the vast Pacific Ocean.  And what happens when you live on one island but you get into the school of your dreams on a different island?  Your 11 year old self will find herself living in a dorm with other neighbor island boarders.  I was heartbreakingly homesick for the first year but my saving grace was the friends I made.  Over the next six years, we would see each other through the awkwardness and excitement of our teenage years and support each other as we ventured off to the different ends of the US for college and eventually life.  We picked up new friends along way and became family.  We don’t get to see each other often anymore but when we do, it’s like we never left.  Kelii, our Maui girl, is now living the life in North Carolina and hadn’t been home in almost 4 years.  When she said she was coming home to visit, we said “make room because we are coming over!!”

1 IntroOne year in high school, instead of returning home to the Big Island, I spent Spring Break with Kelii at her home in Wailuku.   It was my very first trip to Maui.  I’ve been to Maui many times since then but this reunion trip mirrored my high school experience.  Some things were a little different this time around.  We all have driver’s licenses this time around and carry illusions that we are more grown up,  and now there’s these little miniature versions of ourselves that tag along.  But some things remained constant.  Kelii is still the mama bear, cooking for all of us and making sure we were comfortable.  Nalani, eternally cracking us up and keeping us entertained.  And me, once again being falsely accused of poor bed-sharing and sleep kicking.  I don’t know where people get that from, I am still as a rock when I sleep.  Still, I found myself kicked to the air mattress and everyone slept a little better.  Which turned out great, because we were all well-rested for our adventures on Maui.

Maui vacation

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If you’re visiting Maui and looking for something fun to do, I am going to recommend one of my favorite places…nay, not just on Maui, but in the entire state…the Maui Ocean Center.  Oahu boasts the Waikiki Zoo, Waikiki Aquarium, and Sea Life Park and I’ve even been to the Pana`ewa Zoo on the Big Island but personally, I would take the Maui Ocean Center over them all.

The Maui Ocean Center boasts some impressive stats.  Covering 3 acres, it is the largest aquarium in the Western Hemisphere and houses the largest collections of live corals in the US.  It’s a really beautifully designed marine center that we enjoyed exploring.  After consulting the map, we started off at the at the touch pool to test our courage.  My five year old won the bravery award for the day but I’m proud to say that we all got our hands wet.

Maui Ocean Center, Things to do on Maui

Maui Ocean center, family activities on Maui

family photos at Maui Ocean center, family activities on Maui

family outing at Maui Ocean Center

touch pool at the Maui Ocean Center

family fun at the touch pool of the Maui Ocean ceanter

touch pool with the family at the Maui Ocean Center

The one thing that the Maui Ocean Center does so well is use a variety of exhibits to draw you in and educate you.  I found myself fascinated by each display and informational placard.  I wanted to spend longer at each exhibit but I was dragged along by a little one who isn’t plagued by the ability to read and thus was constantly pulling me to the next display.  Besides the wealth of information, there’s tons of neat little interaction tools that’s fun for the littles and the not-so-littles.  Peeking into a underwater research submersible, experiencing what a school of fish trapped by a bubble net sees and hears, and even recording yourself learning the songs of a whale pod.  I’m resurrecting a video from a visit to the Ocean Center from a few years ago but I’m still proud of my whale song…I haven’t been able to top it yet.

The Marine Mammal Center had a free interactive craft and the we kept the buttons my daughter made as great souvenirs.  While waiting for her to finish, I talked with volunteers and learned that unless an area is roped off, it is recommended to stay at least 150 yards away from Hawaiian monk seals when they’re resting on the beaches.  Besides educating the public, the Maui Ocean Center is also a part of programs like the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle Education Loan Program.  They raise hatchlings born at Oahu’s Sea Life Park and release them into the ocean when they are old enough.  They’re marked with clear blue numbers on their shells and so if you should see one in the water, be sure to call (808) 270-7000 or email info@mauioceancenter.com with the day, time, location, and the marking.

family outreach at Maui Ocean Center

learning fun at Maui Ocean Center

button making for the kids Maui Ocean Center

dive sub exhibit Maui Ocean Center

Maui Ocean Center jellyfish exhibit

Probably the most stunning attraction at the Maui Ocean Center is 750,000 gallon open ocean exhibit.  The viewing room was dark, cool, and quiet and the view was spectacular.  I felt like I was in a movie theater watching a riveting show and the kids were clearly mesmerized.  I honestly could have just sat there all day long.  But of course, we continued on pausing in the 240 degree acrylic tunnel that was super cool.  Sting rays and sharks swam right next to us and over us.  I’ll be honest, a part of me is still haunted by the aquarium tunnel scene from Jaws 3 so I kept a sharp eye out just in case=)

Open Ocean exhibit shark tank Maui Ocean Center

Open Ocean exhibit shark tank Maui Ocean Center

Open Ocean exhibit shark tank Maui Ocean Center

peek into marine life at Maui Ocean Center

black and white sea horse display

seahorse at Maui Ocean Center

getting lost at Maui Ocean Center So, if you’re looking for something to do on Maui thats family-friendly or anyone-friendly, check out the Maui Ocean Center.


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On the rare occasion I find the time to get my hair cut, I use that time sitting in that cool, twirling chair to ponder deep, meaningful questions like “I wonder who does my hair stylist’s hair?”  Seriously, does anyone else ever wonder that?  Salons are always covered in mirrors so all you can see is the stylists and they are always sporting such stylish looks.  When your livelihood is about knowing great hair, who you choose to do your own hair says so much.  I guess I feel the same way when I am lucky enough to be chosen to photograph another photographer.  It comes with a different level of pressure, but I am always blown away by the honor.

Debbie is a fabulous photographer from  Washington but found a way to carve in some quality family time visiting Hawaii.  Debbie and her family were staying at the beautiful Hilton Hawaiian Village on the south shores of Oahu.  We chose a gorgeous location away from the busy city, a location that showed off Hawaii’s natural treasures, blue crystal waters alongside a white sandy beach dotted with swaying palm trees.  It’s summer in paradise so beach space is a hot commodity.  We planned it so we hit the beach nice and early to enjoy it all to ourselves.  I knew they had spent the night before enjoying a Hawaiian luau so I expected a slow-paced start to our photo session.  But they popped out of the car smiling brightly looking like they had enough energy to run a marathon. It was wonderful contagious and after a few minutes laughing with them, even I, the non-morning person, felt ready to run.

As with all my families, I had sent them a style guide as we planned for their session and one thing I always encourage is incorporating multiple outfits into your photo shoot.  Debbie smiled shyly and said “we were having trouble narrowing down so we just thought we would bring it all” and revealed an armload of clothes.  I loved it!  We found the perfect tree and set up our own little on-location wardrobe organizer…it was awesome!!

a hawaiian closet at family shoot at ko olina

Family photos are always special, no matter the milestone.  For Debbie, this was a way to capture photos of a special trip with her husband, Kevin, and her son, Adam.  Adam is entering his senior year this Fall and will going off to college in less than a year.  Knowing this would be their last family trip together before he graduates from high school, they really wanted to remember this time together.

senior photos hawaii oahu

senior photo Hawaii Oahu

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hawaii photo of couple standing in ocean

black and white photo of couple kissing

family photo standing in front of Ko Olina lagoon

family photo standing in Hawaiian lagoon

bright colors in  Ko Olina Hawaii photograph

reflection of family in Ko Olina photograph

family hugs under palm tree at Ko olina

Thanks, Jones family!!

Looking for a Hawaii family photographer?  Keao is a Honolulu family photographer available for all of Oahu, including sessions near but not limited to Ko Olina, Waikiki, and the North Shore.  Specials are available for the Big Island (Hawaii), Maui, Kauai and Lanai.  If you would like to schedule a family photo shoot or book one of her amazing wedding packages, fill out the contact form found above in the menu.  Mahalo!


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“Let’s see if we can get you out of Waikiki.”

It was exactly one day from the time Vivian called me until the moment we met on an empty stretch of white sand for their Hawaiian family photos. It’s not my only 1 day booking but it is a rarity. Most of my clients book their photo sessions months in advance as soon as they have their Oahu vacation planned out. And on the occasion I do get a last-minute inquiry, I am usually booked.  But it breaks my heart to turn anyone away. I am such a softie for families who realize “Oh my gosh, we’re in Hawaii!! We need to get family photos before we leave!” So, when Vivian called to say that her family was leaving in just 36 hours to go back to their home in California, I hated having to tell her that I was unavailable.  I hesitated as I mentally ran through my calendar shifting things around and figuring out where I could squeeze in more rounds of editing… “We can make it happen!”

And I insist that every family still gets the full experience of working with Keao’s Photography, even if I have to fit it into one day of planning. We went over tips on what to expect, what to wear, and of course…location, location, location. They were staying in Waikiki but they really wanted something a little less crowded and a little more island style.  I remember telling them “let’s see if we can get you out of Waikiki.” I don’t know if it is just from growing up in Hawaii country, but I love getting my families away from the hubbub and busy-ness of the more congested areas on Oahu. If you’re staying in Waikiki, I will come to you and we will get absolutely lovely photos. But Waikiki is one of the most populated areas on Oahu. I had one grandpa turn to me halfway through their Waikiki Beach Photo shoot. He gestured to the towering hotels surrounding us and asked “can we try not to get this in the photos? I’m not a real fan of buildings.” Me neither!

I am so glad they trusted me because we ended up on a sandy stretch of paradise. Vivian and her husband have two beautiful little girls. These sweet sisters held hands as they ran through the sand, peals of laughter ringing out over the serene beach. We climbed on tree swings, ran through the foamy edge of the ocean, and twirled until we fell in giggling heaps on the sand. And not a person or building was in sight.  Just one very beautiful family enjoying their last day in Hawaii together!

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Looking for a Hawaii family photographer? Contact Keao’s Photography for more information on how to book your own family photo session.  Keao is a Honolulu family photographer available for all of Oahu, including sessions near but not limited to Ko Olina, Waikiki, and the North Shore.  Specials are available for the Big Island (Hawaii), Maui, Kauai and Lanai.  If you would like to schedule a family photo shoot or book one of her amazing wedding packages, fill out the contact form found above in the menu.  Mahalo!

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I’ve been holding on this maternity session for so long, it’s been agony.   Nina and Hadden had experienced a loss in their journey to become parentst but were happy to find that they were pregnant again.    Rainbows, or na anuenue in Hawaii, appear after the storm.  They don’t lessen the heaviness of the storm before it, but bring a reminder of hope and promises of what lies ahead.  They felt so uncertain throughout the pregnancy but with just weeks left, realized that the hope and promises had come true and they were now just a few weeks away from meeting their daughter.  Nina emailed me after looking for a Honolulu maternity photographer and apologized for the short notice.  No problem!!   I’m such a planner and love having everything scheduled to the day for the next 3 months, but I also love the spontaneity of meeting new people and helping make their dreams come true.

And Nina had a very clear vision of how she wanted to remember this time.  She had become an avid surfer and surfed throughout the first six months of pregnancy.  She is convinced that it helped her get fit (um, yes, wait to you see her stunning physique) and she found her sessions in the ocean to be a peaceful, healing experience.   She wanted to capture the feelings of calm and joy surfing brought to her pregnancy.  Also, she and her husband are just living here for a few years and they wanted to showcase the aloha spirit so they could always remember what a special place their daughter would be born in.

We met on a crowded weekday afternoon and Nina wore this beautiful gown with deep colors.  She didn’t hesitate when it was time to jump in the water.  The sun was setting behind the harbor and the sky was pink cotton candy with tinges of violet.  Now mind you, this was not an underwater maternity photography session.  Although I brought an underwater camera, the water was a bit too murky.  So, I just waded in…very very very carefully…holding my precious land-loving, non-waterproof camera.  Oh, boy, my insurance company would have had a fit if they saw.  But as soon as Nina got in the water, magic started happening.  She had always wanted the iconic slopes of Diamond Head as the background and the ocean was just beautiful.  And Nina was such a great sport when I proposed that she try lying back on her board.  It was definitely not easy, the ocean may look calm in the photos but there were some good-sized waves rolling through.  But my assistant, Joy, was in the water right next to her and Nina made it all look effort-less.


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Here is what Nina had to say on our Facebook page. “I went to Keao with an idea in mind for my maternity shoot and she took it to the next level! I wanted to get pictures of myself on a surfboard which was not easy at 37 weeks but Keao was totally enthusiastic. She literally jumped in the water with me. She made me and my husband feel very comfortable. The pictures came out beautifully and she took other set ups that I hadn’t thought of but now love. I will cherish the pictures forever and look forward to hopefully working with her again for future family photos. I also would like to add that my shoot request was very last minute but Keao could not have been more accommodating. It was also great to have Joy, her assistant, there to help make the shoot even more fun.” 

Thanks for the kind words, Nina!!!  Congratulations to both you and Hadden!  A truly special little girl born in a truly special place.

Looking for maternity or family photos here in Hawaii? Contact me for more information on how to book your own gorgeous photo session.  Keao is a Honolulu  photographer on the island of Oahu and available for family and wedding photography on all islands.

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