• 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

The holidays felt busier than before, December was a blur of photo sessions, print orders, family dinners, gingerbread house decorating and a LOT of Christmas music sing-alongs. As much as I love meeting families and updating their family photos in time for holiday cards, it can get a little crazy, and  there’s something so special about taking family photos in the peaceful calm of a new year. It has been a cold winter (for Hawaii, of course, don’t laugh too hard) and it’s been a while since my girls have been able to enjoy a beach day in this windy weather. So, I had my fingers crossed for this family photo session.  Sophie and Robert brought their little girl here from the other side of the ocean to celebrate a special birthday and the new year. And the sun answered with glorious sunshine and a beautiful day by the water’s edge.

Just recently, my husband and I took our family up to visit friends in the Pacific Northwest.  We were fascinated with all things snow and loved every moment exploring a new place.  I remember my friend showing us the extra set of warm outerwear they keep in their cars at all times in case they get stranded during the winter season.  I found that fascinating and smart and something I would never have thought of coming from the balmy tropics. So, if you’re visiting our islands, let me share with you a helpful tip for car accessories that we like to follow here in Hawaii.   Always keep a set of towels and extra clothes in your car because the allure is strong and  just never know when you’re going to end up splashing in the Pacific Ocean.  Trust me, even when you don’t plan for it, it’ll happen it will be worth every inch of wet denim.  We played and played in the ocean until the day faded into night.

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exploring tidal pools in Honolulu family photographs

ocean family photography on Oahu

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Thank you for sharing your family moments with Keao’s Photography!!

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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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