Hawaii Vacation Photography | North Shore Oahu | Osman and Amina

Amina and Osman have been married for fifteen years, which takes a little convincing to believe because they are so young.  But they married young and have spent the last fifteen years traveling the world and working in wonderful places.  They’ve been very busy, and it hasn’t slowed down since Ismaeel arrived on the scene a few years ago.   He’s a gorgeous combination of both of them, with dark chocolate colored eyes fringed with the longest lashes ever.  I’m a mom of two pretty pink-clad princesses, so working with boys is always fascinating for me.  It’s a whole new world.  He had two fistfuls of cars that he carried with us around the beach.  He lovingly laid them out and described each one to me in great detail.  I learned a lot in that quick, rapid-fire tutorial!

Osman and Amina were staying on the beautiful North Shore.  They were on a relaxing Hawaiian vacation thoroughly enjoying this rare moment to take a breath and enjoy their family.  They had never really had their pictures taken professionally and were so struck by the beauty around them, they wanted to remember their Oahu vacation with photographs. We might have set a record for the fastest booking ever.  Their vacation was coming to an end and we had less than 24 hours and an island-wide rainstorm to contend with, but we pulled it off.  We set it up all in a day, and we didn’t short-change anything.  We hand-picked the best location, and I was able to share my family guide which helped them pick out outfits that complimented them and the natural beauty around them.

I have really fallen in love with photographing families on vacation here on Oahu.  Having been born and raised in Hawaii, I am so proud of these islands.  I love being able to take a family and show them a place that most don’t ever get to see.  The rain was hitting the North Shore pretty hard so we went to one of my favorite spots along the northeast shore.  I live for the moment my families see their photos and I get to see or hear their reactions.  But I also love when families step out of the car and see where their photo shoot is taking place.  We started off with a few whimsical photos in the woods but then we stepped out onto a completely empty beach with ivory white sand and overhead,  rosy fingers of light from the setting sun stretching out over the sky.   Osman was struck with visible awe as he looked around and he firmly claimed that it was even more incredible than I had described and I had done quite a bit of bragging =).  I loved that I was able to show them a hidden piece of tropical paradise, especially since I knew they were traveling back to their home in wintery Illinois the very next day.

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Aren’t they sweet?!?

One thing you may not know about me is that I changed day jobs just about 2 years ago.  Prior to that, I worked for the police department.  It’s not something I broadcast often since it doesn’t come up when you’re chatting photography, weddings, and family photos. Usually, clients and I chat a bit and we exchange stories about where we grew up and what awesome things there are to do on Oahu.  But on this particular afternoon, Amina was worried that her shy 4 year-old wouldn’t cooperate.  Even as they arrived in the parking lot, as soon as the car doors opened, I heard a plaintive “noooo. no beach. no photos.”  Ah, poor thing.  I reassured his parents that this was going to be just fine.  I’m a children’s photographer…and a mom of a stubborn 3 year-old, it’s not my first time at the rodeo.   I have my magical ways.  So, fast-forward fifteen minutes later and and we had him jumping and laughing.  Every moment was picture perfect.

Osman and Amina also said that they had promised Ismaeel a small LEGO helicopter kit for being a smashing handsome model for us.  Helicopters?  Again, mom of girls here.  So Ismaael began regaling me with story after story about helicopters and I paused and said “well, you know, I’ve ridden in a helicopter.”  He stopped mid-sentence and stared at me in disbelief.  So I continued…”I used to work for the police and I had to take aerial photos from a helicopter.  It was super cool.  It didn’t have doors and I had to sit on this small bench and lean way out to take photos.”  There was another half-second of silence and then he had leaped off Amina’s lap and sprinted over to me, excitedly asking me questions and then jumping into stories of his LEGOs without waiting for an answer.  I’m pretty sure that’s the moment I really won him over.  Later, long after they returned home, Osman emailed me and said that Ismaael still remembers me as the one “who took photos from a police helicopter without a door!”

So, this is for you, Ismaeel!!!


Honolulu Police Department helicopter and pilots

Our courageous pilots. They kept us safe!

Honolulu Police Department Crime Scene Unit

This is me and my coworker, Garrick, getting ready to fly. See, I am not kidding about the “no doors.”

Inside the police helicopter

Just the view from our little bench in the back.

aerial view of Honolulu

A birds-eye view. To get your photos, you had to lean out to get the best photos.

Aerial view of Oahu's landmarks

Pearl Harbor on the left and Kualoa Ranch on the right. Do you see any residual impressions from a certain movie on the right? Godzilla left his mark behind.

At first, it was pretty nerve-wracking.  It was a tight fit, we weren’t sitting in big comfy chairs.  It was a small bench with two lap-belts.  And you had to lean out of the chopper to take your photos. But soon, the adrenaline chased away any fears and you just marveled at the sights.  People pay hundreds of dollars to go on helicopter tours and here we got to go on these up-close and personal flights around the island.  We flew right over the Pali and Koolau mountains and then would circle up around North Shore before heading back to the airport.  It was incredible.  I was super fortunate to be one of the few people in my unit who didn’t get air sick so I volunteered as much as possible.  Heck yeah!!!  Nowadays, I couldn’t be happier taking photos of sweet families, with my feet planted firmly on solid ground.

Keao is a Hawaii family and wedding photographer available on the islands of Oahu and the Big Island.  She loves books, chewy chocolate chip cookies, is unable to keep from rambling when writing, and would love nothing more than to be able to tell your story with beautiful images.  If you would like to schedule a family photo shoot or book one of her amazing wedding packages, email her today using the contact form above or emailing  keao@keaosphotography.com.


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