Portrait Location & How to Choose

Choosing a portrait location can be difficult, especially where we live. Oahu is filled with a multitude of locations and it’s not always easy to know where to begin. The question we will aim to answer is “What look and feel do you want your photos to have?” Portrait locations don’t have to be a one-size fits all. Keep reading to see what your session can be:


This can be an open field, nature park, or a bright location with little to no busy-ness in the background like buildings.


Here I can offer a park with lots of green grass and tall trees. Giving you a more natural feel to the photos. You can also choose a field of wildflowers.

High Fashion/Urban

A downtown area with lots of big buildings, reflective windows, and metal accents is perfect for this aesthetic. Giving lots of contrast to the photos and the look and feel of a busy city.

hawaii wedding photographer


This can mean either old architectural buildings with wooden doors and big arches or it can mean a location where there are lots of vintage accents, like a neighborhood of restored or historical homes.

Warm & Homey

These words are a little broad but they can mean that the session can happen at a nice warm location like a field or during sunset at the beach. Homey can mean comfortable and relaxed, which can mean a location you frequent or even your own home.


Being in Hawai’i, we have a plethora of beaches to choose from. You can have a beach where the ocean meets the mountains, like Bellows, or you can choose the sandy lagoons.

bellows beach

Meaningful Portrait Location

Yes, this is an option as well! Especially for engagement sessions because it can be really meaningful to have the photo session at a location where you met, or where got engaged, or simply where you spend a lot of your time together. This is also important for those of you celebrating anniversaries or a really important milestone, like graduating from high school or college. The captions under the photos can show you what this may look like for you.

This land isn’t theirs, but it is very close to their home and they drove by it everyday. They wanted to have this area documented knowing they’d be leaving the area.
This session took place at Bass Lake. They come here every year for a tri-athalon and it’s always held a special place in their heart.
This couple graduated together from UCLA, so we held their engagement session here.

Other Considerations

If you are still having trouble deciding where to have your session, here are other tings to consider:

Home Decor
Another way to set a location for the portrait session is to find out what kind of home decor, theme, or color scheme you already have. This way, when it comes time to hang beautiful photos in your home, we can be sure that it won’t clash with the rest of the home.

Time of Session
Time can be a huge factor in choosing the right location. Some families need to keep nap times and energy levels in mind when scheduling a session. For example, if you need to keep in mind a little one’s nap time at 2 pm, we can choose to have the session in the morning or in the evening when the child(ren) is at their best. Depending on this circumstance, we will want to choose the location that is best suited to the time-frame that works best for your family.
Sometimes, the locations themselves will dictate what time we need to start. If you are looking for a more urban feel, we will want to do late afternoon rather than early evening. Regardless of the circumstance, whether it’s nap times or locations, we’ll find the BEST time for your session!

Peek at my Website
Chances are, if you are here, you’ve already searched around my website and seen some images you love. If you see a location on my that you’d love to have, just ask me where it’s at and if it’s nearby, we’ll get you scheduled!!

Still can’t decide? Why not let me choose?
Sometimes I have clients who are so excited to finally have family portraits scheduled that they don’t care, or some who are indecisive and want me to make the decision for them. When this happens, I choose a location off my “Bucket List” of places I want to use for sessions, but haven’t had the opportunity. I actually LOVE when this happens because it helps keep my creative juices flowing! In this case, I’ll send you some links/cell phone shots from my personal collection, and pick the timeframe for the best possible lighting.

Multiple Locations
Multiple locations are mostly reserved for my Senior and Engagement sessions. However, on occasion, we will schedule a Maternity or Family session with two locations. The determining factor for this is the proximity between the two locations. Most times, family sessions are easiest to keep at one location, especially if the kids are young. However, if there’s somewhere nearby that’s super special, but you don’t want the whole session to take place, I will work with you to make this possible. This often includes extending your time from 30 minutes to 60, but the results can be so worth it.

My goal is to help guide you in the right direction for YOU and YOUR session. As your photographer, I know that no two sessions are alike, so let’s work together to plan the PERFECT session with the perfect portrait location for you!

Still have questions about what portrait location you should use? Be sure to contact me so I can help!

August 9, 2020

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