Photos are THE best way to relive memories, and your vacation to Hawaii will be worth every click of the camera. Whether you’re a hobby photographer, professional photographer or social media photographer there are ways to create unique photo opportunities that make for great pictures and also great adventures along the way. With smartphones completely transforming the photo process, it’s now easier than ever to click, upload and share your vacation with everyone back home. So with all the time you’re saving not having to load your camera, develop the film, then sort through all the junk, why not get creative with some photo ops during your Hawaiian vacation? It’ll provide some entertaining days and some even better stories for friends and family back home!

To make the process a little easier, we’ve thought up a handful of our own unique ways to capture moments. And just because you’ve seen it done before doesn’t mean YOU can’t do it again yourself! Or, try spinning off our ideas and come up with your own. Either way, don’t let those wonderful photo opportunities pass you by, especially when you’re in Hawaii.

Holding the setting sun

This is only successful when you stop trying to get people’s faces to light up with a flash. You need to embrace the silhouette. It makes for a more beautiful photo anyways. Try facing your back to the camera and holding your arms loosely above your head with your hands in an open V. Your photographer will move you left or right, up or down till they get the sun directly centered between your palms. Another fun one is “pinching” the sun, which again takes your photographer positioning you perfectly. Or, for a romantic photo, have a couple stand equal distances from the sun (the sun should be in the middle of the couple), facing each other, and leaning in toward one another for a kiss.

Cradling Diamond Head

You can achieve this best on a beach in Waikiki, or on a boat overlooking the city. Both have equally great views of Diamond Head. Similar to the sun pictures, you’ll be doing some trick photography to make it appear as if you’re right next to Diamond Head. You can try “leaning” up against the mountain, “cupping” it in your hands, or circling it with your arms. While spectators might think you’re a bit loony, you won’t be ashamed once you have that perfect shot captured on your camera.

Underwater Photography

Obviously you’ll need an underwater camera for this one. But there are so many great photo ops when you’re underwater, it’s like a whole new world opens up for your photographic eye! If you’re swimming amongst fish, try holding your breath and swimming to the bottom, then glide parallel to the bottom while looking up to the surface. Your photographer should be able to get a photo of you swimming amongst the reef fish in this shot. Another good one is to run rocks. Find a rock that you can pick up, but that weights you down to the bottom. Bear hug the rock and then run on the bottom of the ocean. It makes for a great photo of you running underwater and a great workout! Also, posing underwater isn’t like posing on land- there’s no gravity so you are weightless! Experiment with crazy poses from yoga, jui jitsu or just you being silly. Lastly, a half in/half out of water photo is always beautiful. These work well as up-close headshots, or for just capturing the beauty above and below the ocean’s surface.

Hobby in Hawaii (yoga, dance, music, etc.)

There’s nothing like bringing a little bit of YOU to Hawaii, so let loose and be yourself- even if there is a crowd! If you’ve just accomplished a great hike, take a photo at the end of it in a pose that best describes you. This can be a yoga pose, dance move, jumping picture, air guitar jamming, silly face, or whatever best describes your hobbies and/or personality. Taking these photos at the top of a mountain, overlooking a cliff, on a park bench, or in the sand are great stories to share and will have your friends saying, “I want to take a picture like that!” (As you stand in warrior pose 1 at the base of a tumbling waterfall).

Hawaiian Signage and Statues

Hawaii has tons of interesting signage around the islands. Things like “don’t feed the nenes”, “speed hump”, and “cold coconuts” adorn the public streets and make for funny photo ops that give people a glimpse into the local life. There are town signs that are popular for photos too, like the surfing wahine and kane wooden signs in Haleiwa, and there are also famous statues that are ideal for photos, like Duke Kahanamoku in Waikiki. Whenever you see a sign or statue that piques your interest, pull over and make a moment out of it. You’ll be glad you did.

No Crowds

Everyone wants that ideal backdrop at the beach where not a soul is in sight for miles. But at most beaches in Hawaii this is hard to come by. However, there are ways to frame a photo so that it appears that no one else is near you… Try holding the camera at a high angle, so that it’s above beachgoer’s heads. This will give you a shot of some sand with a lot of sky, and maybe a pretty city skyline. Or, flip your camera vertically so the frame has more length as opposed to landscape. This works great for photos in the water, since you’re only trying to capture ocean, sky, and your subject anyways. Another way is to take close up photos of the sand, with your subject in the blurry background. This gives you a smaller space to work with (to crop out the crowds), but still achieves an interesting photo at the beach. And if none of that works, try the old adage, “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” and embrace the crowds. Maybe even make a few friends during the process! There’s nothing like a photo capturing the facial expression of an unsuspecting stranger getting an arm around the shoulders for a friendly photo op.


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