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Destination Photography: A Kauai'i Photoshoot

Kauai'i, Hawaii

As a midwest photographer, location envy is very real. The plains of Kansas and the urban cityscapes are beautiful, don't get me wrong, but when it comes to beach photography sessions, my creative eye is drooling with the fresh possibilities. It's like being an artist who only uses acrylic, but then discovers oils for the first time. I wanted it! I needed to experiment for myself. This was my time to capture something entirely new.

In September 2023, my mom said she wanted to do a girl's trip somewhere tropical to escape the winter weather that would be dumping on us in February/March. This said girl's trip quickly turned into a "couple's trip" as our partner's voiced their desire to come as well. I, being the ultimate planner, quickly researched several dreamy locations, all while keeping in mind that I would want to take a day or two to capture some local couples for my portfolio.

a close up of a heavily bejeweled hand grasping her partner's forearm

Thus, we shortly settled on Kauai'i. I had found amazing flight deals and the perfect AirBnb on the north-most shore. I began making numerous posts in various photographer groups for a model call on the island. Everyone who travels to these gorgeous locations hopes to capture portfolio, so it was a delicate balance between respecting the locals, their livelihood, and the land, while still hopefully obtaining some images for my own portfolio.

Throughout this planning adventure, Drew and I (that lovely partner I mentioned) went RING SHOPPING. MULTIPLE TIMES. So the stakes became a bit higher for our Kauai'i trip. Your girl was potentially getting engaged.

Two weeks from our departure, I met the lovely and immaculate Magdy of Magic Photography Kauai'i. I was sweating a bit by this point, because I so desperately wanted to capture a model or two while on the island! Luckily for me she had seen one of my posts, and wanted to model for me and bring her boyfriend along. She was even eager to exchange services! I quickly set up a Zoom, and we talked like long lost friends for nearly 2-hours about our businesses and the trip, and all the girly details. She was radiant, funny, and so caring!!! I couldn't wait to meet my new friend and work together to make something beautiful.

Magdy, being our local guide, knew the perfect beaches for our sessions. Drew and I's session was first. She met us down at the beach around 9:00am and we hugged like lost sisters. We started our session and I was doing my "model thing" when about 30 minutes in, when I was in the zone Drew came up on a rock beside me and proposed. I was crying - he was crying. We were all crying. It was magical and I was so happy Magdy was there to capture it! We had such an amazing morning just walking the beach and capturing photos!

Next it was Magdy and Danny's turn! We took a few hours for a lunch break and for her to go home and change and grab Danny, then we met up at a new beach. I was still riding my newly engaged high, but now I was sporting a bright red sunburn from our morning session. Whoops! The clouds were still holding out that evening, but luckily we only had a few sprinkles here and there.

a couple standing in the sand by the ocean's edge

Every part of this session was pure magic! I would've kept them there all night if I could. They let me experiment with some new editorial-type posing and new techniques that I had been waiting to try out!

I can never thank these two enough for their support and their time! It truly is my favorite feeling in the world to meet amazing people and create art. The laughter, the overall wholesomeness of their love, the friendship extended to a total stranger: it's one of the most rewarding things about being a photographer. We get to see and experience this everyday with our work. I thrive on it!

This was my first work "vacation" and I cannot wait for more! Being able to get out of my comfort zone with fresh locations and trying something totally new helped me grow as a person and as a photographer. Learning how to navigate tropical lighting and weather conditions, and even battling some sand was so vital to my journey to bigger and better things!

If you are considering a destination engagement, find a local photographer that knows the spots! If you're looking for a destination wedding photographer... I'm going to shamelessly plug my Destination Photography Bucket List. Land-locked photographers like myself offer great incentives when booking for destination photography because truthfully, we just want to go somewhere! If you don't see your venue on the list, contact me and I'll let you know if it is a bucket list contender!


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