• Perspective//Underwater (my version of a COVID-19 update)

    Happy Aloha Sunday! What a week. I started writing this as an IG post on Thursday, but it got really long, so I decided to write a blog post. I clearly don't update this regularly, partly because I've been planning to change things up for years, and just haven't made the time. I can't remember when I last logged in here...and just saw a message that the entire platform will be shutting down for good in a couple of months, so that will force me to build something new. :)
    I took a long social media break at the beginning of the year, it was lovely. I spent the last chunk of January in San Francisco, visiting my good friend who is having her first baby in a month. :) I hiked around Mori Point and Land's End, explored Sutro Baths, the Presidio and Marin Headlands, saw some bison, rode some cable cars, and even had my first surf of the year at Linda Mar. It was wonderful. I love the bay and have since been making moves to see if I can realistically expand my business over there. During the trip, I was also mentally preparing for what I knew would be a challenging February. Perhaps one day I'll share details, but suffice it to say, February was the hardest month of my life. I am fully aware that I've had a fortunate life, but everything is relative. And after being inactive, out of water, and in semi-isolation basically all month (on top of a whole host of other things), I was so excited to gradually re-enter society, just in time for the world to go into lockdown.
    These are crazy times. Since last Saturday, I had a wedding and four sessions scheduled, and fortunately the wedding went beautifully, and all but one couple were able to make their trips/sessions, and the weather (usually the main stressor in my work life) somehow cooperated! But also this past week, in the span of 3 days, all of my work for the next 3+ months vanished. *Poof* As much as I was shocked and worried about not having an income for the foreseeable future, it was heartbreaking to hear about the huge life milestones being canceled or indefinitely postponed. I love my job and feel fortunate that I get to help people document amazing moments and memories in their lives, which is why communicating with everyone took an emotional toll. Weddings, honeymoons, babymoons, family reunions, all canceled. I know how much time, effort, and heart went into planning all of these events, and I could only imagine being on the other end.
    *I'm not writing this to complain, or for sympathy. What's happening around the world is DEVASTATING. I'm extremely worried about our elder and immunocompromised populations, and I personally don't think we're doing enough to protect everyone. I also know that aside from the horrendous health crisis, there are far worse places to be and people and industries that are struggling much more. I truly feel for the restaurant and visitor industries, all artists and small businesses, and let's be real, I feel for humanity right now.
    I'm simply sharing this for solidarity's sake. We are in this together, and we will get through it together. Let's continue supporting each other in ALL THE WAYS. I truly believe that we can come out stronger on the other side if everyone steps up their kindness game just one notch. I loved seeing the infinitely long IG story repost string of "Artists Supporting Artists" that my studiomate Gavin (Reckonshop) tagged me and all of the other Lana Lane Studios artists in. I so appreciate the hilarious memes, the SF Create Night cancellation email referencing toilet-paper-based cryptocurrency, the challenging and comforting conversations about social distancing, the group chats keeping us connected, the uplifting stories of people helping people. They give me hope. And laughter goes a long way right now.
    On Tuesday, I jumped in our (now-closed) pool because there was a south shore brown water warning and I needed to be in water. I got my dive mask and was hanging out underwater looking up, watching raindrops fall. I grabbed my phone and started taking photos (iPhones say they're waterproof but my speaker didn't work for a few hours after, so I don't entirely recommend this). This isn't a reflection, but a tree shot from underwater. I sent it to my friend in the middle of our text conversation about social distancing, and she said, "Love that pic! So totally how life feels right now." I replied, "Do you mean it feels artsy and mysterious, or like drowning?" She "haha'd" it but never answered the question. ;) Talking to another friend on Wednesday, I said that usually I love it, but right now it would be nice to not live alone, and she (wife and mom of 2) said, "I would LOVE to be alone right now!" :D I guess the grass is always greener. She told me she'd kill all 3 of them by the end of the week. We laughed really hard and I said I should offer my mom friends my place for a few hours when I go to surf or hike. She said that if I did, everyone would get divorced.
    Keep the humor coming, friends. And the kindness. Compassion goes a long way right now, too. I know this post was a mixed bag, but I hope to share positive messages while also keeping it real. I'm excited because I may *for once in my life* actually catch up on editing!!! Once I do, I plan to create a print shop. It's been on my to-do list for years, and what better time than now. Feel free to hold me to it. I know by the time it's ready, no one will have money to buy prints, but I'll gladly accept the aforementioned crypto. ;) Sending love and light and virtual hugs. #keepyourdistance
    **I'd like to give a sincere THANK YOU to everyone providing essential services right now to keep us going...from police/fire/security to grocery store workers to delivery truck drivers and everyone in between, and especially ALL medical professionals. Thank you forever.
    (Sorry for all the --- I can't remember how to create paragraphs here) *facepalm emoji*
  • Kai + JB | Lanikuhonua | Hawaii Wedding Photography

    Kai and JB planned their Lanikuhonua destination wedding from Virginia, and I was surprised to learn that their wedding was also their first time visiting Hawaii. They are two of the sweetest people and fit in so well here - I mean, her name is Kai! - I just assumed they had a long history with the islands.

    The fact that they planned their wedding sight unseen made everything more impressive, especially all of the beautiful details they incorporated into their day. Much credit goes to the L-4-Love team who coordinated and decorated everything perfectly. My favorites were all the French Bulldog details to represent Kai and JB's beloved pup Poey who couldn't make the trip but was definitely there in spirit. The escort cards, cake toppers, chair sign, and even Kai's socks for her reception Chuck Taylors were all Poey-themed. So adorable.

    My favorite part of the day was Kai's sister Ailah's speech that turned into a surprise song and dance performance with Ailah singing, their dad playing ukulele, and Kai's three nieces dancing hula to "Lava." Their mom used to say "I labba you" to them, so when they heard this song the similar sounding words reminded them of her. It was the most beautiful, heartwarming performance, and I doubt there was a dry eye in the crowd. I can't confirm because I had a difficult enough time trying to photograph it through my tears.

    Kai and JB, thank you for having us along on your supremely special day. Wishing you love and happy times forever and ever.

    Mahalo to these wonderful vendors! Coordination: L-4-Love | Venue: Lanikuhonua | Flowers: Sayuri Floral Design | Hair & Makeup: Face Art Beauty | Cake: A Cake Life | DJ/MC: Bliss DJs | Videography: Small Hour Films | Food: The Catering Connection | Rentals: Accel Party Rentals


    This is the "Lava" song. I can't wait to see the video that Small Hour Films captured. <3


  • Erin + Jonah | Kualoa Ranch Paliku Gardens | Oahu Wedding Photography

    I met Erin and Jonah at the beginning of the year when we got together for their fun engagement session on the scenic slopes of Tantalus. When I heard that Jonah packed Erin's stunning engagement ring all the way to South Africa and proposed to her while they were on safari, I knew we would be fast friends. I love meeting fellow adventurers and I soon discovered that these two are also really great people.

    Erin and Jonah's gorgeous August wedding at Kualoa Ranch was filled with perfect moments. From Jonah's funny Christmas/wedding card that had Erin in tears to their heartfelt vows to their cousin's beautiful serenade and their friend's breathtaking fire dance, every moment of the day was incredibly special. What stood out the most was how Jonah kept Erin laughing the entire day, without even trying. It was obvious that these two make a perfect pair. Congratulations Erin and Jonah! Wishing you a lifetime of love, laughter and adventure!

    Mahalo to these wonderful vendors! Venue: Kualoa Ranch | Coordination: Premier Events by Michelle | Hair & Makeup: Cheryl Hazelgrove | Flowers: Watanabe Floral | MC/DJ: Bliss DJs |  Videography: Honolulu Creative Media | Cake: Tiers of Joy | Catering: The Catering Connection 

  • Kahina + Daniel | Lanikuhonua, Ko Olina | Wedding Photography

    When Daniel turned to see his bride, his expression said it all. Kahina looked absolutely stunning, and Daniel looked...speechless. Their wedding was full of so much love. Love for each other, love for their family and friends, love from their family and friends, love everywhere. Imagine love as a thousand beach balls in the air all evening; everyone passing them around so they never hit the ground. (No, there weren't actually beach balls, and yes, I need to work on my analogies.)

    Many people contributed special details to Kahina and Daniel's wonderful day: bridesmaid Kawehi Wight sang a beautiful rendition of Na Leo Pilimehana's Rest of Your Life as Kahina walked down the aisle, family members played music during cocktail hour and dinner, and Kahina's cousin (and pastry chef) Justine Perkins created their wedding cake. As an extra special groom's gift, Kahina gave Daniel a custom surfboard with his Contrast Magazine logo on it. His expression when he saw the board was almost as great as when he saw Kahina. :)

    Congratulations Kahina and Daniel! Wishing you all the love and joy of your wedding day, forever.

    Mahalo to these wonderful vendors! Venue: Lanikuhonua | Coordination: Say I Do by Karisa | Flowers: Su-V Expressions | Hair & Makeup: HairMakeupBeauty | Video: Enlight Studios | Photo Booth: Photo Ops Hawaii | DJ/Sound: Status Entertainment | Food: Haili's Hawaiian Food | Rentals: Accel Party Rentals

  • Ke'ala + Danny | Lanikuhonua, Ko Olina | Oahu Wedding Photography

    Ke'ala and Danny's wedding day was absolutely beautiful. They got ready in separate rooms at the Ko Olina Marriott Beach Club, where they first met nearly a decade ago when they both worked at the hotel. 

    Their stunning wedding at the ever gorgeous Lanikuhonua Cultural Institute was the perfect place to bring together Danny's family from the midwest and Ke'ala's family from west Oahu. Congratulations Ke'ala and Danny! Wishing you, your pups, chickens, and tortoise a lifetime of love!

    Mahalo to these wonderful vendors! Venue: Lanikuhonua Cultural Institute | Coordination: Aloha Bridal Connections | Hair & Makeup: HairMakeupBeauty | Flowers: Watanabe Floral | Cake: A Cake Life

  • My sister got married and it was pretty much the best day ever.

    I've been looking forward to my sister's wedding for as long as I can remember. Growing up, I can't say I ever had grand visions of my "dream wedding," but my sister's wedding, that was another story. She is the glamorous one that always looks flawless; I'm the one that always looks like I just finished a hike. I've been waiting my whole life for her to get married, most excitedly the past three and a half years since she got engaged, and when it finally happened it was everything I imagined and more.

    I don't know how she and Warren pulled off the most stunning wedding with such a short planning time frame, but they did! They created a beautiful, intimate celebration full of special details. Family helped with everything from the shuttle snacks made by our grandma and sister-in-law, to the rolled paper crane favors our mom brought back from Japan. Our brother and my boyfriend also set up the gorgeous ceremony site.

    Huge thanks to our dear family friends for allowing Erin and Warren to use their stunning Tantalus estate for the ceremony, which was even more special because our brother got married at the same spot almost two years ago. A big mahalo to the talented Leslie Fair who worked her hair and makeup magic while keeping us laughing the whole time, and to Blake Entertainment Hawaii for creating Erin's beautiful bouquet and setting up the stunning reception decor at the Halekulani Hotel. Chef Vikram Garb created the most amazing seven course dinner that had all of us speechless at some point during the night. It was truly an incredible day and night filled with love.

    One of the best decisions I made as sister-of-the-bride was encouraging Erin to hire a photographer. ;) We discussed having me shoot the wedding and I'd figure out how to get in a few family photos, but the more I thought about it I knew I wanted to be present and a part of the day rather than trying to document everything. She's my only sister and I'd looked forward to this for so long! She agreed and discovered the incredibly talented Kylie Martin, who through some stroke of luck was free with a month's notice.

    While it was wonderful not being responsible for photos that day, of course I couldn't help myself and took a lot anyway. Thanks to Kylie and Amber for being so nice and not minding me shooting from the background. These are some of my favorites...I know I'm a biased younger sister, but really, brides just don't get prettier. :) Check out Kylie's post to see her beautiful photos!

  • Estee + John | La Pietra | Hawaii Wedding Photography

    Two of Hawaii's finest got married last weekend. And I don't (only) mean good looking. Estee and John may look like models but they're actually local firefighters, and really fantastic people. Their wedding at the stunning La Pietra campus located at the base of Diamond Head was beautiful in every way. Their family and friends poured so much love into creating their dream day, and it really shined. Congratulations Estee & John! I can't say enough nice things about you two and your wonderful families.

    More photos to come! Mahalo to these wonderful vendors:

    Hair & Makeup: Leslie Fair | Flowers: Ann Nakata | Cake: Tommy Shizuru (the groom's uncle!) | Videography: ARIA Studios | Bar service, Lighting & Sound: Island Event Logistics | Band: Kuikahi | DJ: DJ Frizel | Rentals: Accel Party Rentals

  • Ashley + Jason | Wedding Previews | Oahu Country Club & Punahou School

    Ashley & Jason's wedding was truly beautiful and heartfelt. I was honored to document their day and I loved the sentiment behind everything...from the heart sewn into Ashley's dress from her dad's aloha shirt, to Jason's mom officiating the ceremony. It may have rained most of the day, but this wonderful couple didn't let that dampen their parade. And, there's no denying that lush Nu'uanu Valley blanketed with low misty clouds was absolutely breathtaking.

    More photos to come! Mahalo to these wonderful vendors:

    Coordination: Simply Detailed | Venues: Oahu Country Club & Punahou School Thurston Memorial Chapel | Hair & Makeup: Slywia Farley of MoxyMe | Music: Jon Yamasato | Cake: Cake Works | Photobooth: Photo Ops Hawaii | Lion Dance: Gee Yung International Martial Arts | Accel Party Rentals

  • Jana + Stephen | Hawaii Wedding Photographer | Ko Olina Resort

    Jana and Stephen's wedding was beautiful, love-filled, intimate, and completely their own. I loved how they created a day that celebrated their love and their unique personalities. They did everything together, from planning to dress shopping to getting ready. It was the first time I saw the groom helping the bride into her dress and it was so fun and really special.

    The weather was bright and perfect for their Sunday morning wedding so we took advantage of the beautiful Ihilani Hotel and beach. It's strange to think that this Ko Olina resort is now closed and Jana and Stephen's was one of the last weddings there, ever. Bright, midday portraits can be challenging, but we made it work. They are a lot easier when your subjects are having the best day ever. :)

    Jana and Stephen have a fun and playful relationship and they wanted their day documented naturally, without too many posed portraits. I was so honored to be there to capture the moments of their special day. I have many favorite shots, but I really love the one of them walking out of the gazebo after saying "I do." Holding hands, Jana is beaming and looks likes she's saying, "Yeah!" and Stephen is throwing a shaka and smiling so big his eyes are closed. Totally happy, totally in love.

    Thank you to these wonderful vendors!

    Hair + Makeup: Leslie Fair

    Bouquet + Cake flowers: Watanabe Floral

    Cake: A Cake Life

    Centerpieces: Paiko

  • Post-Wedding Beach Shoot | Diamond Head, Hawaii

    We did this beach shoot after Val and David's amazingly fun wedding while I was still riding a celebration high. They only had a few busy post-wedding days before they returned to California, but we managed to meet up for 30 minutes of sunlight on their last day home.

    I recently saw their stunning wedding photos taken by the talented James Moes (whom they flew in from Seattle) and it brought the whole day back...smiles, laughs, tears, shots. ;) And a whole lotta love. Their whimsical fairytale wedding was coordinated by L-4-Love, and no detail was overlooked.

    As a bridesmaid, I took a bunch of getting ready and pre-ceremony photos, but I have little documentation of the reception because I was having TOO MUCH FUN.

    Val and David, thanks for being awesome and getting married and making each other even more awesome. And thanks for being ridiculously good looking, too. Love and hugs forever.

  • Bridal Shoot at The Modern Honolulu

    I walked into the brightly lit corner suite at The Modern Honolulu and met Kacy for the first time, on her wedding day. She was already glammed up and Jaime was working on positioning her curls into the perfect updo. Kacy looked absolutely stunning. *Flash forward: We became Instagram pals and I found out that this is how Kacy looks everyday, sans updo. Seriously. Flawless. AND, after asking for her list of vendors I found out that Kacy did her own makeup that day. It all makes sense now! I'm so impressed.

    The room was filled with excited eyes, heartfelt hugs, flying champagne bubbles, and lots of laughs…largely provided by Kacy's hilarious MOH/stylist, Krystal. Krystal is a new mom and let's just say there were a lot of laughs surrounding that fact. All four of these ladies looked incredibly gorgeous.

    We made our way to the pool deck and I had the fun challenge of staging shots to make it look like we were the only ones there, despite it being midday on a Saturday. The weather was perfect and bright, and Kacy caught the eye of every sunbather. 

    En route from the pool to the lobby we stopped for a photo in front of Morimoto’s ornate restaurant door. As the ladies situated themselves a man opened the door to exit the restaurant, saw the group, and quickly closed the door. We thought, oh how nice, and took a few quick shots. When we opened the door to let the man out we realized it was the Iron Chef himself, Chef Morimoto. Kacy was thrilled and I snapped a photo of her and the chivalrous chef.

    After seeing Kacy and her ladies off in their stretch limo, I headed to the ceremony site to take photos for my friend and amazing wedding planner, Lauren Smith. The L-4-Love team did a fabulous job transforming the historic Bishop Museum into a beautiful, feminine reception site full of sentimental vintage details. I especially loved the wedding photos of Kacy and Eric's parents and grandparents. It was such a sweet way to include and pay respect to their families, and the guests clearly loved looking at them too.

    Coordination: L-4-Love

    Videography: Pan n Tilt

    Flowers: Lins Lei Shop

    Hair: Jaime Yue Takahashi

    Lighting: Island Event Logistics

    Catering: Tanioka's

    Cupcakes: Bent Fork Foodery