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10 Photography Tips and Tricks From Hawaiʻi Instagram Influencers and Photographers

Up your Hawaiʻi photography game with these 10 pointers, contributed by Instagram Influencers and photographers who know the Islands best.

Photographing Hawaiʻi and its many natural marvels is easy. Point your camera, click the shutter and you should have a beautiful photo. But there’s nothing wrong with wanting to improve—and the Islands are a great place to do just that. Here are 10 pointers on how to take the perfect picture, provided by 10 photographers and Instagram influencers who have garnered thousands of social media followers with their captured visions of Hawaiʻi.

@threeifbysea (69.9k Followers)

Have an open mind. You’re on a tropical island; relax and throw your plans out the window. When you’re shooting in Hawaiʻi the weather can go from sunny to rainy to sunny in a matter of an hour. Having an open mind and being flexible is key to enjoying and taking the best pictures you can within a given time here. 

@andystenz (4.8k Followers)

My top tip for all my photography friends who visit Hawaiʻi is to buy a circular polarizer filter. Not only will it give your sky deeper blues, but it also cuts the glare off the ocean which results in richer colors. I never go out without one.

@elanaloo (48.2k Followers)

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How do you rest & recharge? ☼ I find being out of my routine helps me unwind a bit and loosen my grip on things that have been weighing on my mind. I’m also wanting to invite more practices into my daily life that release me from being so tightly wound (monthly massages, cupping, acupuncture, talk therapy, more yoga — what has been life changing for you?)! ⠀ Maybe it’s this time of year or maybe it’s this year’s big project coming to a close — but I’m ready for slowness, softness, healing & resting! How about you? We have a bit more time here on O’ahu to relax before we get to take the new site LIVE & then celebrate the holidays! I can hardly wait ✴︎ #elanalootravels #oahuhawaii

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My favorite time to capture Hawaiʻi is at golden hour. I love when the warm light blankets everything and it all just seems to glow. This is a gorgeous time to capture flora and fauna or portraits and landscape imagery. If you’re shooting underwater, mid-morning is my favorite!

@wanderlustyleblog (62.1k Followers)

Depending on the location in Hawaiʻi, sunrise spots can get crowded, so try to get unique with the angles and, most importantly, have patience. 

@aaronjamesnajera (1.4k Followers)

Always ask or get permission. If you have never hiked to a certain waterfall before, ask somebody who has been to take you. If where you want to go has a fence around it, find the owners of the land and ask permission to take photos of their property. Make sure that it’s OK to be where you are when you’re hiking, or when you want to go off the beaten path.

@drewmeek (4.2k Followers) 

Following the rule of thirds will give your photos great composition. Also, have fun. You’re in one of the most beautiful places in the world, you can’t take a bad photo! 

@jacobosterrr (1.6k Followers) 

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Candy colored mornings in East Oahu 🍧

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Weather data is super helpful when it comes to predicting colorful sunsets and sunrises. The higher the cloud ceiling, the higher the chance beautiful colors will be created!

@makana_weiss (14.2k Followers) 

Get up, get out and shoot. Bring water and enjoy. 

@tburt50 (11.1k Followers) 

Shoot on weekdays when the beaches are less crowded, and shoot one to two hours after sunrise to capture the dramatic shadows created by coconut trees. Also, always turn around, some of the best shots are actually behind you!

@holoholoyolo (5.2k Followers)

My best tip for capturing great shots in Hawaiʻi would be to start early and end late. Starting early means you miss a lot of the crowds, plus you get to experience a beautiful sunrise. Ending late lets you witness the sunsets during golden hour. 

BONUS: @oahujc (3.4k Followers/HAWAIʻI Magazine's 21st Annual Photo Contest Grand Prize Winner)

You can take some really great photos simply with a smartphone. The most important part, regardless if you use an expensive DSLR camera or a phone, is remembering the moments through your photos and reliving them each time you see them.