The best Oahu photoshoot locations for families fall into two main categories:
The windward (east) side of the island is known for its lush greenery. Just think of Jurassic Park bc it was filmed there! Kualoa Ranch is where Jurassic Park was filmed and you can get those same mountains in your family photos.
The other more common location is the beach. But not every beach is created equal. The number of people in your family and the ages of kids will big the biggest factors in deciding the best location for your family photos.
The next question is for Oahu photoshoot locations is sunrise or sunset? Its widely known that the best time for photos on the beach is an hour before sunset and an hour after sunrise. The sun hangs low and the shadows are long which makes for soft, flattering light. And there’s a lot less crowds at a 6am on the beach.
But can you imagine being photo ready by 5:50am? And your whole family photo ready, and chipper?? That sounds miserable. And that’s why I personally avoid sunrise sessions at all costs.
If you’re looking for the best beaches to spend the day with family, I have a special list just for you! Check out my Best Beaches for Families here.
Table of Contents for Oahu Photoshoot Locations
Have you thought about family photos while you’re in Hawai’i?
Its photo season year-round here in Hawaii and I want you to take advantage of it!
Take home the bright skies, warm air and blue water to relive it over and over because you’ll never experience this place with the kids these ages ever again.
This is your one shot. Take it!
As the ringleader of my own 4 boy circus, I know how hard getting family photos can be. I’m here to change that.
If I could dress your kids and literally hang your family photos on your walls, I would …but I can’t, so I do just about everything else in between. That’s why I take the time to hold your hand from start to finish.
Because what good are family photos if your kids never see them?
I only accept two families a week, so if you have dates, reach out to Alison Bell, Photographer now.
What to look for in a beach Oahu photoshoot locations for families:
- Soft, walkable sand
- Few crowds
- Relatively easy parking
- Pretty water
- Palm trees for variety
- Easily accessible
- Close to where you’re staying
This is very similar to my favorite beaches on Oahu for families to enjoy.
My favorite places for photos on Oahu check almost every one of these boxes!
Best Family Photoshoot Locations Oahu:
- Lanikai Beach – Windward
- Kualoa Regional Park – Windward
- Ko’Olina Lagoons Or Paradise Cove – Leeward
- Ala Moana Park -Honolulu
According to Hawaii Magazine, Lanikai Beach is regularly named one of the most beautiful beaches in the US. The water is always bright turquoise, the sand is soft and wide and the surf is gentle. The view of the Mokulua Islets islands just off the coast adds to the beauty. Its definitely one of the best Oahu photoshoot locations.
This beach sits behind a residential area of Oahu that is several blocks long. There is one way in and one way out. Parking is very limited – street parking only. While it may not require hiking over rocks, you may need to park 5-10 minutes down the road and walk. The water is gentle enough to even kayak to smaller islands off shore. Just be careful bc the smaller island is a bird sanctuary.
Being on the windward side of the island, there are no sunset views. But the sunrises are spectacular!
The beach can get pretty crowded in the evening but its wide enough without high rise buildings in the back ground to work around canoeing teams and beach walkers.
I have a full write up no Lanikai Beach with all the details.
Kualoa Regional Park
Kualoa Regional Park is my favorite family photoshoot location in Oahu with mountains! The views of the mountains from here are on point. You can see several photo sessions happening at one time most days.
The weather is super tricky. No matter what the forecast says, dark clouds could be hanging over the mountains on an otherwise sunny day. It can rain at any moment!
The session above was one of those days – mostly nice, but dark clouds over the mountains and rain. But the photos are still beautiful.
The park itself sits on the Kanehoe Bay and has many amenities – palm trees, grassy fields, Chinaman’s Hat in the bay, and toilets! Its field is wide enough for sweeping views without fear of cars or crashing another family photoshoot.
If you have time, check out my top things to do a Kualoa Park.
Kahala Beach Park
Kahala Beach is located just on the other side of Diamond Head State Park from Waikiki. Its got the same soft sand and gentle surf of Waikiki but with a lot fewer crowds without a long drive. It faces East so there are no epic sunsets, but the blue waters and palm trees along the beach are on point.
KoOlina Lagoons Or Paradise Cove
KoOlina Beach is actually a series of 4 man-made lagoons surrounded by soft sand, grassy patches with palm trees and walkable sidewalks. What makes this Oahu photoshoot locations so great for family photoshoots is the variety and easy access.
Each lagoon is calm water and features a food stand. Between each lagoon is a wide grassy knoll with tall palm trees. This area is super calm and far less crowded than Honolulu and Waikiki. I would 100% come here for a vacation with kids.
The lagoons are commonly thought to be private hotel property. Its not. All four lagoons are open to the public. There’s actually 4 different hotels in KoOlina with access to all of these lagoons. On the downside, it can be crowded since there are so many hotels onsite.
A close alternative location is Paradise Cove just a few miles away.
You can see the sunset from the first Lagoon and paradise cove. There’s lots of variation with scenery and that’s why its one of my favorite location spots.
If you are staying on the leeward side, or even central Oahu, KoOlina or Paradise Cove are great options for family photoshoots.
Ala Moana Park
This is not my favorite Oahu photoshoot location, but its amazing how far you can feel from the city while still be in the middle of Honolulu! Not to be confused with Aulani Disney Resort & its lagoons – Ala Moana Park is a large city park and beach with lots of parking, grassy fields, palms, rocks and long beach.
Ala Moana Beach park is a man made peninsula and large seawall that makes Magic Island. This is a great place to have access to toilets, food options and stand up paddle boarding.
This park is huge. Parking is free in designated areas and there’s loads of shaded green space when you get your fill of the beach (is that even possible?!).
BEWARE: There are long stretch of Ala Moana Beach that are super rocky. Before you park, make sure you’re not near all those rocks in the middle!
Oahu Photoshoot Locations Wrap Up
There’s several factors to consider when choosing your location. The biggest factor is your own family. You know your family best, and you know what aesthetic you want to remember or hang your walls for years to come.
The bottom line is there are many options and considerations. Your photographer should be able to ask the right questions, make great suggestions and offer and caveats that might exists.
If you’re not sure you’ll have time for family photos while in Hawaii, just remember the photos will last far longer than your trip… or a souvenir.
More Oahu Location Resources for Families
I'm a USMC spouse, South Carolina native, recovering homeschool mama of a 4 boy circus. They've taught me the most important facet of family photography: KEEP IT FUN!