Before we even stepped off the airplane onto the island of Oahu I was eagerly anticipating a portrait session swap I had planned with a fellow A&J photographer a few weeks prior named Dana Arnold. (A&J: this the educational courses that I am taking and the huge group of incredible photographers that I am so blessed to be a part of!) Dana (See her work here!) and I had connected a few weeks ago when I mentioned in our group that I was vacationing in March with my husband to the island of Oahu. I had a feeling that we would be quick friends and was so right!
We met the third evening of our trip after a long tour of the beautiful Kualoa Ranch. Both Brian and I were a bit tired but that was not going to stop me from swapping sessions and meeting up with another A&J fan. We decided to meet up near our hotel by a gorgeous teal lagoon you can find in many of Dana’s shots. We met up a little earlier than we both anticipated and did some chatting while the sun dropped just a bit. We talked A&J, photography and cameras (duh), her incredible hubby who serves in the US Navy and is currently deployed, and the delicious food we were both looking forward to eating after our session.
Once the sun was where we wanted it Dana started shooting first. Friends, I have to brag on my fellow photographer for a second. I am not the most graceful person in front of a camera especially if It’s just me. I don’t mind if people look at me in a natural setting like conversations, or just hanging out but pull out a camera and aim it at me (just me) and shoot frame after frame and I start to get REAL awkward. Dana was so amazing at making me feel like we were just two gals at the beach hanging out. She gave me direction and made me laugh all while snapping the most natural and candid photos.
Toward the end Brian came over and it wasn’t hard for me to act totally smitten with him while she got some incredible couples shots in. This little trip was a honeymoon of sorts for the two of us since we didn’t get to take one after our wedding in January of 2017 so the fact that Dana did these couples photos for us was actually really special to me.
Next it was my turn. I was so excited to do my first portrait session and with a model like Dana I knew my pictures would turn out great no matter how new I am to photography. I did my best to implement all the techniques I have been learning in the classes I am taking. Get the best light, compose my shots, and try to give my client the best experience possible because at the end of the day it really is all about them.
I think we both ended up having an incredible time. It’s hard not to enjoy yourself when your backdrop is a sandy beach and serene aqua waters on the coast of Oahu. (whether you are in the photos or taking them)
When we were finished all of us agreed it was time to eat! We had pre-determined that our dinner choice was Outback Steakhouse and I was eager to get my favorite “chicken on the barbie” dish! (I am not a steak person please don’t yell at me.) We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves chatting over dinner and Dana had both Brian and I laughing hysterically at her anecdotes. As we shared a little more about our lives (my poor husband mostly listening as us ladies gabbed) I couldn’t help but be incredibly humbled and inspired by the life this woman lives. I am so in awe of the spouses of Military, Air Force, Navy, and Army personnel. My own husband does shift work and so I am used to going to bed alone for four days a week and maybe only seeing him 5 hours together during those four days. I can’t imagine a life where I don’t see my husband for months at a time and this is the reality for these men and women many of whom have children. I was so humbled by Dana’s zeal for living life and love for her business and serving others through her creativity. I left dinner that night feeling inspired and grateful.
I am so glad I had the opportunity to work on building my skill set while making a great friend! I am so grateful to be a part of such an incredible group of creatives! These are pictures I will treasure for years to come. If you are ever in Oahu look her up and book a session! You will not be disappointed!