Practical Advice from a Seasoned Wedding Photography Pro

Practical Advice from a Seasoned Wedding Photography Pro

bride and groom getting married in the maui jungle while muscian plays ukulele

So you have decided on coming to Hawaii for your wedding! Congratulations on making that big step! Having been literately to thousands of Maui Weddings and Maui Elopements, with 19 years of being a Pro Maui Wedding Photographer, I thought it might be a good idea to share some of the things I have learned and witnessed over the years.

Planning – Of course your Maui Wedding Coordinator who will help you with making some of these decisions, but advice from a pro can definitely help! Generally the whole wedding day is timed around what time the sunset time is on that particular day.  Find it out and write it down. Some of the BEST advice I can give newlyweds is to have LOTS of extra time AFTER the wedding and BEFORE sunset. Especially if you have a big wedding. The bigger the wedding, the more time you need here.

From the photographer perspective, we have a lot of things we need to get done in this time allotment,. This includes the group, family, wedding party and romantic pictures BEFORE the sun goes down. The MORE time you have after, the easier it will be for the bride and groom. More time allows not only enough time do all must-have pictures, but also, and very importantly,  time with their important guests and maybe enjoy a cocktail at their own cocktail party.

Upon arrival on Maui, here are few tips to get you ready and be prepared for wedding day. First thing is you need to find out where the venue is and also actually put a stop watch from your hotel to the venue considering traffic and the time of day. Certain times of day on Maui are much busier then other times and can delay your getting their or your guests getting there on time.

Be prepared with everything bought and ready to go with you, so on your wedding day you are not last minute scrambling for some silly little thing. I have seen this happen and literately become a disaster. Once the groom forgot the rings locked in the safe on the west side of the island and the wedding was on the south side. The hotel was about an hour and half drive, and he had to talk security into going into his room, go into safe and then drop off with a taxicab. Upon arrival at the wedding, the groom had to pay the taxicab for driving the rings across the island. 

Upon arrival in Hawaii,  make sure you where your SUNSCREEN or wear clothes to block the sun effects! Especially for a Maui beach wedding. This is really important, and here’s why. Yes its possible to change and fix photos completely in post production, but this is time consuming and can add serous extra costs. Actually, in some images it can be almost impossible to fix. At a recent wedding, the bride had gotten really sun burned and her dress showed one entire shoulder and it was literately hundreds of images. 

Again speaking from an actual experience where the bride was staying in a luxury hotel, drinking large quantities of alcohol and NOT drinking water and no lie, passing out just before saying her vows! DRINK PLENTY OF WATER! The hot Hawaiian Sun can get REALLY HOT and if you are not used to it getting dehydrated and passing out can be a real thing.

Here’s a good tip that gets overlooked EVERY time I go to the brides room to do getting ready pictures. CLEAN YOUR ROOM! Every time I go to the bride’s room I ask people to help clean up. If its a room where the bed has been slept in, you have to make the bed as any pictures taken in that room will be hated if the room is a mess! Sometimes the room just takes a few minutes to straighten up which is no big deal. BUT I have also seen a room where a tornado hit with the bride with ten bridesmaids all getting ready at the same time and everywhere I pointed the camera, there was unsightly “STUFF” in the background. No one likes pictures with lots of clutter in them. 

Here’s some good advice. Communicate with your photographer. Tell him or her or (ME), what you like, what style of images you love and the most desired image you can imagine hanging on your wall. Equally important, tell your photographer what you DON’T like! I generally try to also always ask what my clients want, but recently I had a a bride and groom that preferred most of their images had them looking straight into the camera. This style of images is one that is not as common and I didn’t actually learn of their preference until after the wedding. That’s why communicating with your photographer is so important. You can also make a list of MUST HAVE PHOTOS of guests that are really important and perhaps of a certain style photograph that you love.

For this reason, I really enjoy social media as it is not only a platform for the CLIENT to get to know the photographer, BUT also for the PHOTOGRAPHER to get to know the client. Add them on Social Media early so that you both have plenty of time to see and get to know each other before the wedding day. I LOVE making friends with my clients well beforehand so I can know who they are and what they LOVE!

Plan your Maui wedding day with real world timing with actual REALISTIC times that make sense. Most often the coordinator will help you with this, but many times, my being the photographer, I’m given rather UNREALISTIC times to do a whole bunch of things  that can take much longer then the time allowed in the timeline. Being realistic in this and planning can make the whole wedding much easier.

As a pro, I’m looking at being as efficient as I can be throughout the wedding day and one of the BIGGEST time consumers is doing the Group and Family Photos. Assign a family member to gather all family in one spot. That way, once we are working with the family we can quickly get through all of these images, not leave anyone out and NOT use up valuable reception time. Another HUGE time killer is doing pictures with every guest. Do a friends picture with everyone and then individual images with just your closest people. 

I have heard this SO MANY TIMES! “It’s the brides day she can do what ever she wants!”

NOT TRUE! Once at a Luxury wedding at the Fairmont Kea Lani, the bride decided that since it was her wedding she could come down to the wedding on her own sweet time. She was more then an Hour Late! Not only were all the guests seated, waiting in the hot Hawaiian sun, but because she was so late we were forced to do all the family photos right after, all the while watching the SUN Slipping under the horizon, and sadly, they DIDN’T get sunset images at their own wedding. Most often, Maui Weddings are planned with specific objectives in mind, and my job is to hit the timing perfect making the wedding flow perfectly. 

Being late for the wedding can also be difficult on the other vendors that are planning on a certain time , say the hot food plated and served to the tables. Sometimes the coordinator can easily adjust, but once the sun goes down it gets dark fast the people who suffer the consequences are going to be the bride and groom as we will most likely do all of the family photos and wedding party photos in the dark. 

Here’s perhaps my biggest tip of the day! GO WITH THE FLOW!

Recently I had a wedding that had been planned for more then a year. Of course, the bride and groom had expectations of what their destination wedding day was going to look like and of course, I have high expectations on my capturing amazing imagery my clients are going to love! This particular day however, the wind was blowing 30 MPH, with a bit of rain thrown in. The bride was absolutely gorgeous with the most amazing dress and her stunning hair done perfectly. Of course it was unfortunate that the weather had turned out that way and not what I wanted being the professional, and of course not what the couple had dreamed of. We made the most of the day still got great imagery.

My point is that going with the flow is perhaps the most important advice one can get on their wedding day!

If you were expecting Apples, but get Oranges, change your mindset and LOVE ORANGES.  I have literately seen the bride call off the wedding until the rings were delivered an hour and a half later and every guest sat around looking at their watch.  On the flip side, I remember a bride and groom who embraced the sudden rain storm and start dancing completely soaked with HUGE SMILES on their faces, laughing at the situation.

The choice is yours on how you  perceive your wedding day! It can be either the most amazing day ever, (NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS) or a nightmare. Making the most out of your wedding day and keeping that positive attitude will ALWAYS bring beautiful and memorable results!

bride and groom embracing in the Maui forest
bride in wedding dress with veil on the balcony of the Westin, maui, Hawaii
happy maui wedding couple, laughing, maui wedding photography
happy maui wedding couple, laughing, maui wedding photography
happy maui wedding couple, laughing, maui wedding photography
bride and groom getting married in the maui jungle while muscian plays ukulele
backlighting at maui wedding at beach, maui wedding photography, Mauis Angels Weddings
backlighting at maui wedding at beach, maui wedding photography, Mauis Angels Weddings
backlighting at maui wedding at beach, maui wedding photography, Mauis Angels Weddings
bride and groom at Makawao Union Church with palm trees
bride with bouquet sitting in front of a fountain at the Four Seasons Maui Resort
bride in wedding dress with veil on the balcony of the Westin, maui, Hawaii
bride in wedding dress with veil on the balcony of the Westin, maui, Hawaii
bride in wedding dress with veil on the balcony of the Westin, maui, Hawaii
bride in wedding dress with veil on the balcony of the Westin, maui, Hawaii
bride and groom getting married in the maui jungle while muscian plays ukulele
maui bride in her wedding dress at the White Orchid Beach House
bride with bouquet sitting in front of a fountain at the Four Seasons Maui Resort
bride and groom getting married in the maui jungle while muscian plays ukulele

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Tad Craig Photography  |  715 Hana Hwy, Paia, HI 96779  |  808.579.9571  |  Established in 1999

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Maui beach wedding

Maui beach wedding

  • Everette and Joe enjoying the married life! Coming from the east coast and having never been to Hawaii before they were both loving their stay at the Grand Wailea and their picturesque wedding location on Wailea Beach! Such great chemistry these two have! Thanks for making TCP part of your Maui Memories!🌴😎😄🍾🎉💍👍🏼
  • Thanks to Marni of Maui’s Angels for planning this sweet wedding! Also thanks I am U for hair/makeup, Sunya’s Flowers!
Everette and Joe enjoying the married life! Coming from the east coast and having never been to Hawaii before they were both loving their stay at the Grand Wailea and their picturesque wedding location on Wailea Beach! Such great chemistry these two have! Thanks for making TCP part of your Maui Memories!
Best Friends Becoming One On A Maui Beach

Best Friends Becoming One On A Maui Beach

My friendship with Julie and Theo had started long before their wedding as they had started following me on social media, liking and commenting on certain images. I too had followed their IG account and noticed the excitement and anticipation building as the wedding got closer and closer. These two met riding horses in California, and their passion for horses made them move to Kentucky where they now have their own horse breeding ranch. This love of horses, led the two to becoming best friends and now they are marrying each other on the beautiful beach in Hawai’i.    

FINALLY, the day arrived and they were ever so excited! Julie was truly floating on cloud nine as she was getting ready for her girls and popping the bubbly! Their room at The Grand Wailea, was magnificent with such an amazing view of the beach with palm trees and the Pacific Ocean blue as far as you could see. After we had finished all the getting ready pictures we headed down to beautiful Wailea Beach.  Kimo Kirkman was the minister extraordinaire  who not only had them laughing just about every second, but also brought tears to their faces as they said their vows! Very touching! Kalani Miles serenaded them afterwards with his amazing guitar picking!

Once they were finished with all the beach and family pictures, we made our way to White Rock Beach where we found the gorgeous bougainvillea plants adding an intensely colorful background as they enjoyed tender kisses as husband and wife! On the beach, Theo spun his wife and the reaction on her face was priceless! They scored one amazing sunset and once finshed there we continued the journey to Gannon’s restaurant, where the super fab DJ Dan introduced the loving couple to an eager crowd who clapped, hooted and hollered as they walked in!  What an amazing night they had and THANKS to them for including Tad Craig Photography in their Maui Wedding Dreams! 1_Tad_Craig_Photography_Grand_Wailea 2_Tad_Craig_Photography_Grand_Wailea 3_Tad_Craig_Photography_Grand_Wailea 4_Tad_Craig_Photography_Grand_Wailea 5_Tad_Craig_Photography_Grand_Wailea 6_Tad_Craig_Photography_Grand_Wailea 7_Tad_Craig_Photography_Grand_Wailea 8_Tad_Craig_Photography_Grand_Wailea_Wailea_Beach 9_Tad_Craig_Photography_Grand_Wailea_Wailea_Beach 10_Tad_Craig_Photography_Grand_Wailea_Wailea_Beach 11_Tad_Craig_Photography_Grand_Wailea_Wailea_Beach 12_Tad_Craig_Photography_Grand_Wailea_Wailea_Beach 13_Tad_Craig_Photography_Grand_Wailea_Wailea_Beach 14_Tad_Craig_Photography_Grand_Wailea_Wailea_Beach 15_Tad_Craig_Photography_Grand_Wailea_Wailea_Beach 16_Tad_Craig_Photography_Grand_Wailea_Wailea_Beach 17_Tad_Craig_Photography_Gannon_s_Restaurant 18_Tad_Craig_Photography_Gannon_s_Restaurant 19_Tad_Craig_Photography_Gannon_s_Restaurant 20_Tad_Craig_Photography_Gannon_s_Restaurant 21_Tad_Craig_Photography_Gannon_s_Restaurant 24_Tad_Craig_Photography_Gannon_s_Restaurant 25_Tad_Craig_Photography_Gannon_s_Restaurant 25_Tad_Craig_Photography_White_Rock_Beach 26_Tad_Craig_Photography_White_Rock_Beach 27_Tad_Craig_Photography_White_Rock_Beach 28_Tad_Craig_Photography_White_Rock_Beach 31_Tad_Craig_Photography_White_Rock_BeachThanks to Leah of Island Wedding Memories for coordinating this fine wedding, Meili Autumn Beauty for hair and makeup, (Randall did Makup) Reverend Kimokirkman, Dan Of DJ Dan Maui, Kalani on ukulele, Brian on video and Maui Floral Elegance for her bouquet! All the pre wedding was at The gorgeous Grand Wailea, wedding was on Wailea Beach, the reception at Gannon’s Restaurant and sunset pictures on pretty White Rock beach! ‪#‎islandweddingmemories‬ @islandweddingmemories ‪#‎mauifloralelegance‬ ‪#‎maui‬ ‪#‎mauinokaoi‬ @lahainawarriors_3 @grandwailea @gannonsmaui @bevgannonmaui ‪#‎gannonsmaui‬ ‪#‎grandwailearesort‬ ‪#‎grandwailea‬ @mauidano @kalani36 ‪#‎julieandtheo‬

Honeymoon Session at Wailea Beach

Honeymoon Session at Wailea Beach

Honeymoon Session at Wailea Beach

Honeymooners May and Junichi came ALL the way from Tokyo, Japan to visit the Hawaiian Islands for the first time & celebrate being husband & wife.

What an awesome couple these two are! May so stunning in her incredible dress and vivacious personality she had me rolling with laughter. Of course this is exactly what a photographer is looking for. A subject beaming with personality showing real moments!!! These two just made each other laugh as they whispered in each other’s ears & playfully teased each other. With a huge smile on her face, May was having so much fun taking pictures on the beach. An absolute joy taking pictures with them.

On this particular day the waves were huge & breaking at times VERY close to where we were. Unfortunately I had one of my lights in harms way and one BIG wave came in all the way to where we were standing, I actually saw my light stand float for a second, before it toppled over into the water. Was a bummer for me, especially since I had to buy a whole new unit, BUT the bright side of this ordeal was that was able to upgrade to NEW equipment which is now working MUCH BETTER for me.

The sunset on this day was pretty amazing & they were in “awe” with the beauty they were experiencing.

Congratulations to this happy couple honeymooning in tropical Maui! Thank you so much for hiring me as I’m very appreciative! Enjoy the images!

Much Mahalos to Yoko Naito , their event coordinator, from Maui Dream Vacations in upcountry Maui, for planning this beautiful session for them. Also, thank you to Flowers by Cora ( http://www.kiheiwaileaflowersbycora.net ) for her gorgeous bouquet and haku lei!

2_May_Junichi_Wailea_Beach_Tad_Craig_Photography_Maui_Destination_Photography 3_May_Junichi_Wailea_Beach_Tad_Craig_Photography_Maui_Destination_Photography 4_May_Junichi_Wailea_Beach_Tad_Craig_Photography_Maui_Destination_Photography 5_May_Junichi_Wailea_Beach_Tad_Craig_Photography_Maui_Destination_Photography 6_May_Junichi_Wailea_Beach_Tad_Craig_Photography_Maui_Destination_Photography 7_May_Junichi_Wailea_Beach_Tad_Craig_Photography_Maui_Destination_Photography 8_May_Junichi_Wailea_Beach_Tad_Craig_Photography_Maui_Destination_Photography 9_May_Junichi_Wailea_Beach_Tad_Craig_Photography_Maui_Destination_Photography 10_May_Junichi_Wailea_Beach_Tad_Craig_Photography_Maui_Destination_Photography 11_May_Junichi_Wailea_Beach_Tad_Craig_Photography_Maui_Destination_Photography 12_May_Junichi_Wailea_Beach_Tad_Craig_Photography_Maui_Destination_Photography

Honeymoon session at Wailea Beach