While you are the star of your photos, the time of day and location work together to set the mood. Below is an overview of my favorite times and places to photograph on Maui. Decide what works best for the look you are envisioning to help me create the best Maui photography experience for you!

Best Time of Day for Maui Photography

We start around 7.45am depending on the time of year and exact location. The day is new and fresh. The lighting is soft but also shows off the beautiful blues and greens that our island is known for. Beaches tend to be less crowded and windy. Doing your photography session in the early morning will ensure that you are well rested and give you the rest of the day to enjoy your vacation. If you’re not normally an early bird, keep in mind that due to the time difference and jet lag, most visitors report waking up before sunrise.

Photo sessions starting around 3:30pm provide the most vibrant colors, including the brightest blue in the sky and Pacific Ocean. If you want your pictures to feel sunny, happy, and full of life, this may be the best time for you.

If warm, glowing colors are what you’re after, sunset time may be calling your name. While it’s a very romantic time of day, sunset also lends itself to more moody and dramatic images. The blue of the sky can be more muted and turn to various colors, from yellow and orange to pink and purple depending on the day, and the ocean will appear darker as the sun goes down. Exact timing will vary based on the time of year and how much photography time you’ve chosen.

Favorite Locations for Maui Photography

P R I V A T  V E N U E S:


Haiku Mill

Old World elegance combined with lush natural beauty on Maui’s north shore makes Haiku Mill a dream come true straight out of a fairytale. This former Hawaiian sugarcane mill was built in 1858 and processed sugarcane for only 20 years before it closed.

The mill had been overtaken by vegetation when Sylvia Hamilton-Kerr bought it. She didn’t intend on turning Haiku Mill into a wedding venue but wanted to preserve this piece of Hawaii’s history. The property was restored, leaving just the right amount of rustic charm and greenery while adding elegant French-inspired décor that makes this one of the most romantic venues in the world.

Hotel Wailea

With only 72 suites on an expansive 15 acres, Hotel Wailea is considered the most intimate hotel on Maui’s south side. It also makes the perfect wedding venue for a couple who wants  to get married on a manicured lawn overlooking the ocean and have a classy indoor reception. After the ceremony, photos can be taken around the lovely hotel grounds or there are several excellent beaches just a few minutes away.

For the reception, the Grand Anuhea Room makes a luxurious and comfortable setting to celebrate with all your family and friends. The generous windows offer a captivating view and let plenty of light in, while the hardwood floors and stone walls lend themselves to any kind of wedding decor you can imagine.

Merriman's Kapalua
This farm-to-table restaurant overlooking Kapalua Bay has ceremony and reception locations to accommodate simple elopements to luxurious events with up to 200 guests. The grassy overlook is perfect for ceremonies with less than 40 guests, while the Kapalua Deck area can be dressed up for larger affairs. Following the ceremony, I take couples out to the expanse of lava rocks and tide pools right next to the water. It’s a spectacular place to soak in the just married feeling and The best epic Maui sunset view. { See more...}

merriman's Kapalua wedding photography perfect for sunset view

Olowalu Plantation House

The private beachfront location has ocean views of Lanai and Kaho`olawe, photogenic palms trees, a sweet house to get ready in, and lots of history. The town of Olowalu, located just south of Lahaina, was considered a place of refuge by ancient Hawaiians and later was owned by the sugar industry, which was once Hawaii’s primary source of income. The house was built in 1922 for the manager of Olowalu Sugar Company and was known as a place the community could come together. When the current owners purchased the property, they vowed to welcome others to enjoy this piece of old Hawaii, and thus many couples have been blessed to start their marriage at this tropical haven.

Kukahiko Estate

Kukahiko Estate is a private cove with an immaculate lawn, unbeatable views, and striking lava rocks that jut out to the sea. The house on property epitomizes modern island living and makes great backup in case of rain. Kukahiko means “gathering of the clan” and this secluded property in Makena is an ideal place to gather your loved ones together to witness your I Dos.

Surrounded by views of the ocean and Maui’s dormant volcano Haleakala, Gannon’s Restaurant provides beautiful budget-friendly location options for your Maui wedding ceremony and reception. The foliage on-site provides great scenery for photos, but we also have the option to take a quick ride to the beach while guests enjoy cocktails and appetizers.

P U B L I C  B E A C H E S  :

South Maui

Makena Cove
You enter through a pathway in a rock wall that you would most likely drive right past if you didn’t know it was there, and then you see an intimate cove with lava rocks, palms trees and greenery on either end, and the islands of Molokini and Kahoʻolawe in the background. For some reason, the colors of nature seem more intense here — the blue sky, dark lava rocks, the golden sand, and the green palm fronds. The elements combine to create an incredibly stunning space to capture your time on Maui. { See More...}

Maui honeymoon engagement portrait beach session at makena cove morning

La Perouse Bay
Those who don’t mind driving a little further past popular south Maui beaches will be rewarded with a dramatic landscape covered in black lava rocks framed by the ocean and green upcountry views in the background. This area is rich in history. Keoneʻoʻio Bay was the first place a foreigner ever landed on the island of Maui in 1786 and was thus renamed La Perouse Bay in honor of explorer Jean-Francois de Galaup Comte de Laperouse. Laperouse observed several small villages that were later covered up by the last recorded lava flow on Maui, which happened around 1790 and left a layer of jagged lava, called aʻa in Hawaiian.

Big Beach
Although this beach can be called Makena State Park or Oneloa Beach, the most common name is Big Beach. With its big stretch of sand, big waves, and big personality, the name fits just right. A cliff separating Big Beach from Little Beach, Maui’s infamous nude beach, allows for some aerial shots of you on the beach below as well as a stunning perspective while you are on the cliff surrounded by a touch of plant life and the brilliant sea. { See More...}

Maui trash the dress wedding photography portrait beach session at big beach morning

Poʻolenalena Beach
Lava rock outcroppings, palm trees, open space, plenty of greenery, and calm water makes Poʻolenalena Beach a clear winner. The name Poʻolenalena translates to “yellow head” and is said to refer to a rock formation with a yellow streak on its side that is actually located at the nearby Wailea Blue Golf Course. { See more...}

West Maui


Ironwoods Beach
One of my all time favorites, Ironwoods Beach is perfect for adventurous spirits. The beach boasts light colored sand, two stairway entrances, and a boardwalk edged in greenery, but the main attraction is the black lava rock cliffs that hang over the sea. When you’re standing on those rocks with no one else around and the waves give off misty salt water spray, it’s magical. There are lots of options for capturing different angles here and the wind creates movement in photos that will bring you right back to your special moments spent here on Maui. { See more...}

Epic ironwoods clifft view in kapalua for maui wedding photography


DT Fleming Beach Park
Named for the man who introduced pineapple to West Maui, this beach has soft sand, a great tree line at the back for natural shade shelter, and enchanting views of Molokai island. Lifeguards on duty make this an especially family friendly beach if you want to play around in the water. Lava rock cliffs here can be a little easier for climbing and enable you to see the entire beach and beyond.

maui engagement morning session at dt flemmings beach park at kapalua

Nakalele Blowhole
This rugged coastal locale is for those who want something different than a sandy beach and don’t mind driving and hiking around to experience this unique side of Maui. You’ll see otherworldly rock formations that make a breathtaking contrast to the ocean, salt water shooting up through the blowhole in bursts, and pose by a rock formation with a natural heart shape. Grassy areas and rolling hills are also available to add whimsical variation to this special place.

Beautiful day after wedding session for maui honeymooners

Maui’s North Shore

Kanaha Beach Park
If you want beach scenery plus a forest vibe, consider Kanaha Beach Park. This two-mile long beach has gorgeous views of the West Maui Mountains and is backed by trees that provide shade and a different backdrop. Frequently by local families and water sports enthusiasts, Kanaha is a true gem that most visitors don’t get to appreciate. { See more...}

kanaha morning session
 Maui bridal bohemian chic wedding inspiration

Stable Road Beach
The light colored sand and crystal blue ocean found here is a paradise dream come true. Mostly used by windsurfers and fishermen, this Spreckelsville Beach is off the beaten path of the regular beachgoer and often feels more private compared to other beaches on Maui. You will usually get to see several airplanes taking off since Stable Road Beach is located near the runway of Kahului Airport - fun for kids and those young at heart.

Beautiful morning wedding photography in stable rd beach paia

Baldwin Beach
Near the surfer hippie town of Paia, this wide, sandy beach park has amazing aqua blue water, greenery in the background, and beautiful lighting that is unbeatable in the morning. Baldwin Beach is great for long walks or runs and has strong shore break for experienced body boarders, making this a popular hangout. However even on the busiest days, there is no problem finding a secluded spot for lovely photos.

Gorgeous proposal photography Baldwing beach in the morning with Maui mountains in the background
Baldwin beach paia maui photographer portrait session