Travel Photography

Hawaii Photography Tips: Top 10 Best Places in Hawaii

As a photographer, Hawaii is probably near the top of your dream travel photography list. To make the most of your time on the islands, it’s best to prepare beforehand.

Here’s a list of must-see Hawaii photography locations. We’ve also included tips to increase your chances of getting beautiful Hawaii photography shots.

Beautiful green mountains surrounded by ocean
Photo by Braden Jarvis


Sunset Beach and Pipeline in Oahu

This Hawaii photography location is where you’ll find long stretches of quintessential Hawaiian island beach views. In addition to picture perfect beaches, this is the spot to experience the local surf culture.

Kualoa Ranch in Oahu

Kualoa Ranch is probably one of the most popular Hawaii photography spots for visitors. That’s because it’s the backdrop for parts of the film Jurassic Park.

Besides its Hollywood connection, though, Kualoa Ranch offers lush, tropical valley island landscapes with green mountain views in the backdrop. It’s a private reserve and working ranch and is located outside of Honolulu.

Akaka Falls State Park in Hawaii

There are a few items that are on everyone’s Hawaii photography bucket list, and seeing a waterfall is definitely one! Akaka Falls State Park delivers two waterfalls in the midst of the rainforest near Hilo.

Akaka Falls itself is the star of the show, with a 442-foot drop. Thankfully, the hike to both falls on the island is very family-friendly.

Haleakala Volcano (Haleakala National Park) in Maui

To visit this dormant volcano in Hawaii, you can drive or hike your way up. This is definitely one of those Hawaii photography spots where you need to prepare for changing weather. A clear sky forecast will give you excellent views and photos into the far reaches of Maui.

Road to Hana in Maui

This famous 64-mile long highway stretches from Kahului to Hana. Curves, views, and stops along the way make this a drive that easily fills an entire day.

Especially if you want to stop for Hawaii photos at different viewpoints, you’ll want to leave plenty of time to explore the Road to Hana.

Seven Pools of ‘Ohe’o in Maui

One Hawaii photography stop on the Road to Hana should be the Seven Pools of ‘Ohe’o. These are seven swimming holes that are connected by small waterfalls. The hike to the island pools is about 2 miles long and can be easily hiked.

Be sure to take in the surroundings. The pools are in the middle of jungles and bamboo forests.

Molokini Crater in Maui

An ideal spot for snorkelling, Molokini Crater is a partially submerged crater that is considered a part of Maui. This is a perfect spot to practice underwater photography!

Makapu’u Lighthouse in O’ahu

You don’t usually think of a lighthouse when you think of Hawaii photography, but the Makapu’u Lighthouse is a must-do hike.

The lighthouse is the easternmost point on O’ahu. The hike is a moderate 30-minute hike that promises beautiful views.

Garden of the Gods in Lana’i

Known as ‘Garden of the Gods’, Keahiakawelo offers an island landscape that looks otherworldly. With boulders, dry terrain, and big open spaces, Garden of the Gods also has amazing views.

It’ll be a rough drive up. You may want to consider renting a four-wheel-drive Jeep for your Hawaii photography adventure.

Na Pali Coast State Park in Kauai

The Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park is the best place to go for dramatic cliffs cut by steep valleys. You’ll definitely want to hike the Kalalau Trail. It runs through the entire park and will give you plenty of spots to stop for amazing Hawaii pictures.


Hawaii Photography Tips

Now that you’ve gotten a taste of the amazing travel photography opportunities, let’s look at some tips for capturing perfect photos in Hawaii.

1. Ask Locals

There’s no better way to really get to know a new town than by talking to locals. Often, you get information that is more updated than any guide book or website.

Locals can also give you tips and locations to visit that no non-resident would know about! Talking to island locals can also lead to creating friendships and opportunities to see how a local family truly lives.

Bring your camera along to any outing with locals because you’re bound to have unique photo opportunities!

2. Check the Forecast

Hawaii is all about nature. So it makes sense that checking the daily forecast is a must! From volcanoes to forests to surf, a shift in island weather can have a major impact on your experience and your photos.

Take a few moments in the morning to check local forecasts for whatever you plan on visiting that day.

3. Pack Light, yet Varied

Anytime you hit the outdoors to photograph, gear weight is an issue. You’ll want to pack lightly for all those long hikes to gorgeous island panoramas. Packing lightly does not mean packing very few things, though.

You’ll need gear that hits a balance between lightweight and versatility. Consider a zoom lens rather than primes. If you want to take a tripod, consider a lightweight material like carbon fibre.

Also, be sure to compare the folding size of tripods when making a selection. A tripod that offers more height will also offer more composition options.

4. Consider a Boat Tour

Going to an active volcano is a popular request for Hawaii photographers, but you’ll want to stay safe. Consider doing a boat tour to give you close, yet safer, access. You’ll still get amazing photo opportunities!


With so many amazing Hawaiian landscapes on the islands, it’s easy to see why Hawaii is a favorite for photographers. The locations listed above are a small collection of what the islands have to offer. But following the travel photography tips listed will make it easy to discover even more beautiful locations.