Sunrise vs. sunset photography sessions in Hawaii

Why Sunrise vs. sunset photography sessions

It’s not easy to choose between Sunrise vs. sunset photography sessions. Here in Hawaii, the sun is bright and powerful starting at 1- 1.5 hours after sunrise up until 1 – 1.5 hours before sunset so I work my sessions into the times where I know the gorgeous Hawaii sunshine will be working with you, not against you! I want you to look your best and I also want you to get a gallery of gorgeous images that look like the work you see in my portfolio.

This is why I only have photo sessions twice per day – sunrise and sunset. It isn’t that I can’t do a session at other times of day, it’s that I understand that the light at those times is harsh and unflattering. So now that you understand why I limit my session to these times, let’s talk pros and cons of Sunrise vs. sunset photography sessions.

Sunrise Photography Sessions


  • Expect an empty beach! Perfect for those who would prefer as few people around as possible because the beaches are at their emptiest at first light.

  • Beautiful, soft light. Sunrise light is often very flattering because it gets filtered through the clouds over Mauna Kea.

  • Your sessions is done first thing in the morning so get to enjoy the rest of your day without stressing about an evening photo session.

  • If you’re coming from the East Coast, you may be up super early anyway during the beginning of your vacation – so sunrise may be perfect for you.



  • Set your alarm! You’re going to have to get up early for this one. In the summer months, we’re talking a 5:30am start time. In the winter months, it’s a bit more reasonable 7am.

  • Some beaches aren’t open at sunrise so your location choices are limited. (But don’t worry, they’re still beautiful!)

And here are a few beautiful images taken at sunrise!


Sunset Photography Sessions


  • Golden light EVERYWHERE! The sunsets in Waikoloa are world famous. The sun sets directly over the water so your session will be filled with gorgeous golden light.

  • The skies are at their most dramatic at sunset. Where sunrises are usually a soft blue sky, at sunset if the clouds are just right you may just get some cotton candy skies full of color.

  • There are more location options at sunset since almost all the beaches in Hawaii are open until the sun goes down.



  • In the summer months, sunset is late in the evening and may require a one-time adjustment in the schedule of little one’s. I recommend a nice long nap in the afternoon and back-up snacks to avoid melt-downs.

  • Beaches are popular and busy at the end of the day. I’m used to skillfully navigating the crowds but prepare for there to be more than a few people around.

And here are a few beautiful images taken at sunset!


I hope this helps as you are deciding whether to schedule a sunrise or sunset beach session with me. No matter what you decide, I’m there to answer all of your questions and guide you to have the best session possible.


Ready to work together?


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