Maui Photoshoot Locations
There are so many amazing locations on Maui! Each "side" of the islands has great options and some very different backdrops! Maui is divided into different areas in the local lexicon. I'll dissect them here for you and breakdown to some of my recommended locations for each side.
The ocean is constantly reshaping the beaches and moving sand around. I have seen rocks standing 2-3 feet out of the sand covered not even visible just a week later or vice versa. The tide and swell change daily. Understand that the rocks you may seen in a photo may not be exactly as they are when you come.
The weather on Maui is very localized and the forecast can change hourly. If it is raining where you are, that almost has no affect on wether it's raining 2 miles up the road. Often a tropical skiff will blow through and 5 minutes later pretend like nothing happened. We'll always do our best to make the most of the time, weather and location! I am based in south Maui, anything outside of that area I charge a $50 travel fee.
Kihei, Wailea and Makena
Nestled on the leeward side and morning shadow of Haleakala south Maui is driest part of the island. After crossing thousands of mile of ocean the warm trade winds rise from sea level to 10,000 feet and dumps all its moisture on the Hana side of the island. This leaves the best weather for us. Yes, we do get rain but we're sunny most of the year.
Keawakapu Beach/Ulua beach Park
Keawakapu is the Chile of beaches. It edges south Kihei all the way down to the Andaz in Wailea. There are 4 entrances from the Mana Kai on the north side, a "secret" sidewalk entrance at the bottom of Kilohana Road, middle entrance at the very end of South Kihei Road and ends at Ulua Beach Park fronting the Andaz Resort. I generally prefer to shoot at the middle South Kihei Road entrance or at the Ulua Beach Park Entrance. This location offers a long sandy beach, palm trees, a variety of lava rocks, a big drift wood tree, boardwalk and grassy knoll with a log "bench". Also on the other side is Ulua Beach which can be a great haven if the wind isn't cooperating with us. With higher tides, this beach and be a little narrow. The southern entrance has bathrooms, the north and middle have portapottys.
Polo Beach fronts the Fairmont Kea Lani and Polo Club in Wailea. This is a large wide beach that somewhat divided into two sides. The north end has some nice lava rocks and palm trees that make a great "Hawaii backdrop". The middle of the beach offers some lava rocks that depending on the sand level can be more or less impressive. The south end is usually the less busy end and has some great rocks that offer a decent size area for "tide pools" and a more rugged look.
White Rock beach (Palauea Beach)
Nestled behind some beautiful ocean front homes, White Rock beach could be your new favorite beach of catching rays. This location can be less busy than many of the others, partly because there is no resort on it and partly because many people don't know about it. Palm trees mark the north end and with lower tide allow some lava rock usability. The south end has greenery and rocks (that may or may not be traversable). This location can be a good back up on windy days because it sits back a little further than some other locations.
A south Maui gem! This beach is deep and wide with plenty of room for everybody. The north end of this location has a variety of rocks and capped by some large palm trees. The south end which is normally pretty empty has more lava rocks. This location also had some options with cool trees just north of the parking area that can be fun. There is also a "Secrets" back side to Po'olenalena. There is a path from the parking lot that goes over the north end rocks (can be a little rough for flip flops, and maybe fore small kids) but takes you to a fairly large hidden. The has a great magical cove and come large rock features. This back side is an unofficial "nude beach" usually staying to the north end, but it is possible you may run into some unclothed beach goers. If that is NOT your thing, you may want to avoid the back side. Generally we stay away from them and they avoid the camera, I haven't has any issues yet.
Maluaka Beach has been a low key location for the last few years, it fronts what used to be the Maui Prince and Maui Beach & Golf Resort. The resort was torn down and they are currently building a new resort. This can be a great location for sunset because it's usually pretty deserted by then. It's a large sandy beach with a few palm trees and lava rocks that are mainly not climbable. There is a grass "park" area atop the beach that can have nice views overlooking the ocean, Molokini or over to west Maui. This location does have 5 minute walk from the parking area, up a paved side walk past bathrooms, down to the beach.
The cutest and most picturesque beach on Maui! For this reason can be crowded. You may have seen this location on TV as it has been used in commercials and movies alike. The cove itself can't be more than 50 yards and features two "chutes" between lava rocks. On the north end, depending on the amount of sand, can be accessed and has rocks and tide pools that can be great for reflections. The south end is the "money shot", large lava rocks jutting from the sand with a flat top easy for standing with some large palm trees reaching overhead. Heading further south over the rocks sometimes (ocean and sand willing) there is a little more privacy and you may just get your own little slice of paradise.
Lahaina, Ka'anapali and Kapalua
The west side of Maui is the original tourist destination for Maui. This side of the island has beautiful views of the west Maui mountains which allows some rain to sneak through and can get a little more weather than south Maui. The closer to Lahaina you are the less wind you'll probably experience, then heading forth north (and as the islands turn to the open ocean) the trades winds can freely blow and bring warm tropical rain skiffs with it. I do charge a $50 for sessions on this side.
- Commercial activity including photoshoots are NOT allowed on Ka'anapali Beach
BAby Beach Lahaina
Somewhat under appreciated Baby Beach at the north end of Front Street in Lahaina is a great option for session for all ages. The beach gets it's name because of the reef that protects it from most waves. The south end is a perfect spot to bring your little ones with little fears of any waves ruining their experience. This area offers some great palm trees and views back toward Front Street. The north end of the beach comes to point and offers open ocean views as well as Lana'i . This is always a "back up" location for west side shoots. We can generally count on being able to find shelter from wind here. This is great for sunrise or sunset shoots!
Napili Bay has taken a beating the last few years. If the session will take place near high tide I try to steer away from Napili Bay. While being a cute little crescent shaped beach, this beach has lost a lot of sand and can be narrow in places. The south end of the beach fronts the Sea House Restaurant and is somewhat spacious and has nice views of the cove. Creeping to the south end (at low tide) there is a nice little nook with some rocks heading up to a large flat rocky area.
Kapalua bay is one of the more popular beaches on the west side. Another crescent shaped beach with lava rock outcroppings on each side. At low tide the south end of the beach has some nice lava rocks that are easily accessible but disappear as the tide rises, and has views of the palm trees over the north side. This location can be busy at sunset and sometimes pretty windy. There is a large grassy area above the north side that has great views of sunset, back toward Lahaina and over the ocean. For the more adventurous, there is also a path down to the large lava rock out cropping with some cool options for photos.
Ironwood is both my favorite and least favorite beach on Maui. From a hidden little parking lot you walk down a paved walkway to a long boardwalk overlooking the beach. This beach is never really busy, but can feel crowded if there are multiple photoshoots or weddings going on. There are a few primo spots, that everybody wants. The north end of the beach has some grand white rock cliffs. While the south end is the more popular end, it has some amazing rocks and cliffs that bode spectacular views over the ocean and even better when large waves crash into the lava rock cliffs and shoot water splashing high into the air. This location can be both easy for young families or super adventurous for couples who want to explore the landscape a little more. Now the reason this is my favorite is it's absolutely beautiful! Large white sandy beach, awesome rock cliffs and spectacular views and never busy. It's also my least favorite location because it's nearly always windy here. It's angle on the island has it wide open to trade winds. If your hair looking perfect is high on your list of importance, this is probably not the best location for you!
DT Fleming beach
Another under appreciated gem DT Fleming Beach has a lot to offer. It's another large spacious beach. It's nestled in somewhat of a Cook Pine forest it definitely has a different feel than other beaches on Maui. The north end of the beach has some rocks that are generally accessible and views of the open ocean , the far south end of the beach is almost never busy and has some rocky cliffs, that can be climbable and views of Moloka'i. If you are looking for a great sunset view then avoid this location in winter. The beach angle and location are not ideal for winter sunsets where the sun is far south.
Kahului and Paia
The north shore of Maui is a place of its own. Paia is a cute little surf town taken over by hippies. There's a lot of shops and restaurants worth checking out. I do only recommend a couple of locations and also time for north shore sessions. Generally a direct hit from the trade winds, the north shore gets a lot of weather all the time. I only recommend sunrise sessions. As the sun rises and day heats up so do the winds. Also, most of the year the sun sets on the other side of the island and it not really visible. I do charge a $50 for sessions on this side.
Located right by the airport in Kahului, Kanaha Beach boasts great views of the west Maui mountains. This beach is known for it's amazing kite and wind surfing, but in the morning before the winds pick up it's empty and beautiful. If you want a real kick in the teeth Hawaii view this is it. Beautiful blue water in front of million year carved valleys (I mean this is the "Valley Isle"). Not often seen by many visitors it's beautiful.
The crown jewel of the north shore just outside Paia Town Baldwin Beach lives up to the hype. You'll have to pass a line of huge palm trees almost a gate way to the fun. This is another huge beach with a lot to offer. Some forest and rocks at the west end and amazing west Maui mountain views to the east. Again I only recommend this location for sunrise, as the trade winds will sweep in ruin your hair as the day heats up.
There are so many places on Maui that can make for amazing photos! If you're looking for waterfalls, jungles amazing rock cliffs or forests upcountry we can make it happen! Send me an email and let me know what you're looking for! I'm happy to flex some local knowledge for an awesome location. Many of these locations will require a travel fee, unless booked under a multi-session adventure shoot! There we do a beach location and another for awesome variety!