Hawaii Family Photographer – Jim Dierking // Big Island Family Photography, Hilo, Kona »

Hawaii Family Photographer – Jim Dierking // Big Island Family Photography, Hilo, Kona bio picture
  • Hi!

    I'm a family and intimate wedding photographer based on the Big Island of Hawaii, available from Kona to Hilo, Oahu, Maui and beyond!

    I'm really just a kid at heart. I enjoy creating photos with a genuine sense of love, playfulness and warmth. Rich colors and candid moments make me happy, and I would love to capture you through my perspective!

    Please let me know if there's anything I can do for you -- I'd be happy to hear from you!

    With thanks,
    Jim Dierking

The thing about parenting, is that there are just so many ways to do it.

There are parents who are cautious about their kids, and others who let them climb trees as high as they’d like. There are Moms who are totally adamant about getting “the shot” of their little ones, and others who don’t really care what I capture… so long as it looks nice. There are Dads who are goofy and have no problem hopping around like kangaroos, and there are also fathers who have no time for tomfoolery during a photo session.

Either that or they were just tired during the session and not in the mood to be Mr. Aloha, which I completely understand, fellow Dad. I just became a Dad 7 months ago, and most days I teeter between delirious joy and tired grumpiness.

Anyway, I feel as if basically all parents wear all of these parenting hats at least once in the day, and sometimes two or three at once. One of the things that I love about my work is that it gives me the opportunity to meet and hang out with a lot of different parents, and a lot of grandparents too. That’s a huge number of hats.

And if there’s something I’ve observed during my sessions, it’s that we’re all pretty much the same — none of us have any real idea of what we’re doing, all of us are trying our best, and for the most part, we’re all pretty darned good parents! We all do things differently, sure. We do things our way, what works for us. But it does seem to work.

Heck, we work. We work hard at being parents! And I like to think our kids — my daughter, although she is pretty young still — appreciate it even though they often might not jump for joy about it. It’s their tiny smiles, bursts of laughter and even grouchy cry faces that show how much they care… how much they need us. Knowing that is enough of a jump for joy for me!

Even just a serene, peaceful evening in a beautiful place, together with one another, is cause for celebration. And I feel as if that’s exactly what the Ho family had, during their session at the Four Seasons Hualalai. Their little girl was adorable (if a bit tired for the session) and we had a great time walking the beach, exploring and enjoying the setting Hawaiian sun.

– Jim

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Hey you. I have a photographer’s secret, and I’ll tell it to you if you promise not to tell anyone else. Okay, cool. Here it is —

Cloudy days are awesome.

Well, geez, I know, that wasn’t a huge secret. But every now and then I’ll arrive to a family photo session to be greeted by two things: cloudy skies and a slightly worried family. But fear not, friends! Clouds not only soften things up, creating darn near studio style lighting, but they also form the basis for incredibly textured sunsets. Because what’s a sunset without clouds, you ask?

A plain old gradient, like the kind you can make in Microsoft Paint, from purple-blue down to yellowy orange, with a blinding fireball-sun dominating everything. It’s beautiful to look at while you’re sipping a cocktail, or in my case a soda since I usually don’t drink, but it is honestly a little dull to photograph, and is usually hard to edit, just because it’s so bright and overpowering.

Clouds, though… mmmm, delicious clouds. The Leathers family and I had those, and then some. They were being awesome, playful and inspiring to capture, but the sky had me thinking, “Nice soft light but the clouds may block the actual sunset. Still looks pretty good though.” About 40 minutes into the session, however, it became obvious that we were about to see a pretty spectacular show.

Might very well have been the best sunset I’d seen in a while. It was a panoramic feast for the soul, with arching orange clouds, lit by a sun that had dipped below the curve of the Earth, Maui’s Haleakala in the distance. It is impossible to capture such grandeur with a camera, and at the time, heartbreaking to realize it. The entire island became orange and pink, and we just soaked it all up and enjoyed it. And best of all the Leathers family were wonderful to hang out with and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to share such beauty with — thank you so much, guys!

And I’ll close it up with a distant view of Maui, sandwiched between glowing clouds. 🙂

– Jim

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Beautiful, soft light for this session on the beaches of the Mauna Lani, on the Big Island. It was one of those times where I just looked up, at the trees and the sky beyond, and thanked the universe that I was there.

Looking up is great in general, actually. So we’ll start this blog post in that vein. 🙂

Random thought.

If I suddenly became very rich, I’d build two houses. One, a cozy cabin in the forest, and the other, a beach house large enough for my entire family to convene and enjoy anytime. I’d also buy my wife a new car, us a new truck, and for myself something ridiculous like an Ariel Atom. But after all of that, oddly enough the next material possessions I’d buy would be a $3000 pile of computer parts, so I could put together a new editing system. Not that my current system, which I built in 2013 (and rebuilt earlier this year) is bad. I just really, really love building computers.

Such joys include:

  • The excitement and fear of researching and ordering the correct parts!
  • Unpacking the heavy box full of said parts!
  • The clearing of a sizable work space that is free of carpeting and other static-causing material!
  • The slight terror of second-guessing if you applied enough thermal paste to your CPU, otherwise it’ll be non-functional!
  • The 6 hour process of installing all the programs you might use, and generally setting the system up so it works exactly like your last system!

Trust me, it’s fun. Thinking about it now, I actually don’t even know why it’s fun. But it is!

So when I was asked what kind of computer I use — PC or Mac — during my session with the Finchler family, I proudly exclaimed three words:


Well, I actually said something like, “I use a PC. Macs are good, a little over-priced, but I like building my own computers so I’m on a PC.” Turns out they’re a bunch of computer geeks as well, so it ended up being a great conversation.

And with that, and until next time, thank you for reading!

– Jim

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The briefest of looks at a fun family session with the Ayed family! While most of my sessions take place around sunset, mornings here are just as beautiful, and often times more convenient for people — especially when their three month old bundle of sunshine’s “witching hour” is precisely at Hawaii-timezone sunset. The Ayed family and I met up just a few minutes after sunrise and the session was smooth as could be.

It also gave me an awesome window into life with a young infant — a life that I’ve since been living! Being a Dad has been rad, and I hope I’m a rad Dad and not a sad Dad.

Uh, anyway, here are some photos!

A huge thanks to the Ayed family for letting me spend the morning with them capturing awesome photos!

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The air is full of STEAM and microscopic drops of RAIN, blown from distant clouds. The sun is out, but it is not enough to warm the chilly air. JASON and TAYLOR, a beautiful and charming couple, are warming themselves near the STEAMING VENTS, embraced in a light, loving hug.

There’s a cozy sense of closeness between them — in the way they joke around with each other, and simply just enjoy each other’s company — that is so palpable that it makes one question what “love” is, exactly.


It’s an organic thing that can be hard to express in photos. The raw connection two people can share. Something powerfully basic yet entirely other. The quantum physics of human emotion, two singularities connected by a bridge in space and time.


Jason and Taylor are standing on a road that has been covered by a black lava flow years ago. The sun is setting behind them as they speak to each other in whispers we cannot hear. Where the black rock meets the road there are bright green shrubs, and where our two heroes stand there is a glow of warmth and love.

It’s the feeling you get when you lock eyes with the one you’ll marry, when you just know it. Or when you hear your baby’s cry for the first time. Your insides turn upside down and flip all around, your mind trying to make sense of everything. But “love”, that most basic human emotion, doesn’t usually make much sense, and despite all of our best attempts, it always defies explanation.

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A LIGHT RAIN begins to fall, as if by magic. There are no substantial clouds overhead so it seems to come from thin air. Strong GUSTS OF WIND imply its origin — rain clouds that are entirely out of sight. The temperature drops slightly, and Jason and Taylor retreat to a lava rock still warm from the day’s shining sun.

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Love is a magical, contradictory, confusing and beautiful thing. Whether it’s the embrace of your significant other after a day at work, or the first smiles of your infant daughter, or even just a purring kitty cat, it arises from many countless things outside of yourself. And yet it’s also a choice that you make, that comes from a single place — from within yourself. To be loved, you must love in return, and the more you give, the more you will receive. If you learn to love yourself, deeply and from every angle, others will learn of it too and love the real you.


We dissolve to a distant, TELEPHOTO shot of Jason and Taylor standing on a grand field of black lava rock, staring into each other’s eyes with high intensity. A large hill is behind them, itself covered by black rock, flowing in frozen rivers like chocolate syrup over an ice cream sundae. Jason and Taylor stand nearly motionless.

And then, one day, if you open your heart and mind to everything this universe has to offer, you’ll stumble upon someone truly special. The connection you share will be instantaneous, and on the most fundamental level you can imagine. It will be something powerfully basic yet entirely other — The quantum physics of emotion, two singularities connected by a bridge in space and time, fields of gravity locked in orbit. This person will make you want to be better, and will help you do that just as you will help them with the same. You’ll be in a true partnership, filled with understanding, care, depth and humor. You’ll know it when you feel it. You’ll look back at all the bad times you went through to get there, and you’ll realize that it was all for a purpose; to forge you into the person you were meant to be. You’ll be where you should be. You’ll be in the best place of your life. You’ll be in love.

Slow dissolve to…


Deep clouds have formed above the CASTLE where Jason and Taylor stand side by side, holding hands. They are looking into each others’ eyes, reflecting on the connection they share, and in that moment, TIME STOPS and the world is frozen — frozen for them.

Love is timeless, and theirs transcends all measurement. As they stand on the foundation of their lives together, they know that everything will be okay so long as they do it together. They know it because through the love they share, anything is possible. Time is still and the world is theirs.



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