Big Island Family Photographer | Jim Dierking | Family Photography in Kona, Hilo and Hawaii »

The Barcelo family are some of the nicest and most laid-back people I’ve ever worked with, and it was a great to see them here on the Big Island again! Our previous session was one of my best, owing much to their amazingly photogenic little boy and the very obvious love his parents have for him. Not to mention the perfect lighting we had!

So it was with great excitement that I had the chance to catch up with them last year, to see what kind of moments we could create together! Mom Barcelo had wanted us to focus a little more on solo shots of their son playing and exploring, which he is really good at, so we set off to do just that — strolling and skipping through Waialea Bay’s sand and tidepools.


Another reason I was excited for this session was because I had just come up with a totally new, improved method of editing, and I was thrilled to try it out with fresh photos!

My previous way of editing was pretty straight forward, and mostly based around a couple of techniques in Lightroom, my editing software. My new method is admittedly more finicky and less bullet-proof than what I was doing before, but the richness it provides (particularly with blue skies), with its butter-smooth transition from color to color, is unlike anything I thought was possible with the gear I use.

In my mind it’s all about what it always has been about — the pursuit of perfection.

Which I am pretty sure is a luxury car brand’s motto, but I’ll adopt it for this blog post. 🙂 All I’ve ever wanted is to be the best I can be, and to create beautiful photos with great people. A continual journey of growth and learning, for which I am extremely grateful.

Thanks so much to the Barcelo family for this wonderful session, and for you, for reading!


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Such a great evening on the Kona side for photography. 🙂

I’d arrived pretty early — early enough for the sky to be a deep, nearly “midday” blue, early enough to give me time to soak in the atmosphere of the ever-beautiful Waialea Bay — but not early enough to beat the Rengstorf family, who I spotted through the trees. I knew it was them from their appearance, dressed in simple, smart wedding attire, and over the next 90-odd minutes I’d have the pleasure of discovering that not only were they very smart themselves, but also kind, warm and full of humor.

It might have been a great evening for photography, but it was also simply a great evening in general.

A huge mahalo to the Rengstorfs for letting me be present for their beautiful day, and a thank you to Cheryl of Aloha Weddings in Paradise for a beautiful ceremony!


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There are some moments that I’d love to relive for the first time again, just because they were so amazing.

The day my daughter entered the world. The night my wife and I met. Drinking chai at dawn in Jodhpur. The Red Wedding in Game of Thrones (but not really…?).

One thing that always trips me out is the fact that, over my years of doing family photography, I’ve probably been a small part of many of these moments for others!

Okay — I doubt anyone would count hanging out with me as part of the all-time things they’d want to relive (I’m fun, but not that fun). But being in Hawaii, on the Big Island, on vacation with the people you love — that is a magical thing, worthy of re-living, and I’ve been blessed to capture it for others.

And so it was with the Kelso family, with whom I spent a single beautiful hour, photographing their own magic. 🙂

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For my daughter, Sharlotte. For my wife, Syreeta.

For the future.

For my clients.

For their daughters and sons, granddaughters and grandsons.

The love of “family” itself.

The people we include, by blood and choice alike.

To foster connections.

To create memories.

To be the best person I can be.



A commitment to quality.

A vow to remain vulnerable,

To beauty.

To truth.

To love.

Gratitude, always.

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What a year!


2016 was a whirlwind of amazing sessions, great people, challenges that weighed me down, and lessons that lifted me up. It was probably the hardest and most stressful year I’ve ever had, but also my most successful, and every bit of that success was motivated by the biggest thing to happen to me — the birth of my daughter, Sharlotte, in February.

It literally took a single moment of hearing her wail and cry for the first time, hearing that beautiful, incredible sound, to leave me changed forever. I was clutching my wife’s hand tightly, her amazing fight through labor finally over, and I looked into her eyes, and I knew she had felt the same thing. It was as if an ancient, dormant side of us had woken up. Even now the very thought of our girl creates a surge of anxiety, worry, care and love that neither of us never knew could be so powerful. We love her! She is our love. She is our Sharlotte.

It’s the way she stuffs tofu in her mouth. Or the way her face turns dark red when she’s in a rage because I need to change her diaper again. And the way her babbling is loud enough to be heard a few aisles down in Target. The way she points to the morning moon with utter fascination and awe. I will do anything for that little being, my little lady Sharlotte. She is my purpose now, and being a stay at home Dad, on most weekdays she makes it abundantly clear that she cannot survive long without me.

I have to say, the stay at home Dad life is hard. It’s really good, don’t get me wrong! And the actual baby stuff hasn’t been too bad so far. But trying to get my photo work done (itself a full time job) is an exercise in frustration. Nothing I’ve ever done compares to the stress I feel every time I’m scrambling through work and — this literally just happened as I’m writing this — she just woke up from a nap that should’ve been longer, and I’ve hardly done enough work, and I haven’t even eaten breakfast or brushed my teeth yet.

On many days I awake with a question. How will I do this? How can I get my work done? And the answer, of course, is coffee.

Kidding. My wife, Syreeta, is an incredibly devoted Mom and is great about giving me a baby break on the weekends, and giving me time for work and for myself on weeknights. My parents help here and there too — if you hire me for a session, chances are Sharlotte will be with them while Syreeta finishes her 9 to 5 work day.

And speaking of my sessions — I have a huge amount of gratitude for my clients of 2016 — you’ve all been amazing, and have given my little family and I so, so much. Thank you! The year ended with my heart full, and this coming year is beginning with a clear mind. I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store for all of us, and I hope that if you’re reading this, we can connect, and capture some great memories together!

So long 2016, and thanks for all the fish!


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