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 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. Inspired by my own journey through fatherhood, I enjoy creating photos with a genuine sense of love, playfulness and warmth. Rich colors and candid moments set my creative soul aflame, 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

Earlier in the year, I had the pleasure of enjoying one hour of beautiful light and wonderful vibes, just north of Kailua-Kona, with the Spendlove family. They’re amazing people — so warm, loving, and comfortable in their own skin. An amazing session, for which I am grateful!

Thanks so much, Spendloves!

And thank you so much for being here, reading and looking at my work! 🙂


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The Big Island of Hawaii is a true wonderland for photography, and there isn’t a session that goes by where I don’t take a moment to simply remember where I am — to gain perspective on what I am doing. I am amazingly fortunate to be able to meet up with so many friendly families, so many people I enjoy spending time with, capturing their moments together in this beautiful land.

Some of those people I enjoy hanging out with are the Deguara family, and one of those amazing places on this island is the verdant, refreshing, Pololu Valley. A place for both adventure and relaxation, it’s the perfect spot if you need a vacation from your vacation — an eden away from noise, cars, buildings and crowds — and it was just as perfect for this very natural and adventurous session. This was the third time I’ve been with the Deguara ohana, and quite possibly the most fun we’ve had yet!


I can’t remember whose idea it was — either mine or Dad Deguara’s — but for some reason everyone REALLY wanted to see if they could push this massive log into the sea. Why? Well, it’s a feat of strength! A measure of family unity! A metaphor for life (although in my head, everything’s a metaphor for life)!

Once they synced up and pushed, they got it moving fairly easily, and off it tumbled into the shallow sea… only to be hit by a wave that pushed it right back up the sand. I clicked away, of course. 😀



Good times.One of the funnest sessions of this year, and one of two I did at Pololu during the busy summer season. I’ll blog the other soon! Thank you for having me once again, Deguara family — can’t wait until next time! 🙂


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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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