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

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. ūüôā

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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Happy New Year from the Big Island of Hawaii! It’s a calm, sunny day as I write this in my little office; Lego spaceships hang above, an imperial TIE fighter that sways very gently in the wind flowing through the open window. Although something tells me that the calm won’t last forever.

Just a few weeks ago, my workstation was in our bedroom — in the exact same spot where our baby’s dresser is now, and in fact we spent a frantic December weekend remodeling the entire room into a place fit for our incoming¬†newborn! Carpet was replaced, walls repainted and just today I set up the crib & bassinet.

I always pause at the thought, bewildering, exciting and strangely intoxicating as it is — I’ll be a father in about a month. Our¬†little¬†girl, who we’re naming Sharlotte, who’s currently practicing kung-fu in Mom’s belly, will¬†very soon be in our¬†arms. Just amazing. I’m starting to know why people refer to their babies as their “little miracles”.

I’m also wondering how it might affect my photography, and my perspective on the world in general. Growing pains will probably be in full effect as I learn to be a work-from-home & stay-at-home Dad, definitely, but how will I change creatively?¬†After nine months of pondering, I’ll soon find out!

In the meantime I’d been plugging away at sessions as usual, and 2015 ended up being my busiest and most successful year yet. To say that I’m thankful for it would be a huge understatement. Thank you so much to all of my families¬†— you’ve given me great moments to capture, but also a lot of awesome support and stoke with becoming a parent! One such family was the Barcelo ohana. Their son had some incredible expressions, and observing the way they interacted with each other lead to some wonderful, true moments.

I sincerely hope that this coming year is full of such moments for all of you — and if you’re planning to have them here on the Big Island, let me know if you need a photographer! ūüėÄ


– Jim

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I don’t know why, but I really thought I knew enough about soy sauce.

And then comes my wife, with her amazing ability to open my eyes, heart and taste buds to new and wonderful things. With only a single spoon, she destroyed my previous notions of what soy sauce was, is and can be!

In the past, I’d use soy sauce in cooking (not that I can cook very¬†well), but I mostly had it when eating sushi or sashimi. Japanese food is huge here in Hawaii — I myself am part Japanese — so soy sauce is an important part of the local cuisine. Despite that,¬†I never really tasted it. I never¬†tried it by itself to thoughtfully examine the flavor.

One day while shopping in Target, my wife claimed that we needed to get a bottle of Kikkoman brand soy sauce; a claim that I almost immediately questioned, since we already had a big gallon sized jug of soy sauce at home. “But that’s Aloha brand shoyu” she said, “and Kikkoman is way better”. I paused for a moment and I didn’t really know what to think. Just as quickly as I had questioned her claim, I realized that I didn’t know anything about soy sauce, despite the fact that I’ve tasted it thousands of times.

You know nothing, Jon Snow.

So we returned home, bottle of Kikkoman in hand. I decided then and there to examine both brands, side by side, so I took out a spoon and first tried a sip of the Aloha brand.

Sweet, slightly tangy, quite salty, pretty ordinary and basically what I’ve had for¬†decades. I’ve always felt it was rather flat, like salty-sweet water, but definitely goes good with raw fish or tofu.

I then tried the Kikkoman brand. A small sip from the spoon.


A rush of fermented soy flavor! I never knew soy sauce could have such tones. I could taste the aging process, I could feel it.¬†It was salty, like any soy sauce, and slightly sweet, sure. It had most of what the Aloha brand had. But it also had¬†a rich authenticity to it.¬†I’m not even exaggerating when I tell you that it tasted like ancient Japanese history.

Aloha, on the other hand, tastes good, but not… soulful. Kikkoman is soulful.

I am now quite happy to share in the Kikkoman goodness with my wife, dousing our rice with it anytime we’re eating something even remotely “local”. I love that she teaches me new things like this. They aren’t huge things on their own… more like doors that she opens for me — doors that lead to paths I wouldn’t have taken without her. Paths I wouldn’t want to take without her, actually. And while there’s nothing wrong with taking the Aloha brand path of shoyu, we’re taking the Kikkoman path together, and it’s pretty great. ūüėÄ

This sort of thing always reminds me of the rest of life, and the paths we take. The choices we make. The good and the bad, the triumphs and mistakes. Life is¬†really all just a bunch of soy sauce — salty, sweet, pungent, perhaps too much at times. But in the end it’s delicious, no matter your choice of brands. A good recipe doesn’t hurt — neither do quality ingredients. But an open mind and a thankful heart is enough to make any meal, and life itself,¬†satisfying enough.

And with that, lets jump into some photos from a session I did with the Smith family, who are from Oklahoma, USA! It was a very relaxed session that was quite¬†easy to shoot, thanks not only to excellent lighting conditions, but also to¬†how laid-back the three of them were. A perfect Big Island afternoon. ūüôā

– Jim

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