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

Kukio bay? Yes!

Beautiful weather? Yes!

The biggest family session I’ve ever done? Yes!

Good times? Oh yeah.

The photo above will always be in my mind as the ” family photo that took me the longest to edit”! Something like 4 hours in total. Click here for a larger version of the photo¬†which has notes on the corrections I made, and a listing of photoshop-layers, if you’re curious! ūüôā While I don’t edit every photo to this level, it does give a decent view at what I do pretty regularly.This was one of the most memorable sessions of 2012; one of the most challenging, but also one of the most rewarding. Thank you, Pugh family, for having me there with you!

– Jim

  • May 27, 2013 - 4:49 PM

    tahiti - soooo impressed… I can only IMAGINE how happy they are!!!ReplyCancel

    • June 8, 2013 - 10:55 AM

      Jim Dierking - Thank you! They were happy indeed!ReplyCancel

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This is going to be a little weird, posting this with a bunch of nice wedding photos from a rather magical wedding, but I have an announcement:

I am no longer accepting weddings for the foreseeable future. I will focus entirely on families for the time being.

EDIT: As of July 12, 2014, I am returning to weddings in a limited fashion! ūüôā Click here for details.

I’ve had countless great experiences at weddings, met a lot of wonderful people and have witnessed some beautiful moments. I’m grateful for all of it; for both clients and new friends. But a thought has been growing in my head. A dream that I’ve had since I was about 12 years old. It has bubbled into the forefront of my brain and won’t let go: I want to travel the world and take photographs. I want to work with non-profits. I want to contribute. I want to see the sunrise in India, I want to capture village life in Papua New Guinea, and I want to use my talents to help tell the stories of those who are too impoverished to tell it themselves. I want to do this.¬†I have to do this while the choice is still readily available to me. In order to do this, I have to let something go. I can’t do families, weddings and photojournalistic work at the same time, at least not to the level that I feel is needed. The wedding photography business is stressful, brutally time-consuming and can make you feel like you’re a car salesman. I love the heart of a wedding — the bride & groom, the love, the families — but everything else that goes around it has been difficult to manage when I can’t stop thinking about travelling around the world as a career! I will absolutely rock the weddings I am already booked for though, worry not!¬†Now that I know I won’t be taking on any more, I can relax and focus my efforts on the last few that I will do, without worrying about booking more to keep the “wedding train” running. Quite a liberating feeling! And so I’ll enjoy these last bits of wedding magic, grateful for the clients who have trusted me to be their photographer, and thankful in the knowledge that every single wedding I’ve ever done has taught me something about photography, life and love. And now, here’s the wedding of Chris & Brooke, these two soulmates I showcased before!¬†ūüôā (Note: Special thanks to the awesome Joycelyn Cabal for 2nd shooting on this one!) ¬†¬† Speaking of “magic” and “soulmates” — Finding your soulmate is a bit like watching a David Copperfield TV special: you know it’s cheesy and you know a lot of people think it’s silly — heck, you might think it’s silly yourself — because there’s a feeling that this sort of thing isn’t totally real, and that it might be too awesome to be true, but you also can’t help but be a astounded at just how perfect it is, or at just how smoothly David Copperfield can make you believe that magic is real. Although¬†I’ve personally found his showy confidence while cutting a woman in half to be both amusing and a little disconcerting. Anyway… Questions beg. Do soulmates exist? What is love? How do we explain the deep connection two people can feel toward each other? What is my fate? Weddings? I pondered these questions endlessly. And then, five months ago, I found my own soulmate… my Syreeta. She’s the one I’ve been wanting to find for a very long time. The one, the end, the all, everything and more. My “other half”; a phrase you can only begin to comprehend until you’ve found yours. Because there is no way I would’ve given up on wedding photography and given in to my dream if I hadn’t met her. She has given me the strength and belief to do that. She has taken the foundations I’ve built for myself and planted walls on them — painted in the color of the clouds, because that’s where her and I live. Finding her has forced me to reconcile the meaning of things. The answers to those begging questions. One’s expectations of love and life are often very different from the truth of what love really is, and to me the truth of love is not “LOVE” itself, but the difference between what it is and what it isn’t. Love, and happiness and life, truly are all of those cheesy things you read about. It is¬†magical. It is destiny.¬†It is meant to be.¬†But it also isn’t.¬†Love isn’t simply something that just happens. Life and happiness won’t simply arrive at your door. Nor are these beyond our control. They’re definitely not as big a mystery as I once thought they were! A life of happiness and love is a choice, and the choice began within myself. I¬†chose¬†to become open to love. I¬†chose¬†to love myself, to live as myself and accept the fact that I am worthy of another’s love. Syreeta and I are “meant to be” because both of us¬†meant it to be,¬†by making a choice long before we met to let go of our old troubles and to love by deeply accepting ourselves. We both went through a rough time, followed by a period of incredible self-awareness and self-acceptance. We¬†separately¬†decided on a whim that we wanted to go to India to discover ourselves and have an adventure. And then we met, and all of these commonalities came together so perfectly that you’d think it might be a trick by Mr. Copperfield himself. It has been amazing. I am thankful for this blessed life I have. The closing of one door is the opening of another, and I can’t wait to walk through it with my love. Life is pure magic. A magic that I had always believed in, deep down, no matter how cheesy it was starting to sound; no matter how wrapped up in day-to-day things I got. But I chose to believe in it. And when the time came, I chose to love. ¬†¬† I quit! ūüôā – Jim

  • May 22, 2013 - 3:03 AM

    Laura Gubala - Jim,
    Ed and I feel so blessed that we were able to have you capture our special day. ūüôā
    We both understand that sometimes it becomes important to assess where our lives are headed and adjust accordingly. Seize the day!
    You are remarkably talented; but beyond that you are a good and kind person.
    We wish you and Syreeta ALL the surprise, joy, and wonder this world has to offer.
    Be well!

    Your friends,
    Laura and Edward GubalaReplyCancel

  • May 27, 2013 - 4:54 PM

    tahiti - wow. amazing words jim!

    gives me hope and courage. thank you.ReplyCancel

    • June 8, 2013 - 10:55 AM

      Jim Dierking - Your move to the east coast has done much the same for me, Tahiti. High five for hope & courage! Hope the weather is good there.ReplyCancel

  • June 8, 2013 - 10:59 AM

    Jim Dierking - Laura & Ed! Great to hear from you and thank you so much for the amazing comment, and most of all for letting us be there on your day!

    Carpe diem indeed. I’m so ready for this and the excitement is so strong that it literally keeps me up at night. I hope you’ve been getting more sleep than I have! ūüôā

    Thanks so much once again.ReplyCancel

  • July 13, 2014 - 12:38 AM

    Return » Hawaii Family Photography | Jim Dierking | Family Photographer on the Big Island, Kona, Oahu, Maui - […] example being that there hasn’t been a day where I haven’t wistfully thought about what I wrote in this post, over a year ago, about me quitting […]ReplyCancel

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This beautiful little wedding happened exactly a year ago on a puffy-clouded sunny day in Hilo. Happy Anniversary to Alistair and Kerrie! Such light-hearted, happy souls. ūüôā

Light hearted indeed!


Great times! Thanks to Susan of Aloha Wedding Planners for setting this up. And a special thanks to my friend Joycelyn Cabal for being my 2nd shooter (and later that day taking the photos of me you see on this website)!

– Jim

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Life is a window.

Sometimes you’re looking out a clear window at a dark storm. Sometimes you’re looking through a fogged, dirty window at a sunny day. Other times still, we keep the window shut, in fear of what lay beyond. I like to think of us all as windows; the size and quality of the glass is how we see things, and the circumstances we face in life are the vistas before us. The things we go through, good and bad, are separate from how we perceive them, and how we perceive them has a tremendous impact on how we handle them and, as a result, who we are as individuals.

Compassion through¬†encumbrance. Kindness toward anger. Strength over adversity. Coffee through sleep deprivation. In a perfect world, all of our windows would be one of love and strength, looking at whatever situation we face… but none of us are truly ideal people. We’ll always have faults. Our windows all have chips, stains and fingerprints, from ourselves and others. Sometimes our perspective becomes so dirtied by past events that we prefer to keep it shuttered and hidden; we prefer not to look through our own window, or let anyone see it; instead we might dress it up with material things, which of course is about as effective as spraying Febreeze on fresh manure. From my experience, the only way to replace a dirty, cracked window is to first break it completely.

I had mine broken last year in July, not too long after I photographed this amazing Trash the Dress session with Chris and Brooke. Overly high, life-long standards for myself and a continuing inability to reach them had left me with a nagging sense of inadequacy and insecurity, which in turn made me a bit immature and a little depressed. But a series of bizarre circumstances, all of them my fault, rocked my world and left my window in pieces. It all came crashing down, and I hit “rock-bottom”. Severe, clinical depression came.

And then… from this bottom, the pieces of a new window slowly began to emerge. I realized that all of my insecurity was unfounded. I realized that my standards for myself were not only unrealistic, but also completely¬†unnecessary, because our value and worth as people come not so much from what we achieve, but more from why and how we try to achieve them. I realized that I had a good heart, good mind, and a good idea of what I wanted to do in life. I realized that it’s not the view that is important; rather, it’s the window through which we look at it.

I realized that I alone am responsible for keeping my window clean, and that I alone am entirely capable of this. We all are. And if we keep them clean and our motives correct, good things will happen. Editing Chris and Brooke’s Trash the Dress session helped with this realization. Their love was so true, so simple and plain to see. Their windows: clean individually, yet one in the same; united, looking toward the future together. Soulmates… or “windowmates”. I’m grateful that I was there with them, and that I had their photos to edit during my darkest days. It lifted me up, and gave me hope.

… to be continued, with Chris and Brooke’s wedding, which¬† I’ll post up soon I just posted!¬†I haven’t yet mentioned that replacing my own window lead to the opportunity of finding my own “windowmate”…. my soulmate, just a few months ago. I’ll write about that too! Thank you for reading!

– Jim

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One thing that I’ve enjoyed about paid photography work from the very beginning is the very notion of doing “paid photography work”. The very act of following my dreams. The journey! The adventure! The feeling that I am actually doing it! Who knows where such things can take us?

But, like any dream, this one has been full of twists, turns and, more than anything, the feeling that I am not really in control of what will happen. We can try to be in control, and I can think that I am, but I honestly had no idea that I’d ever photograph weddings, and at the beginning I was actually opposed to doing family sessions — I not only never thought I would do them, but at the time,¬†I didn’t even want to. Heck, I actually started off wanting to photograph war zones!

I think life has a way of giving us exactly what we need, when we need it, and never what we want when we want it — and all the better, because from my experience, a lot of the time we don’t really know what we need, nor do we know what we want, at least not from the start. Both weddings and families have become the biggest career related blessings I’ve ever had. I can’t see myself not doing either of them. They have pushed me further than anything ever has, and they continue to contribute immensely to my photography and my life in general.

I won’t be photographing any war zones any time soon, but my love for the basics of creativity, vibrancy, love and storytelling will always be with me. The future is never certain, but the lessons, memories and moments we live through,¬†foreseen¬†or not, give depth, meaning and direction to us as we forge ahead.

The best we can do is to do the best we can. This session with the Gold family helped inspire me to do just that, and it continues to do so today, because I’ve since become inspired by¬†Daniel Gold himself, and his company, DEG Consulting. He’s a productivity consultant, speaker and author… and an all-around great guy. His writing has helped me become motivated to increase my organizational skills, which were a bit lacking, being the classic “eccentric artist” type that I am. Thank you for the awesome e-books Daniel, and thank you for a great family session, too!

Ready…….. set…GO!The winner!The other winner!

Perhaps my dream is not anything so specific as being a war photographer or wedding photographer or family photographer, or even a photographer in general. The future is never certain, and I should never cling vehemently to expectations of where I’ll go or what I’ll do. The things that remain the same are my innate love of creativity, love itself and the stories and emotions of people’s lives.

I think my real dream is to simply let that love flourish. To not be a photographer so much, but to simply be the best “me” that I can be.

And that is what I’ll be.

– Jim


  • March 11, 2013 - 11:18 PM

    Bev - Cute family!! Well captured, Jim! Love them all! Especially the shot of “the other winner”! :O)ReplyCancel

    • April 4, 2013 - 9:01 PM

      Jim Dierking - Thanks Bev! You and your hubby are the bomb!ReplyCancel

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