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

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

||Subscribe by Email|Back to top

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

||Subscribe by Email|Back to top

I get the feeling that this year is going to be an important one. A year to remember and look back upon.

But I don’t think this awesomeness is going to come from the things I want to do or the places I’m planning to see; it’ll come from the things that I won’t see coming. The unexpected, the “windfalls”, the surprise attacks that always happen in life. Last year was full of them.

Many were difficult. Some were very nice.

And others still were truly special. This dream of a wedding, with Eli and Candace, at the beautiful Honuala’i estate in Puako, was one of the special ones.

This moment. I began to cry at this moment. No sound but the ocean and the wind. E & C wrapped in a Hawaiian quilt, their family and friends giving them their blessings.

What will this year bring, I wonder? Better to not think about it too much. Best to simply be myself, do everything with passion and heart, and be grateful for everything I have, including the opportunity to spend the day with these two great people. Thank you, Eli & Candace!

– Jim

||Subscribe by Email|Back to top

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everyone! 😀

I always feel like a kid this time of year. Santa does exist. Reindeer can fly. The North Pole is filled with elves who are making amazon giftcards and photo gear. That gigantic box under the tree is not a $120 Lego set, no sir. It is in fact a suitcase that can turn into a hovercraft.

For this one day, I believe as kids do. Christmas is a children’s holiday in my heart; an ode to children around the world, going back two thousand years and going forward four thousand more. We grown ups can learn so much from them — from ourselves, when we were their age. Our ability to dream and imagine should never fall victim to the cynicism and seriousness of the real world. We should always look at the smallest things and recognize them for the miracles that they are, whether it be an earthworm poking out of the ground, the water on a flower petal at dawn, or the sound of a child laughing. They laugh not because there is something funny, but rather because at that moment, there is nothing that is not funny.

So here’s my little photographic ode to the kids. Most of them are my clients; a few are my younger cousins, niece and nephew (couldn’t resist!). For all of them I am incredibly thankful.



– Jim

  • January 6, 2013 - 5:48 AM

    Syreeta - Beautfiul. Makes me want to go to never-never land;)ReplyCancel

||Subscribe by Email|Back to top

From the very beginning, every family session I do ends up feeling like it’s an impervious bubble of perfection — an hour or two of harmony, separate from the bustling vacuum of the real world.

I get sad when the bubble bursts. Because I know what I’m doing in this bubble. Somehow everything works out, and everything feels right. I’m not sure how it happens, and I don’t really care how, but I figured it would be interesting to look at how a family session actually happens.

The first thing I do is take photos right from the get-go, right after I introduce myself. I must! It’s exciting to be there! I can’t help it. And it seems to get everyone in the mindset that this Jim Dierking character is high-energy and will be taking candids throughout the session. Here’s one such “get-go” photo. Not totally awesome but it sets the scene.

I tend to tackle the first big set-piece photo or two immediately after that. The correct pacing during a session is vital. It should feel like we’re taking our time, when in reality my brain is in overdrive and I’m thinking a dozen photos ahead. I want my sessions to feel dynamic; a journey of discovery, where any moment can become an “I have an awesome idea!” sort of moment. We simply must be patient, take our time, and let those moments come. They always do!The Kwokas nearly posed themselves! They were awesome. And they aren’t alone — most of my clients pose themselves. I simply give them the general idea of what I want from the photo and let them interpret it. I then refine and make adjustments, like moving Mr. Kwoka to the left side of the tree, to better balance things out. In the process I got the kind of photo that made me want to do family sessions in the first place — “the posed-candid that captures the character of everyone at that moment” photo! 😀

20 or 30 years from now, I imagine that these “imperfect” candids will be just as important as the posed photos. I love that they show a real moment in time… a rare occasion when a family gets together on vacation to be together. Even if they are looking in different directions. It’s all good. It’s family.“Alright, lets go over there! We might see a sea-turtle! Oh, bring your footwear, we’ll be walking on rocks for a bit.”I ran ahead to get some “reaction” shots. Thankfully there actually was a turtle!Pacing. Always pacing. I figured it would be good to have them relax for a couple minutes and enjoy themselves, breathe the air and feel the sand without a camera snapping away. Hurried people do not make for good photos. Walking in the sand can be tiring anyway. Good to take a moment to rest while I take a look around for cool ideas. 🙂

For the Kwoka ohana, I knew I wanted to continue down the beach to look for a nice place to do individual family portraits, so I ran far ahead to look around. Also a good opportunity to get a quick walking-on-the-beach shot!

The light was great for the individual family groups!!

And that was it! With the group photos done I told them to head down to the water and just hang out, have fun and “talk story”. And whoooaaa did the Kwoka family talk story! 🙂There was this awesome, awesome moment where one of the Dads and his two kids were standing on that rock, looking epic, and someone laughed and yelled to the Mom to “OH WOW get up on that rock with your family! Go go go!”.By that time it was starting to get dark. It was so cloudy that we couldn’t even see the sunset, but those same clouds were situated in a way that made the light ridiculously nice for portraits. I had always wanted to do individual photos of each family member and this was the perfect chance to do it!

What is mystifying to me is that all of this stuff — the pacing, the “set-pieces”, the candids; everything — it doesn’t enter my mind out there. It all just happens. I just arrive and be myself. It all seems to work out. I have no idea how. I only know that I love it, and that I want to continue doing it.

I guess that is why I get sad when the bubble bursts.

– Jim


PS. One more thing. I feel bad when I do this but I love the photos that come out of it. I tell people to look at non-existent airplanes just to get a shot of them looking up in wonderment.  😀 Huge thank you to the Kwoka family for leaving me in wonderment for an entire hour!

  • December 19, 2012 - 8:30 AM

    Laura Gubala - Gorgeous! I love how the “imperfect” moments are captured!! Those are the moments that define us and our families. These pictures are a treasure. I smile and…(yes! I admit it!) get a bit teary when I see what you have captured with the families. It is beyond measure…LIFE! Thank you for sharing. 🙂ReplyCancel

||Subscribe by Email|Back to top