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

Back home in Hawaii after 2 months in India, although it feels like we spent 2 months on another planet entirely. It was a surreal, beautiful time, and I’m still gathering my thoughts on all of it, in preparation for what might be a gigantic blog post full of words, photos and exclamation points. Or an entirely new website.

Until then, here’s a session from back in May, with the wonderful Roscoe Family!


“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”


“Everything comes to us that belongs to us if we create the capacity to receive it.”



“The roots below the earth claim no rewards for making the branches fruitful.”



“Let your life lightly dance on the edges of time, like dew on the tip of a leaf.”



“It is very simple to be happy, but it is very difficult to be simple.”


“The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.”


“If you cry because the sun has gone out of your life, your tears will prevent you from seeing the stars.”

(Above quotes are by Rabindranath Tagore)

Thank you for reading!
– Jim

||Subscribe by Email|Back to top

Whew! Things have been really busy here, having done more family sessions in the past few months alone than I did in all of last year. A few great weddings were squeezed in there too, as well as numerous trips to Oahu to spend time with Syreeta, my girlfriend/soulmate/inspiration (although I built a new editing computer specifically so I could work there too, so these trips weren’t exactly vacations). I have lots more editing to do, and I’m a little stressed out, but I’m thankful for it too. Life has been amazing lately.

Still to come is the most amazing of all, and the reason I thought an update would be a good thing. Along with my photo editing, I’ve also been super busy planning a 9 week long trip to India, for which Syreeta and I will depart on September 3rd!





The map above shows an outline of where we’ll be going, with each color representing about 2 weeks worth of time. We’ll experience Himalayan Buddhist monasteries, desert village life, chaotic train rides lasting 40+ hours, and the massive festival of Diwali in the holy city of Varanasi! My hope as a photographer is to capture it all in a cohesive, vibrant, intimate way, using the skills I’ve learned here to get a more family-oriented look at life in India… similar to what I do here. Just there. 🙂 Syreeta and I will also be making a short documentary film about our lives leading up to and going through this journey, which will likely just be a grand personal memoir, but could become part of a bigger idea her and I are dreaming up.

Wi-fi and internet access should be pretty okay over there, so I plan to post lots of snapshots through my Instagram the whole way through — click here and feel free to follow me to see what we discover!

We won’t be back in Hawaii until November 8th, and obviously I won’t be shooting any sessions until then. I’ll still be answering my emails the best I can while I’m there though, so if you’re interested in working with me after I get back, send me a message and I’ll get back to you! I currently have a lot of availability in November and December, and will be hungry to get back into the groove after I return.

Finally, I just wanted to thank all of my clients, past and present. Without you this trip would not have been possible. It has been my dream to travel to far-away places; places I’ve imagined since childhood, and I’m incredibly grateful that I have the chance to make this dream a reality. Thank you so much!

Now, time to edit. And then… onward!

– Jim


||Subscribe by Email|Back to top

It was a pleasant winter’s morning early in the month of January; a Hawaii kind of winter’s morning where the sun and the sea are just as they’ll always be. I remember that I posted this photo on my instagram; it was so peaceful. There wasn’t another soul there when I arrived. And by the time the Karvonen family arrived, there wasn’t anyone other than the ten of us still. A family photographer’s dream.

Grateful and happy. Life is good! 🙂

– Jim

||Subscribe by Email|Back to top

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! 🙂 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

||Subscribe by Email|Back to top

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! 🙂 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! 🙂 (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! 🙂 – 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. 🙂
    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! 🙂

    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

||Subscribe by Email|Back to top