Big Island Family Photographer | Jim Dierking | Hawaii Family Photography » Jim Dierking is a Big Island Family Photographer, available in Kona, Hilo, Waikoloa and Hawaii

A sunset on the Big Island of Hawaii

An admission of motive

For my daughter, Sharlotte. For my wife, Syreeta. For the future. For my clients. For their daughters and sons,See the whole story >>

The Torres Family

If there’s anything that photography has taught me, it’s that I’m more of a “why” kind ofSee the whole story >>

Valley Expedition with the Crain Family

I was recently asked by a friend if travel has been “my greatest teacher”. In my own life, I’d saySee the whole story >>

Soy Sauce, and a Big Island Family Session

I don’t know why, but I really thought I knew enough about soy sauce. And then comes my wife, with her amazingSee the whole story >>

A cloudy Kona evening with the Leathers Family

Hey. Hey you. I have a photographer’s secret, and I’ll tell it to you if you promise not to tell anyoneSee the whole story >>

Hualalai Serenity

The thing about parenting, is that there are just so many ways to do it. There are parents who are cautious about theirSee the whole story >>

The Gramm Family on the Big Island

My girlfriend and I have this thing, where we come up with the name — well, the theme — of the year ahead.See the whole story >>

A haiku and the Geweke Family

Time spent together Importance underrated Family summers Ah, yeah… I’m not the best at writing Haikus.See the whole story >>

The Crim Family, Part Two

The trail was all downhill and very slippery, the early morning’s dew sticking into every crevice, rock andSee the whole story >>


Family Sessions start at $650, and are typically an hour in length, taking place in the wondrous natural settings of the Big Island. Click on the images above to get a good view of my work!

All Family Sessions include:

+ About 60 to 80 edited, polished, finished photos per hour of photography
+ High-resolution files in a private online gallery, downloadable straight to your computer or smart phone
+ A print release allowing you to print, share, post and enjoy your photos forever
+ Travel to most Big Island locations

Although we’ll plan for a handful of traditionally posed photos, the majority of our session will bring photos that are natural, candid, playful and dramatic. We’ll focus on interaction, fun and discovery, resulting in photos that are not just enjoyable to create, but that truly capture the spirit of your family.


What times of day do you normally shoot at?

I most often shoot during the golden hours of sunrise and sunset — the warm, dynamic light during those times is unbeatable!

Do you charge a travel fee?

No, not for the Big Island, unless we’ll be going somewhere that requires hiking or 4 wheel-drive to reach (not common). Contact me for a travel quote for the other islands of Hawaii and beyond.

What is your turn around time?

Stay-at-home parenting is a 9 hour a day load, so my work time on any given weekday is limited. Expect a small preview gallery shortly after the session day, and 60 to 90 days for the entire session. If you need photos for holiday cards, let me know, and I’ll happily expedite a few of them for you to use!

How do we book you?

I’m happy that you’d want to! Get in touch through the contact link above. I’d love to hear about who you all are, and what exactly you’d like from your photos. Although it is best to contact me as early as you can, I do accept last minute bookings if I am available. To actually reserve a date, I require a signed contract and 50% retaining deposit, both of which are handled securely and quickly online.

What kind of editing do you do?

Okay, this one isn’t really a frequently asked question, but I thought this would be a good place to explain my editing process.

It starts with the raw, unedited photos. I usually shoot a few hundred of these during a session. Here’s a typical example of a photo straight from the camera:

Obviously there are some “issues” with this photo unedited, the biggest one being that everything except the sky is too dark. I put “issues” in quotations because I actually shoot photos dark on purpose; this helps to retain as much texture and color from a sunset sky as possible (as opposed to it being a washed out, unfixable blob of white). The downside of this is that everything else ends up being too dark.

So let’s get to work! Within my editing software there are presets — predefined shortcuts that, with a click of a button, apply multiple tweaks and adjustments to a photo. Some make photos bright and vibrant, while others make them grainy, flat and vintage-like. I’ve made quite a lot of these presets over the years, and my editing process always starts with either applying an old preset or making a brand new one. For me, one of the most important steps in the editing process is to choose a preset that has the same vibe as the family; one that feels the same as the sun, sand and wind I felt on the day of the session. This can take a while, but once I’ve found (or created) one, it serves as the foundation of the entire session. Below is what the photo looks like after the preset has been applied.

Better, but still needs work. After I apply the preset, I’ll begin tweaking each photo individually. This includes basic things like white-balance, exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, saturation, color balance and curves. I use every tool available to squeeze as much light, detail and richness that I can from the photos, and because all of these tools and variables affect one another, editing very quickly becomes a tedious case of fixing one variable only to throw another off, and when I fix that one it in turn throw something else off.

Often (as was the case with this particular photo) I’ll get a bit deeper and subtly “paint” brightness, darkness or saturation into certain areas of a photo, to help bring out the subject or sculpt the light in our favor. If there are any truly distracting elements in the photo, or if I have to swap a child’s frown for a smile, I’ll bring the photo into Photoshop for deeper editing.

That said, I usually try to stay away from heavy retouching, and I especially do not smooth out wrinkles or make people look younger or different than who they are. Thankfully, good light is enough to negate these things.

Finally, one thing that I feel is very important is for the entire session to feel as cohesive as possible, and that no matter how the light, camera angles or subjects change, the overall feel, clarity and vibrancy shouldn’t. I pay special attention to how the light changes from pre-sunset, sunset and on to post-sunset, and try to edit the photos so these changes blend into one another naturally.

In the end, if my photography were a pizza, the actual shooting would be the crust, editing would be laying the sauce, cheese and toppings, and the final check for cohesiveness would be baking it at 450°. Each step is vital, and in the end, out pops a delicious pizza!


Can we print our photos on our own?

Yes! Included in all sessions is a print release which allows for exactly that. Prints, sharing on social media, printed photobooks, holiday cards — the photos you download from your gallery, combined with the print release, can be used for all of them and more. The only things I don’t allow are entering the photos in contests or using them in an editorial or commercial nature without my consent.

We value our privacy. What are your thoughts on this?

If you wish for me to never post our session on my blog or on social media, please let me know. I absolutely respect my clients’ wishes for privacy.

Thank you!