Mililani, HI Photography Spotlight with Kelly Stewart Photography

Location Guides

Hey milspouse photographer! If you have orders to Schofield Barracks or Wheeler Army Airfield, this location guide is for you. Kelly Stewart Photography is sharing her experience shooting at some stunning beach locations on Oahu in this Mililani, HI Photography Spotlight!

What are your top three favorite locations for sessions? Briefly share about each.

Kailua and Lanikai Beach

I live on the East side of the Island in Kailua. We get beautiful sunrises here so I love shooting sunrise sessions at Kailua Beach or Lanikai Beach. Lanikai Beach has the Mokulua Islands in the background which I love, but requires street parking. Kailua Beach is more accessible with parking lots and a longer stretch of beach. These beaches are less than half a mile apart. This area is close to the marine base.

Portrait of a couple at sunrise at Lanikai Beach in Kelly Stewart Photography's Mililani, HI photography spotlight
Lanikai Beach, Kelly Stewart Photography

Kaaawa Beach

If you want a location on the beach with the mountains in the background, Kaaawa Beach is a great spot. This spot is popular for photos and less crowded than many of the other bigger, well-known beaches. This area is not too far from the marine base.

Couple kissing on Kaaawa Beach in Kelly Stewart Photography's Mililani, HI photography spotlight
Kaaawa Beach, Kelly Stewart Photography

Paradise Cove Beach/Lanikuhonua Lagoon

Paradise Cove Beach/Lanikuhonua Lagoon are on the West side of the Island and are beautiful for sunsets. You can get some of the black volcanic rock in the scenery. This area is closer to Ewa where a lot of Army families live, but can be far if you live on the East side.

Parents smiling with their little boy at Paradise Cove Beach in Kelly Stewart Photography's Mililani, HI photography spotlight
Paridise Cove, Kelly Stewart Photography

Are there any particularly busy seasons for photographers in this area? Any events an incoming photographer should know about?

The weather is warm year round so there isn’t exactly a slow season and a busy season although some months are slower/busier than others. Since Oahu brings a lot of tourism year round, you may receive a lot of inquiries for family photos from tourists. Fall and winter tend to be the wetter months, especially on the East side (wet side) of the Island.

What should an incoming photographer know about permits in this area?

Permits are required for every location and there are a few beaches on the island that do not allow commercial photography. There are two main places to obtain permits online: Hawaii Film Office and Wiki Permits. Wiki permits are $20 each and Hawaii Film office permits are $10 each. A few locations such as Kualoa Ranch and Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens require you to get permits directly through them. It can be overwhelming at first but it’s not bad once you have your accounts with each set up. Many photographers shoot at the beaches on base for free.

What is the biggest piece of advice you’d give to an incoming photographer?

Get into many of the touristy Facebook groups and other local Facebook groups to find clients. People are always asking for a photographer on these pages.

Any other local expertise you’d like to share?

Drone camera photos are very popular here, but not allowed in many areas. Several people come here for elopements and vow renewals. Clients love photos in the water here as well. There are a TON of photographers on this island so find a way to stand out.

Where can other milspouse photographers connect with you?


Are you a milspouse photographer interested in contributing? I’d love to have your insight! Please send me an email at and I’ll be in touch with the details!

If you enjoyed this Mililani, HI photography spotlight, be sure to check out other featured location guides and tips for moving your business!


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more about me

I've been navigating military life with my family since 2008. In that time, I went from a full-time classroom teacher to an online course designer to a photographer. Actually, I still teach a little math on the side because I just love it too much!

Through it all, I've discovered how passionate I am about connecting with military families. Whether it's taking photos at a retirement ceremony, coaching a fellow milspouse photographer, or just grabbing coffee with a new squadron friend, I love this community. And as a teacher at heart, I'm excited to use this space to share what I've learned about business and life with you.


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