We want you to come on an adventure with us. Escape from reality for a moment and pretend you’re somewhere completely different. Let’s set the scene… Imagine you’re on the beach in Hanauma Bay in Honolulu, Hawaii. The sun is enveloping you in its rays, kissing your skin and warming your body. Waves crash on the shore and the ocean flows between your toes as you stand on the beach. The air smells of salt and the reflection of the sun on the water makes you squint your eyes as you look out at the vast ocean. Down the shore, a couple is dancing and playing in the water. Grins stretch from ear to ear as they spin around in a state of pure bliss. This is life. This is the dream. A picture-perfect moment.
Aaron and I were so grateful that we got to experience that moment in real life. Back in September of 2021, Aaron and I took a trip to Hawaii to celebrate my 30th birthday. As I was approaching another benchmark of my life, I wanted to cross something off my bucket list. I’ve always wanted to go to Hawaii and we thought there was no time better than the present.
It was fairly early in our vacation that the pictures you see above were taken. That morning was our first excursion in Hawaii; we went snorkeling and swimming. It was a beautiful day and I remember being filled with the excitement that comes from those first days of a trip that you had been looking forward to for so long.
After an exhausting day of snorkeling and swimming, Aaron and I wandered down to Hanauma Bay to relax on the beach. It was then we found our picture-perfect moment. A beautiful couple was floating around the beach and they caught our attention right away. Like us, they were covered in tattoos. Wild dreadlocks hung from the guy’s head and her long hair twirled in the sun-soaked air. I knew immediately that I had to know them.
Being the person I am, I wandered over to them to make conversation. As I approached, I noticed they were speaking a different language. Introducing myself, I discovered that they knew a little English but primarily spoke Portugese. Just from our short introduction, I knew Aaron and I’s suspicions were right: these were some really cool people!
With help from Google Translate, we briefly got to know each other. The couple, who we now knew as Thyele and Octavio, were going to Waikiki Beach later. It seemed like fate; Aaron and I had expressed how much we had wanted to go to Waikiki Beach too. We exchanged Instagrams and started communicating through there. It was then we made plans to reconvene for an impromptu photoshoot at Waikiki Beach later that evening.
After we left the beach, Aaron and I just couldn’t stop talking about Thyele and Octavio and how excited we were to shoot with them. They’re an extremely photogenic couple and we were in such a beautiful location. On top of that, the way the shoot came about was just so out of the blue. It all just felt so right. It may sound cliche but it was like the universe made it so we came across them on the beach that day.
That evening, we made our way over to Waikiki Beach. If you’re not familiar with Waikiki Beach, it’s a huge tourist beach in Honolulu. The parking lot was packed full of cars. As we pulled into a spot, we started to stress because we had not coordinated anything beyond what time we were going to meet. We got out of the car with our cameras and, lone and behold, just a few cars down from us, there were Thyele and Octavio. The universe had struck again.
We had such a great time shooting with Thyele and Octavio. Their energy matched so well with Aaron and I’s. We went out and explored the beach together and they were so stinkin’ cute as they played around and expressed themselves. It was amazing all the different shots we were able to get with them. To see a couple be so in love and have that love translate through the camera is an amazing thing. It’s one of the reasons Aaron and I love what we are able to do with our wedding photography so much.
Beyond being able to get a glimpse into Thyele and Octavio’s love story, this experience was so special to us because it gave us yet another example of how photography is able to transcend the physical. It didn’t matter that Thyele and Octavio didn’t speak English; they’re love story is still told in their photos. You can look at these photos and feel the love and happiness radiate from them. It didn’t matter that we had to find other ways to communicate with them, we still had an absolute blast shooting with them. Photography is above all boundaries and it’s a power beyond words, beyond anything I could ever explain.
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