Kawela Bay Beach Park is located on the North Shore, this location allows for both trees and beach backgrounds. There are arches, tall grass, and banyan trees. It is a very shaded location so gloomy days will yield darker images. The beach has a wonderful golden light for sunset and sunrise! If you are lucky, you may even get images with horses as they often stroll by with a handler. The parking to this location is directly across from Kahuku Land farms. There is no exact address for this location so be on the lookout for a large dirt parking lot with a few small farmers market huts.
Kualoa Beach Park is located on the east side of the island next to the popular tourist attraction, Kualoa Ranch. There are a few palm trees throughout the beach as well as the gorgeous mountains in the back. Towards the beach you will find one of Hawai'i's popular island Mokoli'i which is also known as China Man's Hat. You are able to have your beach images as well as add in some greenery for variety. This locations is perfect for sunrise as the sun comes right over the horizon here but is also a great sunset location for soft even light. However, being in the east side it tends to rain very often and if it has previously rained, the big green field will be a field of mud.
Barbers Point Lighthouse is located on the southwest side of Oahu in Kapolei. You will be able to have a beautiful white lighthouse as your background along with a little bit of greenery and beach. When the tide is low you will also find rock structures that can make it look as if you are on a cliff. Parking is fairly easy to get to and the beach is a short walk away.
Bellows Air Force Beach is located on the east side and is extremely windy and rainy most days. You can see the twin islands from the beach as well as the mountains near Kualoa. This is a beautiful sunrise location with the sun on the horizon as your background. While I prefer sunrise here, sunset is also great. There are a few black rocks on the beach to break up all the sand as well as vegetation and trees to give it a different look. The ocean here is a unbelievable hue of blue, it looks fake even in person. Since this location is on the east side, there are often times where lots of debris will come on shore. This will be removed in post-processing.
Kaena Point on North Shore is extremely versatile no matter if it is a sunrise or sunset photo shoot. Sunrise you will get a cooler image while sunset will give you a warmer image. Kaena point has a beautiful rocky beach with greenery, some cacti, mountains, and even sporadic wildflowers. There are also various parking locations heading up to Kaena point, which leads to the coast. Here the beaches will also make great locations for your photo shoot.
Black Rock Beach in North Shore is a beauty! While I may be calling it the wrong name, I will give you the directions so that you may find it easily. North shore again is so incredibly versatile with either sunset or sunrise. This beach has beautiful black rocks to give the beach some personality. If we catch it during low tide you will see even more of the reef and beautiful rocks out a bit further in the water.
Baby Makapu'u is what we call the beach directly before Makapu'u and Makapu'u lookout. This is almost directly across the street from Sea Life Park and has a little variety to it. It is mainly black rocks and tide pools but the sand and that island view cannot be beat. There is usually plenty of parking in the area as it has two dirt lots. Sunrise on the east side is best but once the sun hides behind the mountains, there is even lighting all around.
Lanai Lookout is an amazing location! It is located on the east side of the island near Halone Blowhole lookout. While it may be steep at first, with calm waves this place is magical. There are open spaces that are sea level which gives it a magical view. While this location is absolutely breathtaking, it can be quite windy. There is limited parking as it is a tourist attraction. High winds and a combination of high tide with rough waves make Lanai Lookout extremely dangerous.
Yokohama Beach is located right before Kaena Point on the west side of the island. This location is extremely crowded during the weekends with mainly locals. It is a hidden gem from tourists! You get beach and mountains almost in any angle you shoot from! Being that it is the west side, sunsets here are harsh but absolutely amazing. Sunrises are empty and has a beautiful soft light to the beach. Parking can be very difficult on the weekends but not impossible. Be ready to parallel park!
Kaena Point on the west side is the furthest point you will be able to drive on the Waianae coast. This location is best during sunset for all of the magical colors but will do great at sunrise with muted tones. This location is mainly rocky, tidespools, trails, and cliffs. I would not suggest choosing this location if you have children and they like to run without any regard to their surroundings. Parking is fine here as there is a big dirt lot.
Halona Beach, which is also known as blowhole lookout, has a beautiful beach at the bottom of the lookout. This location is absolutely perfect for sunrise sessions! Sunset sessions are not as dramatic but have amazing light either way. This location has a tiny parking spot as it is a tourist attraction. To get to the beach there is a bit of a hike down some rocks. While not dangerous, there is sand and loose gravel which if you do not watch your footing, you can slip.
If none of the beaches above are to your liking, here are a few extra that may suit your needs.
Aiea Heiau Park (AKA Keawa Heiau State Rec. Area)
(Beach fronting) Banzai Pipeline (AKA The Pipeline)
Chun’s Reef (Beach)
Cromwell Beach (at end of Kulamanu Pl. which is at Black Point)
Duke Kahanamoku Beach
Fort DeRussy Beach
(Beach at) Gas Chambers Surf Spot
Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach
Kahala Heights State Park
Kaunala Beach (fronting Velzyland Surf Spot)
Keaiwa Heiau State Rec. Area (AKA Aiea Heiau State Park)
Laniakea Surf (Beach)
Leftovers Surf (Beach)
Malaekahana State Rec. Area
Nuuanu Pali State Wayside
(Beach fronting) The Pipeline (AKA Banzai Pipeline)
(Beaches fronting) Portlock Road
(Beach fronting) Rocky Point Surf Spot
Sand Island State Recreation Area
Waahila Ridge State Rec. Area
Wahiawa Freshwater State Recreation Area