Interview of Maui photographer, Angela Nelson
Sought-after wedding photographer Angela Nelson lives on Maui and knows the island like the back of her hand. Today we’re focusing on her artistry, and her insights into being a wedding photographer in paradise. Keep reading to learn more about her, and get an insider’s view on one of the world’s most popular destinations.
Q: Hi Angela, it is such a pleasure to promote your work and recommend you to our readers. We would love to know a little more about you and how you got to the top in wedding photography. Can you give us your origin story and tell us a little bit about your background?
A: I grew up loving to take photographs. I got my first camera when I was eight and immediately burned through every roll of film my mother got me.
However, I never knew I could make a career out of it, so I went to school to be a teacher and figured that would be my career path until I retired.
In 2009 I moved to Maui with my husband. We were young and fresh into our marriage and living in paradise for a year seemed like the ultimate adventure. It turned out to be so much more than that. We ended up falling in love with Hawaii and I ended up falling in love with photography all over again.
I built this business between lessons and after-school tutoring. In 2014 I left teaching to pursue photography full time and I haven't looked back since!
Q: There are so many couples planning destination weddings in Hawaii. What advice do you have for them?
A: Other than don’t worry about the rain because it makes rainbows, I suggest you book your location as far in advance as you can as popular spots fill up quickly. Then, book your photographer who can help recommend vendors with ethical business practices to ensure you aren’t charged extra for things you don’t need. To find some amazing Maui professionals I recommend, check out https://mauiweddingcreatives.com.
Q: With so many places to choose from on Maui what are three of your favorite places for elopements and micro-weddings?
A: I love shooting elopements on top of Haleakala, our 10,000 foot high dormant volcano. It doesn't look like typical Hawai'i , but it is an incredibly sacred and beautiful place. For small weddings, I recommend the Treehouse at Hotel Wailea and the Kukahiko Estate in Makena.
2) What are three of your favorite venues for larger weddings?
Most of my weddings are 30 guests or more and I love to shoot at the Olowalu Plantation House. It has a little bit of everything on the property, gorgeous beachfront views, lush landscaping, and a beautiful home to get ready in. I also love Merriman's in Kapalua and the Andaz Wailea! They are both stunning for weddings with a real island feel.
Q: We love finding out about the stories behind photographs. Can you tell us a story about each of the following three photos?
A: The one below is of one of my favorite couples ever. I snapped this shot right after they walked down the aisle just after their first kiss. The joy in this moment was so evident I don’t think anyone can look at this shot and not smile!
A: This one was taken on the road, a real adventure to one of the most stunning places in the Hawaiian Islands. It was an intimate celebration that took place just a few weeks before Covid hit us and I loved the couple's chemistry together. To get this timeless shot I told them to go walk the beach below while I stayed up on the rocks and they ended up just getting in the ocean. The surf was crazy that day, and the stark contrast of the black sand with the white waves makes it one of my favorite images.
Q: What about this one? It is so fun and unexpected!
A: This couple had so many issues leading up to their wedding day because the venue was making them jump through an infinite amount of hoops. I wanted to make sure they had an image that not only encapsulated their love for one another, but also something super unique. This couple LOVED the LA Lakers. So I bought them a basketball, had all of their guests sign it, and then recreated the iconic shot from Love and Basketball - and added in some gelled lights via MagMod to create the purple and gold. The basketball is displayed in their home, right next to a large print of this image.
WBWP: Way to go the extra mile. You made them feel special and got this great shot!
Q: What is the best time of year for couples to plan their weddings?
A: Between New Year’s and Valentines’ Day. August and October can be very hot and busy, so I suggest making a date between early November and right before Thanksgiving. December 15th to April 15th are also wonderful times to visit when the whales are migrating. Watching them breach makes for a breathtaking rehearsal dinner cruise you and your guests will never forget.
Q: Of all the times during a wedding day what are some of your favorite moments?
A: The anticipation while the bride and groom are getting ready and when they exchange gifts or letters, plus all the sweet interactions with parents, sunset portraits, and guests on the dance floor. I know that covers a lot but I really love every aspect of weddings!
WBWP: Thank you so much, Angela, for sharing your work and your experience with us. Aloha, and may your world be full of beautiful days and gorgeous sunsets!