With a landscape as diverse as that of Hawaii, it’s hardly surprising that it’s home to some of the most talented creatives in the world. Drawing inspiration from the year-round sun and warm surf, the islands are a pulsing hub of natural creativity that speak to the fine art visions of many locals. If you’re looking to work with a local shutterbug, we’ve put together a list of the top fine art photographers in Honolulu for your consideration!
1. Marian Butler of Butler & Badou Portraits
Professional portrait photographer Marian Butler first realized her love for fine art during a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art as a child. She was struck by the emotions and vision on display and, from that day, she knew that creating fine art through people was going to be a part of her future. Marian wants everyone to have life-sized portraits for display in their homes. Not only does such an action show that you love someone so much that you want a physical reminder around, but it’s also a record that you’ll always be able to look back on and celebrate your loved one in that way.
By providing expert guidance throughout her sessions, Marian helps her clients find their ideal expression, which can range from traditional posed styles to more individual expressions, such as dance routines, outdoor shoots, and even pet portraits. It’s not surprising that many consider her as among the most gifted fine art photographers in Honolulu.
Bright, chipper, and full of the Aloha spirit is how we’d describe islander Anthony Calleja’s work. As one of the most talented fine art photographers in Honolulu, he uses a vivid style that complements the ample natural light of the Hawaiian Islands and surrounding sea. Blues, yellows, and whites tend to have a slight glow in a high-color contrast style perfect for landscapes, portraits, and wildlife images. A lot of his fine art landscapes embrace the transition from land to ocean, juxtaposing land, sky, and water in diverse ways despite using the same three elements.
Chicago native Monica Lau finds her inspiration in creating fine art portraiture. Traditional portraits can languish on digital media or stay hidden in photo albums. But Monica’s images are meant to be an investment in the legacy of your family meant for framing and wall display. Her photography is an ode to the classic style of fine art portraiture using matte casts and backgrounds, heavy vignetting to emphasized subjects, and traditional poses ranging from timeless to contemporary.
Many of the clothing choices in her images range from modern to fantasy, highlighting the individual character of each subject seen through the lens of her fine art vision. Monica’s work is a celebration of individuality as much as connection (as seen in couples and family photos). She also places great importance on charitable donations of time and work, and she generously offers her time to meaningful organizations in Hawaii.
Wayne Levin is a fine art photographer who specializes in producing black-and-white underwater film photography. In the digital age, bold colors, high-dynamic range, and fast shutter speeds are the norm, but Wayne prefers the precision and technical skill associated with his chosen medium. His work ranges from minimalistic due to the sheer expanse of the ocean and subject isolation to busy with fish, bubbles, coral, and other animate and inanimate aspects of the sea.
In addition, his images offer a definite documentary character as well, especially when highlighting the perils that face the seas, such as floating plastic and bleached coral. By embracing a unique niche and succeeding so well at transmitting his creative vision to an appreciative audience, there’s no doubt Wayne Levin is one of the most thoughtful fine art photographers in Honolulu right now!
Honolulu fine art landscape photographer Peter Tang shoots all things natural scenery, be it astrophotography, swaying palms, rocky mountains, or the uniquely Hawaiian spectacle of lava meeting surf. He brings both natural enthusiasm as well as formal study in the art form, having majored in digital filmmaking and video production at the Art Institute in California. While his current work is video-centric, Peter finds shooting fine art landscapes a relaxing and productive use of his time on the side. It’s this pastime that’s cemented his place among the best fine art photographers in Honolulu. His signature style is as varied as the landscapes he finds himself in, but vivid colors and the surf and land transition zone are some of his favorites.
6. Brandon Ng
A visionary portrait artist, Brandon Ng is one of the top fine art photographers in Honolulu. His work, the product of collaborative efforts between him and his clients, always uses more than a pretty face to carry the image. Complex lighting, backgrounds, props, and poses all play a role. Lens flare, colored smoke, neon lighting — it’s all fair game to Brandon! His work often explores how the past influences modern-day Hawaii, as well as the direction the sociopolitical landscape is heading towards in the future. In Brandon’s own words, “Through photographic expression, Ng aims to provide his viewers with a forum for conversation, while simultaneously exploring how the choices of an individual can impact a shared place.”