We are thrilled to be collaborating with Maui based portrait photography company, Love + Water!
Love + Water owners, Shawn and Adam, effortlessly capture the beauty of Maui through a lens that highlights the colors of nature around them, as well as the love their clients are holding in the moments they’re in front of the camera.
Our collaboration with them allowed us to create a keepsake that showcases Hawaii’s natural beauty, helping you create beautiful memories with your `ohana for years to come. The collection features two of Love + Water’s most iconic photographs: Colorscape and Peeking Palms. These pieces of art come to life on our buttery soft swaddle blankets and quilts, sharing a piece of Hawaii’s beauty as a bundle of comfort for the keiki in your life.
We were excited to ask Shawn and Adam a few questions about how Love + Water began, their inspiration and style, and some advice for new mothers looking to capture beautiful maternity photos. Take a look below — we promise their story is anything but boring!
We started Love + Water in 2013 when we were living together in Australia.
While visiting my parents in Chicago one winter, we found ourselves with plenty of time to dream up ideas as we were snowed in for a couple of weeks. We were laying in bed, totally jet-lagged, talking about what to name a gallery we hoped to open one day and it just came to us — Love + Water! It was a no-brainer, as Adam photographed waves and the ocean, and I was shooting weddings at the time, it just made sense. This was eight years ago and I still remember the goosebumps when we knew it was right. We got to work straight away, combining our love of portraiture and weddings.
Shortly after that visit, Adam and I decided to quit our full time jobs in Australia, load up our troop carrier with surfboards and our golden retriever, and drive across the Nullarbor to camp for three months. We had a broken radio and plenty of time to talk! We began to imagine what life would look like as a photography team, as at the time we were both hobby photographers, holding full-time jobs and photographing in our spare time. During that same trip, we were in the process of applying for Adam's green card as we hoped to sell up and move to the US (where I am originally from) after living in Adam's hometown together for 7 years.
The thing with this application was that after its approval, we only had weeks to sell up everything and enter the US. We were dead set on moving to Charleston, South Carolina, where I went to school. By chance, I stumbled across a blog post from a Hawaii photographer that featured a girl in a pink bikini posing underwater. That image was literally life changing for us, and we began to imagine what life would be like in Hawaii, having the ability to photograph in the ocean year 'round. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall in our home as we spoke excitedly about moving to Hawaii instead of South Carolina.
Weeks before we were set to move to Charleston, we swapped our tickets to Maui, a place we'd never visited before, and hoped it would work. We were broke and held the hope that our photography business would take on. Looking back, it was a sort of stupid, risky decision, but seven years later, here we are. Within three months of arriving, we were full-time photographers and Love + Water was a reality, and we can't believe it's been seven years since we made the move.
We're always told it's the water portraits and pastel tones in our photos. We always try to do justice to Maui's flawless natural beauty, and to us that includes representing the island's morning and sunset colors in the most natural way.
We try to replicate the colors we find in the natural environment as much as possible. We experimented with a few different editing styles early in our business, but nothing felt authentic. Eventually, we created an editing workflow that we loved that produced consistent results — and it stuck!
Both of these images were shot at our favorite beach in South Maui, a place that holds a lot of meaning to us as we'd spend countless mornings here with our son when he was first born, walking countless laps before sunrise.
My first tip would be to find a photographer whose style truly resonates with you, even if it means spending a bit extra, as you'll never regret the investment in quality photography. Second, get your hair and makeup done, it's always worth it! Also, I used to think I had to find a special flowy maternity gown for portraits, but ended up feeling best having photos taken in stuff I'd wear to the beach anyway. If you feel best in swimwear, wear bikinis! If a fluffy maternity gown sounds fun, do it. There are also lots of gowns these days that aren't specifically geared toward maternity but still work as maternity gowns.
Aside from hiring a professional photographer, smartphones are perfect for day-to-day captures! I'd suggest making sure you're IN the photos, too. I noticed a lot that I take photos of Adam with the kids or the kids by themselves, but Adam reminds me often to be in the photos myself, and that's important, too.
First, find a photographer whose style you love. That's the most important. If they're a bit more expensive, there's probably a reason. Also make sure they have a contract in place, and ask what the approach is and if they'll provide lots of posing and direction to make you feel comfortable.
Honestly, we did it out of necessity. We lost dozens of bookings in a single week and that launched us into power mode — how to keep our family afloat, how to survive. People told us to pivot, pivot, pivot but didn't seem to realize what a sore spot it was to hear those words, as we just lost years of successful business that was fueled by true drive and motivation, only to be left with a blank slate. I can't speak for everyone, but to us, the idea of pivoting was incredibly stressful and the word made my stomach turn. It took hours of time after the kids were asleep, countless tears of frustration, and uncertainty — what to do!?! We've come a long way since the terrifying uncertainties of early 2020 and the need to pivot. We finally found the silver lining and launched The Land + Sea Store.
We now sell our ocean art prints and other products, as well as host some awesome brand collaborations. We are finally at a place we feel is authentic and truly connects with our Love + Water brand. Instead of launching a new idea entirely, we meshed it into our current brand. We've been lucky to snap back to our old business model recently, with a newfound appreciation to the places our business can take us and ways to gently diversify our business in the background, such as selling Adam's ocean prints.
We're launching beautiful gift boxes with different selections of eco-friendly, practical goodies from The Land + Sea Store, all of which tie in to our ocean art photography. We're excited to offer these to clients and the public, and continue to add value to our photography services.
If you’re as impressed with Love + Water as we are, you can check out their website to learn more about their business, the photography packages they offer, and view some of their amazing images. Also be sure to take a look at The Land + Sea Store for more details about their unique gift boxes.
Coco Moon is incredibly excited for the release of these new swaddle blankets and quilts. They will be available starting March 11th, so be on the lookout to purchase the beautiful products that resulted from this amazing collab!