Top Oahu Photography Locations for the Camera Enthusiast

Whether you're a budding or a professional photographer, seeking intriguing locations to photograph is often a priority during your travels. With its breathtaking landscapes, vibrant cultural happenings, and unbeatable seascapes, Oahu will get photographers of all levels giddy to keep their cameras at hand. Every corner holds an opportunity to shoot from the hip, expand your landscape portfolio, or encounter a personality that offers a portrait capturing the welcoming aloha spirit.

Explore the top Oahu photography spots with us and expand your skills, portfolio, and memories. These locations will have you hopping enthusiastically around the island.


Scenic Locations, Volcanoes and Mountain Ranges


Koʻolau Range

  • The Ko‘olau Range, once a massive shield volcano, now presents a striking mountain range stretching 37 miles across O‘ahu with peaks of various heights. Its unique landscape, marked by erosion, can be explored through trails featuring waterfalls and streams, offering glimpses of rare birdlife. This geological marvel originated from volcanic activity 250 million years ago beneath the ocean.
  • Directions from Waikiki Resort: Head east to the Mānana Ridge Trail, either inland or on the coast. The drive is 30-35 minutes from Waikiki Resort Hotel. 
  • Hiking: The trail is approximately 10 miles long.


Diamond Head State Monument

  • The panoramic views from the summit offer a stunning perspective of Waikiki and the Pacific Ocean. Diamond Head is ideal for landscape and sunrise photos.
  • Directions from Waikiki Resort Hotel: 7-minute drive or a 45-minute walk from the hotel.
  • Hiking: 1.6-mile hiking trail to the crater, which usually takes around two hours.


Byodo-In Temple

  • This replica of a Japanese temple, set against the Ko'olau Mountains, offers a serene setting ideal for cultural and landscape photography. Visit on a clear day for the best mountain backdrop.
  • Directions from Waikiki Resort Hotel: The temple is 31 minutes away from Waikiki.


Cultural Luau Locations

If portraits and cultural and journalistic-style images are your forte, Oahu is a destination that will fulfill your desire for images that express the aloha spirit of Hawaii. Consider visiting a luau, an occasion for tradition, feasting, dancing, and even mythical storytelling. Many luaus will introduce you to Siva Afi, or Samoan fire dance showcases. Capture travel and culturally rich images at the following luau destinations:


Iconic Beach Locations

Hawaii is home to many iconic beach locations with white sands, hot surf spots, towering palms, and turtle visits. If you're after sunset shows and crashing waves, visit one of the many beaches on this tropical island. Some beaches offer a bustling atmosphere with tourists and locals uniting for a festive vibe, while others are more secluded and offer that untouched, wild island feel. 

  • Laniakea Beach - Also known as Turtle Beach, appreciate the wildlife after a 50-minute drive from Waikiki Resort Hotel.
  • Waikiki Beach - Keen to capture vibing beach activity? Take an 11-minute walk or 3-minute drive from Waikiki Resort Hotel.
  • Ka'a'awa Beach - 28-minute drive from Waikiki Resort Hotel toward the East coast of Oahu.
  • Waimanalo Beach - Enjoy views of the Ko’olau Mountains from this beach, only 35 minutes from the Waikiki Resort Hotel.
  • Makapuu Beach - Take a 27-minute drive from Waikiki Resort to admire sea cliffs and a more rugged coastline.
  • Sandy Beach - Grab your long lens and head to Sandy Beach to shoot surfers in their natural habitat, located a 23-minute drive from the Waikiki Resort Hotel.

When taking Hawaii pictures, Oahu emerges as a prime spot, boasting an array of natural marvels and culturally significant sites. Venturing across the island with your camera offers a splendid opportunity to embrace the aloha spirit that flourishes where tourists and locals come together.