Monica Lau is a friend of ours that's also an amazingly talented photographer based out of Kailua in O'ahu, Hawai'i. She's done a few sessions with us throughout the years, and had been itching to do a soccer-themed photo shoot with Max. This week, she finally got her chance. For those of you traveling to the islands with a need for a stellar photographer, you'll want to check her out.
Some people take really good photos. We all have that friend that knows exactly how to make the best of every single feature, expression and pose caught on camera.
You know what friend I’m talking about, right!?
They’re the friend that has a beautifully curated Instagram feed. You look at it and immediately feel the need to take photography lessons. Which you won’t do, but you seriously consider it for about three seconds.
This friend knows exactly what they’re doing and makes it seem so easy…even though you know it’s not.
You love them but you envy them, and wish your photos were just as good.
Why Monica Lau?
Monica Lau is NOT that friend. Monica is on a ~totally~ different level. She takes photography and elevates it to a piece of amazing art, the kind of art that clients commission and patiently wait for.
She doesn’t simply give you a package for pics you mean to divvy out to your family, then end up sticking in a drawer somewhere. Oh, no.
Monica captures moments that become heirloom pieces you’ll have for the rest of your life and beyond. Her photog superpower is bringing out each person’s inner light and joy, the beauty of who they really are in the world.
She SEES you, the very best of you, and delivers a gorgeous image that you’ll cherish forever… and ever…and ever!
Monica took photos of Speed and Max with Cisco, our much-loved pomeranian, many years ago. Shortly after, Cisco died. Those photos she took are some of the most beautiful ones any has ever taken of our family. I’m so grateful to have them now since Cisco is gone.
Disclaimer: This post is NOT sponsored and I’m not receiving any compensation. All opinions are entirely my own.
Who is Monica Lau?
I had no idea until after Max’s photoshoot, but Monica started her photography career in the 1980’s in Chicago. According to her bio, her work has appeared in the “The Oprah Winfrey Show”, “Good Morning America”, Macy’s… The list goes on and on.
Clearly she’s super talented and knows her way around a camera. Makes me wonder what other awesome things I don’t know about my friends! We’ve known her for about five years, and had no clue!
However, now that I know more about her professional background, I understand why her photography is so unique and different. Both of the photos below are hers.
I have to admit that the little boy with the violin is the reason I really wanted to do this photo shoot. He is ADORABLE.
Monica Lau Photography Charitable Work
The other thing I love about Monica is that she always gives back to the community. One of her core missions with her work is to contribute to charities.
Thus far, she’s donated over $21,000 to local charitable organizations. Some of those are big names like Make-A-Wish Hawaii, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hawaii, Women’s Fund of Hawaii, and Kids for a Cause (as stated on her advertisements).
We participated in her Holiday charity drive last year, which was a lot of fun! We decided to do so again this year after I ran into her at the Windward Mall a few weeks ago. She’d been asking to get Max into her home studio so we decided to make it happen with her Charitable Holiday Portrait Event.
Pre-Photo Session Prep with Monica Lau
Before Max’s photoshoot, Monica called me on the phone to make the appointment and explained her pricing. For the Charity Event, her usual $250 sitting fee is reduced to $200, which I was able to pay over the phone with a credit card.
Cool thing about this Charity Event is that she’s contributing the $200 to a charity of the client’s choice! Of course, we decided on the American Diabetes Association – Hawaii because they’ve has such a positive impact on our family. They so many incredible things for Type-1 Diabetic families on the island. There was no question the contribution was going to them. We love them!
Monica also mailed us a pretty package with instructions on what to bring the day of. The package included a price list, so there were no surprises.
We were instructed to bring whatever changes of clothes we wanted, as well as Max’s hair products. Included in the fee, though, was a makeup and hair pro to get him ready. Thank goodness, because the child takes foreeeeeeeeever brushing his hair!
During the Monica Lau Photo Session
When we first hired Monica back in 2014, she did the family photo session with Cisco at Waimanalo Beach, a beautiful spot for pretty much any kind of photo. Since she’s transitioned to heirloom photography, a lot of her work is now done in her home studio, which is currently in her living room. It’s really nice and you feel at ease right away.
After arriving at Monica’s house, Max was initially a little shy. I thought it was really nice of her to have water waiting for him. She also asked him what kind of music he wanted to listen to during the photo session. That made him relax a bit more.
First, she explained to Max her vision for the photo shoot and what she wanted him to do. Then, he got primped and primed by makeup and hair pro Angela Runk from Artistry by Angela, who just moved here from Oregon.
She was so awesome! She gave Max a full head of hair, and later, she made him look like he was dripping sweat. Monica wanted to give him a gritty look, and Max was all for it.
Between wardrobe changes, Angela touched up Max’s hair and makeup as needed. I stood in the background taking photos of the photos being taken.
It was interesting to see the collaboration between the three, and we all had a few laughs throughout the day. Within the 2.5-3 hour session, Max had four wardrobe changes. He was such a good sport!
Post Photo Session Wrap-Up with Monica Lau
After the photo’s were taken, Monica and I arranged a day for me to come back to see the images so I can choose what products I’d like to purchase. That day will be next week for me, so you and I will both be waiting to see what magic she created!
In the meantime, here are some more behind-the-scenes photos.
I can’t wait to see how the powder photos come out!
Sample Monica Lau Photography
Here’s a look at some of Monica’s work. She uses these images to help her clients decide on size and frame selection. So after Max’s photoshoot, I had a good idea of what options I’d have once I came back for the reveal. Aren’t these beautiful!?
This maternity one is one of my absolute FAVORITES!!! It looks ethereal!
Monica Lau Contact Information
I offered to write this post for Monica because I love what she does for the community in giving back. This post isn’t sponsored and I’m getting no compensation in return for it. I just really love her photography, and am so excited to see Max’s beautiful little face on one of her pieces!
If you’d like to contact Monica for your own session or for information on pricing, please contact her directly at the number on the flyer below. Her fundraiser will only run through November, but she’s available for sessions year-round.
Monica Lau Charitable Holiday Portrait Event Flyer
“You don’t take a photograph. You make it. – Ansel Adams”