Iʻm so happy you’re here! Thank you for stopping by!
I love things filled with aloha and culture. I'm a daughter, wife, mother, & a story teller.
I love photography, because it’s a visual medium for telling stories! I think stories are how we make sense of this thing we call life. Life. Breath it in life- filled with the highest of highs, the darkest of disappointments, and everything that makes us human, vulnerable, and whole.
The word aloha is said to come from two words- 1) alo: to be in the presence of- think of having someone stand face to face with you, and 2) ha: the breath of life. Aloha is sharing that breath, life, and love.
I capture photographs that partake in that breath.
Based in East Mesa, Arizona- available to travel statewide and beyond
Images by: Thomas Shull Photography
A little more about me:
I’m a wife and mother.
My husband, James, and I met while attending BYU-H on the Northshore of Hawaii where I graduated with a degree in Hawaiian Studies. Most people who see me usually ask, “Leilani, that’s a Hawaiian name. Are you from there?” My reply is usually along the lines of, “No, but my mom is Hawaiian, and my name is a family name.” While I’m not photographing families or weddings, you can usually find me volunteering with the Arizona Aloha Festival. I help with their cultural education outreach. We visit schools and teach on subjects like Polynesian colonialism, navigation/ wayfinding, story telling, song, music, and dance. If youʻd like us to visit a school in your area, let me know! I also lead a monthly Hawaiian Language study group in Phoenix with the Arizona Aloha Festival that weʻd love to have more people join.
My husband and I were only friends in college. As fate would have it, we met up again two years after we both graduated, and the rest is history. My husband has a passion for cooking- something many of his friends and family appreciate, myself included! I love studying values and how they play out in culture and life. My husband’s top two values are preparedness and joy. Our sons keep us busy. We’re parents to a 2 year old and 4 year old. I love seeing the pure joy that radiates from them.
My photographic style is connected, genuine, and soulful.
I love family history. In many ways, that’s where both my love of photography and the Hawaiian culture stem. Born and raised in Arizona, I’m part Hawaiian, Chinese, Dutch, Cherokee Indian, French, English, Italian, Scottish, Irish, Austrian... the list goes on. On my Dad’s side, I have ancestors that fought in the American Revolutionary War! On my mom’s side, my great-grandfather met my great-grand-mother, a young Hawaiian woman, while he was in the Army stationed in Honolulu. They were there for and witnessed the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Photography is our way of preserving our history for future generations, telling our story, and saving treasures for the future.
My Personal Values:
Growth- I have a huge appetite for learning. I’ll do the hard thing, if it means I get to experience something new and grow from it. I love learning in all it’s forms and glory.
Health- Through my battles with health, I’ve learned to never take it for granted. Sleep, exercise, and healthy eating are habits I’m working on growing. What we do for our bodies today, affects the life we live tomorrow.
Preparedness- This is really one of my husband’s top personal values, but it’s so high on his list that I’ve grown to adopt it too. Being prepared helps us meet the future with confidence and without fear. We strive to be prepared.
I'm a lover of all things filled with aloha and culture. I'm a daughter, wife, mother, and I'm a story teller.