Today we’d like to introduce you to Caitlin Ito.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Caitlin. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My first memories of photography begin with a quintessential 90’s Polaroid I-zone camera. Extremely miniature photos of the most random people and things on my island home of O’ahu, printed on rad, colorful strips. I was immediately obsessed.
As I got older, I moved on to bigger and better cameras, though always with the same desire to learn and connect with others through my lens. I studied film and digital photography as electives, both in the states and abroad. However, photography took a backseat in my college years when I moved from Hawai’i to Los Angeles and began my studies in pediatric occupational therapy. Being an occupational therapist is a major piece of my story, so I am always happy to share this little-known fact. I wear multiple hats, but I don’t think it makes me any less talented at what I do. I like to think I am making a difference in this world through both professions—spreading love and happiness—albeit in very different ways!
Photography has been a major outlet for creativity throughout my childhood, adolescence, and adult life, but also a huge tool for social-connection. I love learning about new people and going deep (let’s forgo the small talk). I love listening to others’ stories and then translating them into something tangible and beautiful, to be held onto forever. Being a photographer is never “work” for me, and I feel extremely grateful to be able to say that.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
No, I wouldn’t say so! The road to establishing my photography business has not been straight and narrow. Rarely do the things worth achieving in life, come easy. Life is too darn complicated! There have been several moments when I’ve needed to stop, step back, take a deep breath, and re-organize. I am early into my career as a professional photographer but where I am now is such a huge contrast from where I was a year ago.
First and foremost, I’ve learned that I can’t do it alone. It is so important to find an encouraging community that supports collaboration and sharing of knowledge.
Second, I’m often perceived as being much younger than I am. No, I’m not still in high school, or even college for that matter haha. When you look young, people may assume your skills are also less mature, or that you are not as experienced. It can sometimes be a challenge to get past these initial assumptions and to prove that yes, I’m just as capable of photographing your wedding as that other person who’s been doing this for 20 years. Thankfully—I think my work often speaks for itself.
Third, I’ve learned that doubt will always find a way to creep back in. Particularly in this age of social media, where you can easily compare your life and your work to hundreds of other people in the course of an hour, it can be a struggle to remember what makes you special; to remember why you do what you do, why you are different, and why you must not give up. This is where my “WHY” comes in. I’ve learned that you must, must, must, write down your “why” to return to when you need a little reminder. There are bound to be roadblocks on your journey, but so long as you remember “why” you are walking in the first place, you will be unstoppable.
Please tell us about Caitlin Alohilani Photography.
I specialize in wedding and lifestyle photography, and my style can be described as natural, joyful, and authentic. It’s always such an honor to be asked to photograph someone’s most special day, their love, their relationship, their growing family, or their life passion. Natural light is my best friend and I love shooting everything from outdoor, family sessions and urban engagements, to beachside maternity shoots and comfy cozy, in-home sessions. I am known for my eye for detail, ability to capture that magical light and to not miss a beat. I am also a bit of a child-whisperer. What can I say—the little ones hold a sweet spot in my heart!
I’m most proud of the fact that I have never had one unhappy client. Perhaps, it’s just because my clients are such amazing people! Whatever the case, I am proud that I can bring joy to other peoples’ lives and serve them better than they ever expected.
My brand is based on the value of aloha, and I don’t say that to be cheesy! Growing up in Hawai’i is a huge part of who I am, and it shapes everything about how I do photography and business. Relationships are everything to me. When my clients work with me, they become part of the ‘ohana. We may meet as strangers but leave as friends and family. From our first meeting to our hugs goodbye, I aim to make my clients feel welcome and known. It is my mission to tell their stories as authentically as possible and to make them feel the utmost comfortable and beautiful in front of my camera. Aloha, joy, kindness, and generosity are all central to who I am as a photographer and person, and I hope that comes through in the way I work!
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I want to say, “nothing really,” because I’m very happy with where my business and I are at, but if I had to choose something, I would say that I would have articulated my “why” from the get-go. I would have sat myself down, and given some deep thought to my reasons for pursuing photography as more than just a hobby so that I would have that reminder in my back-pocket during all those initial moments of doubt. I also would have told myself to get started sooner. Push fear out the door and just go for it! Design the life you want to live and make it happen.
- Weddings range from $1,500-3,000 USD
- Lifestyle Sessions begin at $300 USD
- Website: www.caitlinalohilani.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/caitlinalohilaniphoto/
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/caitlinalohilaniphoto/
- Other: www.pinterest.com/caitlinalohilani/
Caitlin Alohilani Photography