dolphins on the Na'Pali coast


If you had a chance to adventure in Kauai, would you take it?

Back in September of last year, I came across a retreat and the word “Kauai” caught my eye (DREAM trip, am I right?!!) I hopped on the waitlist IMMEDIATELY and then came time to pull the trigger and book it!

I’d love to say that I threw caution to the wind and jumped without a second thought but let’s be real.. I overanalyze everything. Here’s the thing though – all the analyzing in the world couldn’t have prepared me for what was to come.

Simply put, here’s what I expected: Visit a dream destination. Meet some like-minded women. Take some incredible photos.

Here’s what I got: From the moment I stepped off the plane in Hawaii, I felt something… like when you know that you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be in that very moment. As if life was just waiting for you to step forward in faith so this chapter of your story could be written. And that feeling followed me around the rest of the weekend…


Kauai photography retreat


As I walked up the drive to the house where we were spending the weekend, I felt empowered and inspired. It’s hard to describe it any other way. I was met with open arms, authentic excitement and an overwhelming feeling that told me the connections that were forming were going to be the life-long kind.

During intros on night one, I expected that we’d do what I’ve done dozens of times at other photography related gatherings… “name, length of time in business, specialty, etc.” But this was different. We were asked to share our “30 second life stories”… They wanted to know WHO we were, beyond the photographer.

When it comes to events like this, the host(s) set the tone for just about everything.. and that rang so true here. Mersadi & Kerri far exceeded any expectations I could have dreamed up. They poured into us. Taught us. Encouraged us. Transformed us. Cultivated REAL connections. Even in their moments of exhaustion (this event was no easy feat to plan & execute!!), they always went out of their way to make sure each of us was ok..
no not just ok, AMAZING.


Kauai elopement photographer retreat


I could probably write a novel about my adventure in Kauai. The connections I made with the other women who attended – it was like all of our paths were meant to cross and two people curated the perfect platform for it to manifest. The way every shoot was managed with such intentionality that ensured each of us walked away feeling fulfilled. The Na’Pali coast tour that will forever be one of the most exhilarating things I’ve ever done. The spontaneous questions asked throughout the weekend that prompted us to stop and reflect – “What’s the last thing you did that you felt insanely proud of yourself for?”


The FEARS I overcame that grew me in ways I never imagined possible.

Oahu elopement photographer

That’s me.. The girl who loves the ocean but was always terrified to get into it past her toes

Two women set out to create an experience with one thing in mind-
How can we get these women to leave this weekend as better humans, not just better photographers.


photographers retreat kauai, hawaii


And you guys- they freakin did just that!!! Not only did I experience Kauai… it’s become a part of my story. This experience has made me want to do more things that scare me. It’s given me the courage to jump more often – to stop doubting. Because you never know when a new chapter is about to be inscribed on your life.

xo. Emma

Kauai beach elopement

Hanalei Bay Elopement
Hosts: Mersadi Olson & Kerri Carlquist
Couple: Martina & Michael
Hair & Makeup: Meghan Daul / Kauai Wedding Hair & Makeup
Florals & Design: Blend Designs Co.


Feeling inspired to plan & document your own adventure? Maybe an anniversary getaway or your dream destination elopement! Contact me and let’s create some MAGIC!

Kauai : Adventure in Paradise

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