About Hawaii Photographer - Rei Mooney Photography

Hawaii Portrait Photographer Hawaii Fine Art Photographer Hawaii Wedding Photogtrapher

E ko mo mai,

I am a portrait, wedding, and commercial photographer based on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.

My passion for photography began at a young age. Having always been a right brained girl (and a lefty at that!) I was always drawn to art and expression. I got A's in Fine Art, Theatre and English, but don't ask what I got in Physics class!  I was lucky to have gone to a school that put just as much, if not more focus on fine arts, theatre, and music rather than emphasizing school sports. With my talented and enthusiastic classmates and influential mentors by my side, I somehow survived and graduated high school with an IB Diploma with a concentration in English, fine art, and theatre arts. Having attended an international school in Japan, I also graduated with a bilingual diploma in Japanese, which I am now so grateful for when connecting with my international clients.

While I have a creative mind, I was always aware (especially next to such talented classmates) that my painting, drawing, and sculpting skills could not compare. As hard as I tried, I knew I would never know the patience nor have the skill to create masterpieces like my fellow students. This is when I began to create art with what already is, and when I realized photography would be my strongest forte. The fact that I could show the world what I see through my eyes without setting pen to paper was a miracle, and I fell in love with my camera.

While I was attending college at the University of Hawaii in Manoa, I lived in the darkroom with my former classmates. Despite the rumors of ghosts, I even slept in the art building a few times too tired to return to my dorm after nights of printing in the dark room. 
I fell in love with the process of making prints, the creative intention in the first click of the shutter, all the way to the moment you dodge and burn your prints for the perfect exposure. What was once a daunting process, putting the negative on a spool in the dark, all the way to agitating and mixing chemicals, I grew fond of this meditational process. The reward after the struggle was a magical moment when you saw your image come to being as if by a spell under the red safe light in the dark room. This is where I learned the quote, "You don't take a photograph, you make it." Ansel Adams couldn't have said it better. I grew to appreciate that like other art forms, photography had a process. It began with nothing, a blank negative, to a wonderful window exposing a precise moment in time, with a precise blanket of light. 

While one may think a photograph begins and ends with the pressing of a finger, it is much more than that. There is first the object you are photographing, which may or may not have a mind of it's own. Then there is your camera which becomes an extention of your eye and perception. Then there are your hands that hold the camera and tilt and angle and shift the perspective to present the object in a particular way. Then there is the precise moment when the image is made, often less than 1/40th of a second. Finally, there is the post processing in which you emphasize on the focal points in the picture and to enhance the image as art to create a new moment based on the moment you photographed. In a day and age where everyone, including inquisitive 3 year olds can take magnificent high resolution images on an iPhone, a photo is just often a documentation rather than a creation. In my photography, I strive to create images that reflect the ambiance or feeling of my subjects, using in camera and post processing techniques to bring out the "magic" that cannot be seen, only felt.

My journey with professional photography truly only began 3 years ago, when I left my wonderful mentor and friend to set foot on my own. When I was too afraid to follow my dreams, my parents and brother encouraged me to pursue my passion. I am so thankful to my family who believed in me before I had the confidence to believe in myself. I can't forget to mention my wonderful clients without whom I would not be writing this today!

I am grateful to live and work in this Paradise called Hawaii, photographing a multitude of subjects and projects from, high end weddings, fine art, family portraits, to 1st birthday parties, trash the dress sessions, couples, modeling portfolios, fashion, art, and more and I hope to continue for years to come.

I can't wait to make you a part of this wonderful journey, and I am so looking forward to hearing from you! 

Me ke Aloha,



Getty Images Latin America

Chaminade University of Hawaii 


Power Yoga Hawaii

Paradise Cove Luau

Banco Itau

Turn Here



Donald Boyce (Hawaiian Santa)

Face Art Beauty

Hawaii Bone Marrow Donor Registry

Loaded Dice (Rock Band)


Some of my lovely clients have been kind enough to share their comments on their photo session with Rei Mooney Photography.

"Can't thank you enough for the great work you did capturing the work environment at Itau Tokyo Branch. Your creativeness and gentleness helped everyone at the branch feel relaxed and natural. 
 Thank you so much. Hope we can work together on another project again." 

- Karlo Cohello, Banco Itau, Commercial Photography

"Rei was awesome! A cheerful professional who was a delight to work with!"

- Brendan Ahern, Actor, Hawaii Acting and Modeling Portfolio Photography
"Our experience with Rei was wonderful.  She comes on time, makes you feel relaxed, and very personable. We previously worked with Rei on a lifestyle shoot, but this time around we ask her to help us with a more creative/fun photoshoot.We were shooting for a particular look, and she was able to execute it with no problem. Rei is even great at improvising!  and makes everyone feel comfortable with taking pictures. From experienced models to everyday celebrities she makes you feel like a super expert in front of the camera. Thank you so much Rei, you are simply the best."
- Dhyana Leung, Face Art Beauty (Makeup), Fashion Photography
"She photographed exactly how I wanted to be shot. Very open person and easy to work with. A delight that I would recommend to anyone! (And will!)"
- Molly Ashton, Model, Model Portfolio Photography
"Rei was very professional and sweet. She was very patient and we felt very comfortable. Thank you for the wonderful pictures."
- Kelly Rickard, Mother, Hawaii Family Beach Portrait
"Loved it, you were great and made me feel so comfortable. We've never had our pictures done before, it was a lot of fun!!"
- Rachel and Josh Wasser, Married Couple, Romantic Couples Photography
"Friendly, great to work with. Great rapport with children; my daughter loved working with Rei. She had so much fun and said "I don't want this day to end!""
- Melanie Matsumoto, Mother, Child Portrait Photography
"Rei was so patient and creative with my two young boys! She made us feel relaxed and comfortable. Thank you for capturing such great memories!"
- Lisa McCann, Mother, Family Portrait Photography
"Rei, the photos are absolutely gorgeous! The blues are beautiful! I can't stop looking at them! Thank you!"
- Natalie Watson, Mother, Beach Portrait Photography