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Passport to the Pacific


Personal, Sneak Peeks, Travel




The last three weeks have flown by in a beautiful whirlwind! I traveled up the coast of California, across the Pacific and island hopped my way from Oahu to Maui before ending in New Zealand for one final photographic adventure! This entire trip opened my eyes and rattled my soul… I’m not sure how I will ever be able to adequately describe the way this journey changed me.

I felt the sunshine on my skin. I documented love stories in new places. I reconnected with old friends and made new ones. I stepped to the edge of my comfort zone: hiked up mountains, swam through coral reefs, walked through fields of sheep, watched the sunrise from the top of a volcano, and photographed in the pouring rain. And even in writing down that list, I’m barely scratching the surface of what this experience did for me and my business. But, you see, that’s the thing about traveling. It has a tendency to change you in ways that you can never truly explain.

Today, I’m recapping my entire journey in a single post to give you an overview of what you have to look forward to on the blog! Travel posts from our different destinations, lifestyle sessions with sweet couples around the Pacific, and Editorial Shoots that left me speechless! And even though the journey has ended… the fun is just beginning! Get ready for some of my favorite blog posts of ALL TIME! Ahh! It’s so good to be back!

The California Coast

Los Angeles to San Fransisco on the Pacific Coast Highway

We kicked off our trip in California when we landed at the Long Beach Airport just outside of LA! Over the course of five days, we trekked our way up the coast stopping in Santa Barbara, Pismo Beach, San Louis Obispo, Big Sur, Monterey, Carmel, before ending in San Fransisco (and gawking at the Golden Gate Bridge) on our final day! We met with Andrew, Josh, and David from PASS for lunch, chatted with the incredible Amber Karson of Karson Butler Events, and made so many new friends up the coast!

Oh, and how could I forget to mention that we did it all with six designer wedding gowns from Enaura Bridal in the back of Katie’s car! Over the course of five days, we did four unique editorial shoots for Enaura on the beach and in the city. Literally photographing our way up the Pacific Coast Highway and capturing some of my favorite photographs to date! I am so incredibly grateful to my friends at Enaura for loaning us those beautiful gowns and giving us the opportunity to be creative + do what we love!

The Hawaiian Islands

Oahu, Maui, & the turquoise waters in between.

Hawaii Travel Photographs by Natalie Franke PhotographyHawaii Destination Wedding Photographer | Oahu Anniversary Session by Natalie Franke PhotographyHanauma Bay on Oahu | Hawaii Travel Photographs

From San Fransisco we flew all the way to the middle of the Pacific Ocean before landing on the island of Oahu! This served as our first stop in Hawaii and we stayed with the most incredible couple, Lauren + Aaron! I photographed their celebration session in Kailua, captured landscapes that left me breathless, and shot an upcoming feature for the Glitter Guide in Honolulu before we left for our second island… Maui!

And I’m not sure what I can possibly say about Maui. Words will never do this gorgeous place justice. We had two shoots on Maui – the first was an Editorial Shoot for Opihi Love (which I’m sneak peeking above!) and the second was a beachy head shot session for Kaitlin + Brooke, two mainland photographers who were shooting a destination elopement in Hawaii a few days before we arrived! I had met Kaitlin at United last year and we had so much fun photographing these ladies on volcanic rocks at sunset. It was absolutely unreal.

New Zealand: North & South Island

Auckland, The Coromandel, Queenstown, & Milford Sound

New Zealand Travel Photographs by Natalie Franke PhotographyNew Zealand Travel Photographs by Natalie Franke Photography

I think it’s safe to say that we saved the best for last. And that’s still an unbelievable statement because of how breathtaking Hawaii and Big Sur were from earlier in our trip… but, in all honesty… I have never seen a place on this earth as beautiful as New Zealand. The rolling grasslands that give way to jagged mountains and pristine beaches. The people were so friendly, the food was delicious, and we found ourselves wishing that we could pack up and move here. (I’m still trying to convince Huey that it’s a good idea, but he isn’t budging! 😉 Hah!) I absolutely NEED to photograph a Destination Wedding or Elopement here… Because, truly, these coasts were the most romantic that I’ve ever seen.

New Zealand Destination Wedding Photographer | Natalie Franke PhotographyNew Zealand Destination Wedding Photographer | Natalie Franke PhotographyNew Zealand Destination Wedding Photographer | Natalie Franke PhotographyNew Zealand Destination Wedding Photographer | Natalie Franke Photography

While in Auckland, we had the incredible honor of photographing two lifestyle sessions on a family farm about an hour south of the city after our day exploring the Coromandel! And remember how I said we saved the best for last? Well, Queenstown was the cherry on top of our travel ice-cream sundae! Towering mountains and lakes so clear that you could make out every little pebble. This city rightfully claims to be the Adventure Capital of the World, which mirrored our lifestyle session with the Murphy’s who literally jumped into Lake Wakatipu in the pouring rain. I was speechless. And those images… will be an enduring reminder of why I love my job so very much.

So get ready for some pretty epic posts on the blog this week and next week as I recap the trip of a lifetime! And if you’re feeling a major case of travel-fever… you might want to stick around because there is a major announcement headed your way tomorrow!

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Add Your Comment


  1. Casey says:

    I found myself saying over and over again, “OMG! OMG! OMG!” Girl, you killed it!! I love everything so so so much – Seriously, you’re planning a trip for me. This is perfection. Awesome work!

  2. Lacoya H. says:

    AHHHHH – That last photo. HOT! I am SOOOOO excited to read all about your travels! You are so amazing and I love that you got to live out your dreams! XO

  3. Kristi says:

    Girrlll, this already leaves me speecless of this trip and images!!! Gorgeous! Stunning!! And just incredible!! What a dream!!! And makes it official that I HAVE to go to New Zealand!!:-) So excited for you and that this trip changed your life! Can’t wait to see more!!!:-). xoxo

  4. Karena Dixon says:

    Incredible! Just beautiful but your enthusiam is what really jumped off the page for me. Love every word!

  5. Janelle C says:

    I definitely followed your instagram hashtag as you were traveling! I loved everything about your trip! Cant wait to see more on the blog this week!

  6. Renee says:

    I don’t think I have ever been so excited for a sneak peek + future posts as I have with this. So, so, soooooooo amazing and I must say, you’re on fire!

  7. Heather says:

    OH WOW!!! AMAZING!!! Can’t wait to see all of these posts!! 🙂

  8. Ashley S. says:

    Absolutely stunning!!! Thanks for sharing your adventures with us all! xoxo

  9. Ashton says:

    Love. Just all of it! LOVE!

  10. Chloe G says:

    Such a dream! Absolutely stunning!!!

  11. Jaimie M says:

    Natalie, your trip looked amazing! I’m sure you have SO many gigabites of amazing images of your travels! The ones above are just gorgeous. The ones of Hawaii definitely bring me back… I miss living there so much! Glad you had a great time! Keep up the great work <3

  12. Such awesome photos! So happy for you!

  13. Serena says:

    This looks like it was such an incredible time! So excited for your travel adventures and cannot wait to see more from these sets! 🙂

  14. Anna A says:

    Can’t wait to see more!!

  15. I love this! You had such an amazing time, and I’m so thankful I got to meet you both!! 🙂 Miss you guys! xxx

  16. Katie says:

    Absolutely stunning! This trip was so much fun to follow on IG. I cannot wait to see the rest of the posts! I’m dying to travel now!!

  17. Lauren Swann says:

    YAY! Love these and you!! So glad to came back home to me!! XO!

  18. Amber says:

    Yay! So happy to finally meet and to show you gals around San Luis Obispo!! Come back anytime!! Love these gorgeous pictures!!!!

  19. Jennifer says:

    Oh wow, this looks like an amazing trip! I love the last image- well, I love all of them! You’re giving me the travel bug!

  20. Rich howman says:

    I’m fast turning in to your biggest fan Natalie! Such gorgeous natural light and beautiful moments. LOVE IT!

  21. Tatyana says:

    So amazing! Giving me the travel bug 🙂

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