DLNR Press Release: KAUA’I VISITORS BUREAU AND DLNR HOST A VIRTUAL SEMINAR FOR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS
Published on February 18, 2022 in Latest news from the department, Press room
(LĪHUʻE) – After filing countless complaints over several years regarding illegal or unauthorized wedding photography on county and state lands, commercial photographers today got their questions answered. ‘authorisation.
Two dozen Kaua’i-based photographers participated in a virtual seminar, designed to help clarify various rules and regulations associated with working on public lands. The meeting was the result of two commercial photography companies receiving cease-and-desist notices from DLNR’s Division of State Parks (DSP) late last year, ordering them to remove photos from their websites and other platforms that were shot outside of bounded areas or without the required permit(s).
Kelly Pila of the Hawai’i State Film Office told the group that regulators, like DLNR and Kaua’i County, are working to improve clarity in the film licensing process. “Admittedly, due to the various land jurisdictions involved and the evolution of the commercial photography industry, we have not always made changes to our rules. The proliferation of websites promoting wedding services has not only increased the workload for approval agencies, but has complicated the process.
For years, the Kaua’i Visitors’ Bureau and the Association of Wedding Professionals of Kaua’i have filed complaint after complaint of photography businesses taking clients to clearly closed areas. “The most frequent complaint center around Wailua Falls,” said KVB executive director Sue Kanoho, who personally handled many calls. “It gives a black eye to the entire industry of wedding professionals, when people standing at Wailua Falls overlook a photographer, bride, groom or drone operator at the foot of the waterfall. There are signs that this is a closed area so no one should use the excuse of…we didn’t know.
Wailua Falls falls under the DSP and Deputy Administrator Alan Carpenter is aware of the issues there and in other Kaua’i and state park units. “We want to work with commercial photographers who follow the rules, obtain the required permits and do not conduct commercial activities in established closed areas such as Wailua Falls or in the Nāpali Coast State Wilderness Park. Although we support industry, our primary mission is the protection of natural and cultural resources.
The Kaua’i Division Chief of DLNR’s Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement (DOCARE) explained, “Often photographers not only lead clients into closed areas, but put them in situations that could be dangerous. We are lucky that no one was injured. This is the reason why there are many places to legally create stunning Hawaiian wedding photography and others that are prohibited for the protection of people, natural and cultural resources.
Today’s presenters detailed what activities require permits, outlined differences between state and county rules when multiple permits may be required, and discussed posting and tagging photos responsibly.
Other speakers were Sandy Ka’auwai, Kaua’i Film Commissioner and Alison Neustein, Kaua’i Land Agent with the DLNR Land Division. The seminar was recorded and is now posted online as a resource for current and future commercial photographers. Future seminars are planned to address other types of permitted commercial activities on public lands.
Kanoho concluded, “We realize there are concerns about overtourism in our community, and this is a step to ensuring that commercial activity can lawfully and appropriately co-exist with other public land uses, without unnecessarily harming recreational or outdoor experiences of both visitors and kama’aina.
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(All images/videos courtesy of DLNR)
HD Video – Kaua’i Commercial Wedding Photography Webinar (February 18, 2020):
HD video – Wailua Falls State Park (August 2021):
Photographs – Kaua’i Commercial Wedding Photography Webinar (February 18, 2020):
Photographs – Wailua Falls State Park (August 2021):
Senior Communications Manager
Hawaii Department of Lands and Natural Resources