Photography Passion Leads To Booming Biz

Aina Imagery will unveil new pieces like this summer-inspired photo at its July 16 event.

Aina Imagery will unveil new pieces like this summer-inspired photo at its July 16 event.

In only 400 square feet, Andrew McHowell transports guests of Aina Imagery in Hawaii Kai all over the world through his vibrant, color-inspired landscape photography.

His love of photography sprouted at the age of 16, a time when the art form wasn’t seen as lucrative – and wasn’t as trendy as it is now.

“It was cool to be in the forefront of the generation where now everybody has a camera,” he says.

At age 20, McHowell relocated to Hawaii from California and started working in a gallery in Waikiki. One of his friends had suggested getting one of those mirrorless cameras under 1000 practice with it for a bit to see whether this is something he wants to pursue in the long run. From there, his desire to open his own place developed.

“When I first moved here, I didn’t really have any passion to own my own gallery yet,” he says. “I was just trying to get my foot in the photography industry and do consignment work for other galleries. But Aina Imagery has been kind of like my pride and joy for the past four years.”

And his pride and joy has proven to be a stepping stone to greater things. He has published a coffee-table book, New Landscapes, that displays a collection of his work. Plus, he’s looking to open a second location for Aina Imagery.

McHowell was never formally trained in photography, but while living in California he picked it up.

“It was just the lifestyle I was living,” he explains. “I love being outdoors.”

Throughout his travels to places that include the Amalfi Coast in Italy or Patagonia National Park in Chile, he’s always had a camera in hand – which has resulted in capturing images of the kind of beautiful landscapes that most people only dream about.

A look inside the Hawaii Kai studio

A look inside the Hawaii Kai studio

“I felt passionate about it, and it just kind of molded me into pursuing photography more seriously,” he says.

Also an avid surfer, McHowell says that Hawaii is the perfect place for him – both for his outdoor pursuits, as well as his career. (New Landscapes is filled with plenty of shots from around the state.)

“None of my family is here, but I’m in that mindset where I feel I have to do what I have to do,” he explains. “I didn’t feel like I could have accomplished what I did back in California. I didn’t have time to think about ‘what if.’

“Once you pursue it and sell your first image, it really builds your confidence.”

McHowell recently returned from a three-day fishing trip in Alaska – and, yes, he did bring his camera. He now is preparing for Aina Imagery’s Summer Champagne Event from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. July 23, when he will ring in the season with new summer prints.

“I try to, every two months, release new pieces into the gallery to keep everything fresh,” McHowell says. “In the summer, it’s my favorite time to do these types of events.”

To attend the Summer Champagne Event, RSVP to LaMarca Prosecco and local chocolate will be provided. For more information on Aina Imagery and to view some of McHowell’s work, visit