Exclusive: Photographer Whose Beach Wedding Photo Shoot Went Viral Explains Why Couples Should Be Adventurous

wave crash beach wedding photoshootA couple posing in the ocean for a post-wedding photo shoot was knocked over by a wave. The result was stunning, and the photographer opens up to The Knot. (Photo by Sunny Golden/Sunny Golden)

Not all moments go as expected; in fact, they end up even better. That’s precisely what happened to newlyweds Bekah and Tim Blakely-Savage during a recent beach wedding photo shoot in Hawaii. 

The couple, who married in Alaska in September, decided to have a post-wedding photo shoot on the beach. The pair hired Hawaii-based photographer Sunny Golden to document what they had envisioned: dreamy images capturing their newlywed love in a beautiful destination.

The day of, Bekah wore a white full-length skirt and sheer illusion top with cap sleeves. Her husband Tim coordinated in a white linen shirt and khakis. They took pictures walking along the beach, but decided to move closer to the water. “Bekah and Tim specifically came to me wanting ‘wave-crashing-around-us shots’ as she put it,” Golden says. “I intentionally placed them in a spot along the beach where I knew they would get some wave action.”

couple viral beach photoshoot

Sunny Golden/Sunny Golden

The couple kissed as they waited to get their oceanside shot. “When I saw the wave coming for Bekah and Tim, I could tell it was gonna be a good one,” Golden says. “It was pretty big, so I knew we’d have a good chance of a nice dramatic splash.” Golden was right. The wave was large and crashed all the way around the couple—and Golden caught it all on camera.

wave crash beach wedding photoshoot

Sunny Golden/Sunny Golden

The resulting image went viral. Eager to share the unique photo, Bekah posted it on Reddit and the response was extremely positive with users giving the couple glowing reviews on their candid wedding photo.

We didn’t necessarily intend on trashing the dress, but the ocean had other plans from r/wedding

“We didn’t necessarily intend on trashing the dress, but the ocean had other plans,” Bekah wrote. Despite the damage done to the dress, Bekah told Fox News that the dress was salvaged by dry cleaners and looks as good as new.

While the couple did sign up for a “wave crash” photo, they didn’t quite expect the aftermath of the picture. Golden says that the wave had a lot of force from the tide that drew the couple into the ocean. “I looked up from the back of my camera and saw Bekah trying to hold Tim back from getting swept into the shore break,” she says. “I got a little nervous for them at first, but then when I saw Bekah cracking up hysterically, I knew that they were just fine.”

After making sure the couple was safe, Golden took pictures of the couple’s post-wave reaction. She describes it as, “the best and most hilarious sequence of photos ever.” Bekah Blakely-Savage told Insider that the moments captured after the wave are some of the best pictures. “The picture-perfect shot with the wave crashing over us is amazing, but the sequence that follows is really our favorite part,” she told Insider. 

Though the process may not have gone exactly according to plan, that ended up being a good thing. Couples have to embrace bumps in the road during their photo sessions, Golden says. “You can either choose to remember how everything went wrong or how there was a quirky change of events that maybe wasn’t what you wanted, but it was fun and will now make a really cool and exciting wedding story.” Another bonus? You’ll get some really unique wedding photos out of it, which the couple did.

They handled the wave aftermath like champs, Golden says. “This was what they wanted and signed up for, so I think they were mentally prepared to get smacked around by the ocean a bit,” she tells The Knot. “Any of my couples that willingly allow me to set them up for these kinds of situations are true adventurous souls in my book.” 

Golden tells The Knot that being adventurous with your wedding photos is a great way to make more memories during this special time in your life. “When you heighten the adventure of a shoot, the couple will have more things to remember about the overall experience,” she says. “They’ll look back on the images and not only see how bomb they looked, but also remember how fun it was to have hiked up a mountain or splashed around in the ocean with their photographer. They’ll remember the belly laughs and sandy clothes, and it’ll bring a smile to their faces.”

wave crash aftermath 1

Sunny Golden/Sunny Golden

wave crash aftermath 2

Sunny Golden/Sunny Golden

wave crash aftermath 3

Sunny Golden/Sunny Golden

wave crash aftermath 4

Sunny Golden/Sunny Golden

Golden has a lot of experience photographing couples in the ocean. She says the approach adds a new level of excitement and joy to photos. “Who wouldn’t laugh at themselves a little when they decide to jump into the water in their clothes?” she asks. “It’s silly and doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but that’s exactly what we need sometimes. Even if I’m working with the most serious couple ever, throwing them in the ocean almost never fails to put a big smile on their faces and really encourages some genuine interaction between them.”

The other key to getting gorgeous wedding photos? Getting to know your photographer, Golden says. In fact, her favorite part of her job is getting to know couples and hearing their stories. “Who wants to go on an adventure with some random person they never connected with or talked to?” she says. “The more we connect and get to know one another, the more comfortable being in front of the camera gets, which every couple deserves.”

Working with a professional photographer ensures that you have an expert navigating the picture-taking process (which is especially helpful when things don’t go as planned). Couples looking to book their own photo pro can use Flytographer, a service that connects couples to photographers all over the world, or check out the network of professionals on The Knot.

couple kissing beach photo

Sunny Golden/Sunny Golden



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