Diamond Head Beach Park Elopement Wedding Photography

Stacy + Jordan

This was surely an elopement of bittersweet experience.  Stacy and Jordan chose to elope at Diamond Head Beach Park, were the foothills of an extinct volcano meet the ocean.  At the south slope of Diamond Head crater at the most eastern end of Waikiki, there is a narrow stretch of beach made popular by surfers, as well as those who seek a lovely view without the crowd.  

The plan was simple.  Meet the officiant at 5:30pm, be married by 5:45pm, and then do some natural light photography until the sun was to set at 6:22pm, when we were then to do a sunset portrait session.  However, the officiant didn't show at 5:30pm.  He got stuck in Waikiki's gridlock rush hour traffic.  

The sky was beautiful with a thin layer of haze right above the surface of the ocean and the colors were of light blues, pinks and grey.  The light was fading fast as we waited.  Rather than allow stress to ruin the couple's evening, we decided to take pictures while we waited for the reverend to arrive.  The reverend didn't arrive until 15 minutes until the sun was scheduled to sink below the horizon.  It was somewhat dark by then with limited twilight light and we had already shot the sunset portrait photos.  We were faced with performing the ceremony in the dark and I was stricken with the decision of whether to use a flash or not.  As many already know, flash photography for a ceremony in low light conditions doesn't product the most flattering type of images.  The light can be harsh, or inconsistent, and there are many moments that can be missed while waiting for the flash to recharge.  The only other option is to shoot with wide apertures and bump ISO's, but this too has its drawbacks.  High ISO's can produce grainy images and wide apertures present the likelihood of soft, or out-of-focused subjects.

This was the first time I ever shot a sunset portrait session before I shot the ceremony.  I ended up deciding to shoot the ceremony with wide open apertures of 1.2 and 1.4 and managed to minimize ISO settings to produce some very interesting ceremony pictures.  The wide apertures pulled in every ounce of available sky light from the long-gone sun and produced faint pastel colors with a milky sky and ocean scene.  These images were shot in sequence as the sun was departing.  The backlit half-silhouettes were taken just as the reverend arrived and represent the true color and light of the sky.  


 Location:  Diamond Beach Park, Sea Cliffs, Waikiki, Hawaii

Photographer: Ryan Jones