Woman Saves Young Boy From Drowning During Her Engagement Photo Shoot


During a recent engagement shoot at Wissahickon Creek in Pennsylvania, photographer Ken Beerger had the genre of his images unexpectedly change from love and romance to danger and documentary. In the end, Beerger captured some intense photographs, a young boy’s life was saved, and one of his subjects is now being called a hero.

It was on the afternoon of Saturday, June 29th, 2013. Beerger was photographing bride-to-be Becki Salmon and her fiancé Matt Werner near trees and running water. Meanwhile, a 5-year-old boy was playing on the bank of the creek in the background (he can be seen in the image above).


Near the end of the 3-hour shoot, the peaceful environment suddenly changed when the young boy ventured too far into the creek, lost his footing, and began to drown. A friend of the couple noticed ripples and a head bobbing in the water where the boy had been playing.

Without any hesitation, Salmon, a trained lifeguard and paramedic, ran to the area and jumped into the water to save the boy (the mother jumped in shortly afterward as well).

When he saw that everything was under control, Beerger decided to keep his eye on his viewfinder and continue making photographs (he tells the NY Daily News that he would have jumped in as well if needed).

Here is the sequence of photos that resulted:






Those who were present say that the murkiness of the water could have made impossible to locate the boy if he had disappeared completely under the surface.

We’re guessing this isn’t an engagement shoot the Werners will soon forget.

(via ABC7News via SLR Lounge)

Image credits: Photographs by Ken Beerger and used with permission

  • Kenneth Stonewall

    “Pro” photographer?

  • jan

    Since it’s unlikely that there will be engagement photo shoots with a lifeguard taking place near your kids when they are close to water on a regular basis it’s a good idea to take them to swimming lessons.

  • Guest

    I only see ‘photographer’, so no need to get whiney about someone’s outdoor ability

  • tomdavidsonjr

    While there was no mention in the article of him being a pro, the link in the article to his portfolio is evidence that he IS a talented professional photographer. I assume by the sniping “Pro” interrogative, you are implying that he is not a good photographer – based only on a couple of the shots he allowed to be released for this article.
    The point of the article was probably NOT to invite critique of Ken Beerger’s work, but to reveal that even a client who probably spent a lot of time getting ready for her engagement shoot can turn hero in an instant, and selflessly do the right thing, even if it meant she might ruin her clothes, undo the work she did on her hair, possibly even risk her own life. There ARE still really good people in the world. This was a great reminder of that.

  • tomdavidsonjr

    A closer read of the article might reveal that the kids belonged to a different person who happened to be at the same location they were doing the shoot. She wasn’t saving her own kid. She was saving someone else’s kid and riding home from her engagement shoot in wet clothing.

  • SaveTheWorldGetTheGirl

    Too bad she couldn’t save the photoshoot too >.>

  • some guy

    tom, a closer read of jan’s comment might reveal that it was directed at the mother of the child, not the photo-subject/bride-to-be/lifeguard.

  • Guest

    A closer read of Jan’s comment might reveal that she’s quite aware that the child belonged to someone else and was pointing out that there will not always be someone on hand to save your child, therefore it’s better to make sure your kid can swim.

  • Miker

    LMAO…..what “Good” engagement photographer has kids in the background?

  • tomdavidsonjr

    Yeah, well… no matter how many times I read Jan’s comment, it seems unnecessarily critical of the bride to be, as the subject and object of her sentence both appear to be in the context of the person going to the photoshoot. I could be wrong. I’m just generally bothered by the negativity in the posts about this woman turned hero, and this post seems to fall into the category of entirely missing the point.

  • Melissa

    All you people can think about is the photographer? How about the fact that this girl rescued the boy??? Geesh. You people need help learning what’s important and what is not.

  • ripley

    Why is the groom doing hover hands in the second picture? (check out his left hand)

  • Sarah Fullshem

    A closer read reveals the location of the Lindburgh baby, the resting place of Jimmy Hoffa, and the 2.7 million tons of bombs that were dropped on Cambodia during America’s secret four-year war. Why the bride-to-be only saved one life this day, and not the 87 Americans that are killed each day via gun violence, we’ll just never know. I suppose she was just too busy being a selfless individual. How UnAmercian of her.

  • robisrob

    stop being so defensive folks, this is a photography website and the photos are awful. people are going to have fun with that it’s the internet

  • Gman

    where were the parents at?

  • Link

    A closer read if this comment thread makes you realize how much time we are wasting commenting and reading things everyone knows.

  • Justin Haugen

    I would say that young boy saved HER from that photoshoot!

  • ReedCloser

    a closer read tells me that people like to say “a closer read” on petapixel

  • genevievelism

    like everyone zooming the lens of their camera to see the same thing.

  • Michael Palmer

    lol ;-)

  • Vin Weathermon

    Petapixel commenters snipe other people more than any other forum I’ve been in, except maybe ModelMayhem (maybe they are the same commenters, who knows?) Generally, looking for mean things to say about the person’s skill level, rather than cheering them on. Perhaps they believe they are infinitely more talented and therefore have earned the right make scathing comments, However, largely most photographers are good people and it seems like only the bored and mean spend their time sniping on Petapixel. It makes the positive attempt at a story less enjoyable to read. You know who you are. Quit sniping.

  • Guest

    I agree with the original comment. I also reviewed his site and I just
    see a bunch of mediocre to terrible photos that someone tried to make
    interesting with photo editing software. And let’s face it anyone could
    do that.

    When someone is for hire and charges for their service yes they are calling themselves a “Pro”.

    be like saying “I hired a Plumber to fix my toilet and it still doesn’t
    work”. And someone responding with “Well next time you should hire a
    ‘Professional’ Plumber”.

  • Max

    That kid was probably a great little swimmer and having a ball until she dived in and traumatised his little soul with her big interfering self..

  • Alex

    Well you’re something special.

  • jhk

    Hopefully with all this publicity she can make some money off it and hire a better photographer for her wedding.