Even with everything planned to a T and an over-prepared proposer, surprise proposals could get tricky. But they are one of the most memorable days in your couple’s lives, and they lay their trust in you to capture every special moment. So, as a proposal photographer, you’ve got to be prepared. When someone approaches you for proposal photography, they have probably already spent a long time planning it. Now, all they need is your expertise to document that big day for them in the best way possible. From when your proposer kneels to the wave of emotions your couple will feel after the ‘yes’, there’s so much to capture in a proposal. This blog takes you through the ins and outs of photographing a proposal, including where to hide and the right to come out!
7 Tips For Perfect Proposal Photography
1. Do a Walkthrough
No matter how well-prepared your proposer is, there is no such thing as being over-prepared for the proposal. If you can, do a walkthrough one day before with the proposer and anyone else who has a role to play in the proposal. A walkthrough will help put the proposer at ease and get everyone on the same page, and if there are any loopholes or scope of errors, you will have plenty of time to fix that too. If meeting in person is not possible, you could connect on a call or video call with the same people and virtually discuss the whole plan.
2. Scout the Location in Advance
Like you would check out a venue before photographing a wedding, scouting the location where the proposal will take place can also be helpful. This way, you will get familiar with all the great spots for photos in advance and spend less time searching for them on the day of the proposal. As you check out the location in advance, you could also find your hiding spot. Ideally, the person being proposed to shouldn’t be able to see you, but you should be able to get a clear shot of them. If you decide to visit the location in advance, try going around the time the proposal is supposed to take place.
3. Find Your Ideal Lighting
Scouting the location in advance will also allow you to check out the kind of lighting you will be working with, and that is why we suggested that you visit the place around the time the proposal is supposed to happen. Instruct your proposer on where to stand and kneel based on the best angles and lighting and ensure that they remember the spots so that everything can run smoothly on the D-Day. As important as it is for the proposal to go according to how your client imagined it, the right lighting will help you create stellar photos that could help them relive that moment even years down the line.
Suggested Read: How To Shoot In Small And Dark Wedding Venues
4. Get The Staff On Board
If your client is going to pop the big question to their partner in their favorite restaurant or ice cream parlor, you could get the staff of the establishment to help you out. While your proposer might reach out to them anyway, you could do your part too. They might be able to arrange for better lighting or help you find a great hiding spot from where you’d be able to take the best proposal photos of your couple. If you are asking why they would want to help you? They might just be excited about playing their little role in someone’s love story.
5. Get Your Telephoto Lens Ready
No matter how much you love your prime lenses, when photographing a surprise proposal, you might not get the time to change them to get all the best proposal shots from afar. Everything happens so quickly, and if in between changing your lenses, you happen to miss getting the picture where your proposer kneels, then you have pretty much missed the most important moment of the proposal photography session. And redoing it won’t really be as exciting or authentic. So when it comes to preparing for the session, remember to pack your zoom lens.
6. Don’t Come Out Right After The ‘Yes’
After the big yes, don’t come right out! Wait at your hiding spot for some more time and witness the emotions unfold. Keep taking pictures of your couple and especially close-ups of your client’s partner to capture their expressions. They could be surprised, overwhelmed, happy, and teary all at once. Some couples may feel vulnerable and embarrassed being photographed while crying. To ensure that your couple is comfortable and can truly express themselves, keep photographing from a distance even when the ring has been placed on the finger.
7. Do a Mini Engagement Session
Now, it would be time for you to surprise the couple! While they’re still soaking in their emotions and trying to gain their calm after all that excitement, approach them and introduce yourself to your client’s partner. Take this opportunity to do a mini engagement session for them, even if it wasn’t planned. This way, they get some more amazing photos (where they are BOTH aware of your presence). Seeing your commitment to documenting their love story might even prompt them to book you for an official engagement session. If practical, you could also offer them two-three ready-to-post images that they can use to announce their engagement.
Proposal photos can turn out to be some of the most magical and authentic images. But most of it depends on how well prepared you and your proposer are. So, doing a walkthrough before the proposal day, familiarizing yourself with the location and all the best photography spots, and anticipating all the critical moments is crucial in proposal photography. Have your gear ready and try to capture every moment as it is happening in front of you. And lastly, once your bride and groom are ready, offer them a free mini session to celebrate this special moment. Who knows, if you haven’t already, you might even end up booking yourself another wedding!
At ShootDotEdit, we love sharing tips that help you hone your photography skills. And to help you focus more on doing what you love, we also help to lessen your post-production workload by offering professional photo editing services that match your style. To learn more about how we can help your wedding photography business, check out our pricing plans.