Tis the season to be jolly - and to be engaged. Those between the ages of 19 and 30 can prepare to have their newsfeeds flooded with pictures of rings and “I SAID YES”. More than a few people I know will be filtering their Facebook to avoid these very posts. But, many of you are waiting anxiously for him to pop the question or know a friend who is. This post is for you! If you are proposing this holiday season, or know someone who is, share this with them so they can be prepared to capture this special moment. Today’s post is all about why you should photograph your proposal, who to ask, how to prepare, and even some photography tips to pass along to your chosen spy.
To the guy with the ring in his pocket,
Why you need photos:
Aside from my actual wedding day, the night Evan proposed to me is one of my favorite moments in my personal history. Girls dream about it their whole life, but unlike a wedding, have VERY little control over planning it! It’s your job to consider your future bride’s wishes.
If she has proposal photos all over her Pinterest and frequently reads through proposal stories on Facebook or gushes over her friends’ proposal photos, you can bet that she is hoping-or even expecting- to have her own photos to share!
Even if she’s not “one of those” girlfriends, this will be one of the most special moments of your relationship and you will both enjoy looking at photos of it and reflecting over it for years to come, even if you don’t post them all over social media. Give yourself the opportunity to relive this moment for the rest of your life!
Your girlfriend will feel so special and loved, knowing that you thought ahead and went the extra mile to capture her reaction.
Who to ask-
Once you’ve understood the importance of having pictures taken, you need to pick someone to capture the moment! Outlined here is three options, some sample scenarios and why you should or shouldn’t pick that option:
A family member or friend: Evan asked our friends, Rachel and Ben, to photograph and video our proposal. If the lights and candles in the tree didn’t tell me Evan was about to propose, Rachel and Ben crouching behind the bushes with cameras did. However, it was so fun for me to hug them after and we’ll always be able to share that moment together because they were there with us! In another example, my brother asked me to shoot his proposal years ago, but asked me to hide. Because we were in a deserted area, it was imperative that I stayed hidden from sight until he got on one knee. It was stressful and I had to stay far away, but it all worked out and I enjoyed witnessing the moment.
Pros: They get to be there with you for your special moment! Your fiancé will be happy to see them after you’ve popped the question.
Cons: They will have to hide or have a REALLY good excuse as to why they’re hanging around with a camera in order to not spoil the surprise. They may not have great camera skills.
A stranger: A friend of mine once asked a stranger to take their picture on his phone and then dropped to his knee-surprising her and the stranger! Some guys excuse themselves from the girl, find a nearby stranger (or waiter at a restaurant), give them a phone or camera and ask them to take photos of the upcoming moment.
Pro: Low-risk of spoiling the surprise, especially if you frequently ask people to take photos for you.
Cons: There might not be anyone around if you’re not in a busy area and it can be hard to trust someone to take a decent photo- I’m shocked by how many people (young and old) still struggle to take a photo on an iPhone. Many people simply do not have the skills or knowledge.
A professional: If you care about your photos and know that your fiancé will appreciate a beautiful full gallery documenting the moment, a professional is the way to go!
Pros: If she doesn’t know them, she won’t think much about their presence- even when wielding cameras. There are photographers walking around taking photos of nature and cities everywhere I go it seems. You’re guaranteed to have beautiful photos! Many photographers will even meet up with you beforehand and give you advice on where to stand, etc. to make the most of the moment.
Cons - You just paid a lot of money on a ring, and this would be an additional expense. Some people want the moment to be private and wouldn’t be comfortable having a stranger so involved.
Planning the Proposal with Photos in Mind:
So you’ve picked a photographer. There are a few things you can do when planning your proposal to help your photographer get the best images possible.
Consider the light. If you are proposing outside, try to do it before sunset-that’s before 5pm in the winter. It’s difficult to use flash from a distance, so your photographer (professional or not) will appreciate the sunlight!
Survey the area. Scout out your area with your photographer before hand so they can know where to hide/stand. If they can’t come with you, describe it to them in detail and tell them exactly where you plan to be so they can visualize the scene and know where to go.
Give your photographer a detailed plan, if possible. If you plan to give a long speech before you hit your knee, tell them so they know to stay hidden. If you’re gonna be super quick, tell them so they can be ready to get the shot! They should expect changes, but a little planning goes a long way.
Stay in touch. Be sure you have their phone number and let them know when you’re five minutes away so they can be situated. Also let them know if you’re running late so they’re not hiding in a bush for an hour. Consider using a fake contact name and delete any classified conversations if your girlfriend is prone to snooping or uses your phone often.
For the Photographer:
Get there early and be flexible. Proposals can be unpredictable, since one of the two parties is completely unaware of the “plan”. Show up early and be prepared for the exact spot/timing to change course.
Be discreet! Even if you’re not hiding, take pics of the things or people around you so you don’t draw attention to yourself.
If you are hiding- As soon as he hits his knee, come out from your hiding spot so that you can get the best photo. Once she knows what’s happening, the gig is up and your presence won’t be distracting because she will be caught up in the moment. Go ahead and get up close and personal! But -
Give them space. Wait until you’re invited over or the couple turns their full attention to you before you approach them for portraits or even a hug. This is a very important moment for them - don’t interrupt!
Just keep shooting. It’s better to walk away with too many photos than to miss an important or special reaction. Let the couple choose their favorites later.
Do not post until they give you the go ahead! I know you’re excited to show off your great ninja skills, but many couples choose to wait a few hours or even a few days before announcing their engagement to the world. Let them make the first online post.
Bring backup. It can be extremely helpful to have two photographers so they can get different angles and faces. It’s also a great safety net in case one of you has any technical difficulties with your camera.
Can we have a redo? In case you miss the all-important shot of him on one knee, don’t freak out. After they’ve settled down and invited you to come talk to them, ask them if you can grab a posed shot of him on one knee. Even if it’s not the “real thing”, no one has to know and they'll be glad to have the picture.
Have fun! Proposals are extremely fun to shoot, but can be nerve wracking at the same time. If you're not a professional, take a deep breath and do your best! The couple will be so excited about their engagement that they’ll be happy with whatever photos you grab.
Hire We Two
That’s it! You’re now prepared to capture your proposal and share your excitement with your friends and family.
That being said, we love shooting proposals! Our proposal package includes an onsite consult to walk through the plan, up to two hours of shooting time including proposal and post-proposal portraits, a full online gallery to share and download, and fast editing times all for $200. PLUS: If you hire us to shoot your proposal, you receive a coupon for a discounted wedding rate if you book your wedding with us.
For more information or to hire us, contact us here or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enjoy “ringing” in the new year!
Love, We Two