I've had the pleasure of photographing several surprise proposals over the past few years, and I absolutely love it! Maybe it's the emotional expressions and the surprise reaction which makes for great photos, or the flood of joy that the couple shares that just radiates outward. Or maybe it's because I feel like a stealth ninja, waiting for the moment to happen. It's probably all of those things, which is why it's such a fun and touching event to capture.
So why have another person there at all? I mean, it's a pretty intimate event, wouldn't having a photographer there butting in on your private moment be a little...weird? To that, I say - not necessarily! When you book a proposal photography session, are two basic options - after the actual "Will you marry me?" moment, you can either reveal me to your new fiancée and we can have a mini engagement session, or I can book it out of there discreetly so you can later reveal the photos as a surprise. Whichever you decide, you can be sure that the photos will reflect the surprise, delight, and joy of what's surely a life-changing event. Here are a few of my favorite moments from some proposals I've had the honor to document - enjoy!
Leah & Matt
Matt's proposal to Leah was actually one of my very first gigs I booked as a photographer, and it still stands out as one of my favorites. Matt took Leah geo-caching, but instead of just digging up a little box of trinkets or log book, Matt had something a little more exciting planned. As Leah's back was turned, he dropped to one knee and got her attention - when she turned around, she knew what he was up to, and it was all smiles after that.
Kaitlyn & Mark
Kaitlyn and I had worked together on a couple projects previously, and her now husband, Mark, knew that she followed my work. Mark planned to propose at the very same spot where they first met, sitting on the bleachers at a football game in college. "Let's stop by our special spot before dinner," he said. Luckily Kaitlyn didn't suspect anything, and you can see the surprise and pure delight in her eyes.
Jeff & Nicole
Jeff's proposal to Nicole was one of the trickiest situations I've photographed. He planned to propose on the ice skating rink in Rockefeller Plaza during the holiday season. I had to persuade the security guard that I wasn't up to trouble, as they often think that people with big cameras and long lenses have ill intentions. After some convincing, he finally let me down on the ground level of the rink, and then there were about a million people hanging out by the edge of the rink I had to push my way through. Sorry folks, but I have a job to do! Luckily I got a good vantage point, as moving from my position would have been nearly impossible. For all the challenges I faced, it turned out to be a great moment, and I was super happy that I was able to capture Nicole's expressions when she realized what Jeff was up to.
Ben & Jess
Ben and Jess got engaged on Governor's Island in New York. After attending a carnival on the island, they moseyed over to a more secluded area where Ben would propose. He made prior arrangements to have a picnic already set up, complete with wine, cheese, fresh fruit, and even a little parasol umbrella. I thought that was a really sweet touch. As you can see from the photos, she said yes! Ben decided that he did not want Jess to know I was there, so I discreetly took some photos from afar and Ben surprised her again later when he gave her some of these photos as a gift.
David & Becky
David and Becky's proposal was unique, in that Becky knew I was there the whole time. David is a personal friend and fellow photographer I've worked with a bunch, and I had met Becky several times as well. David wanted to give Becky some nice portraits of the two of them, to celebrate 11 years of dating. We started the portrait session pretty typically - wandering around the park, stopping here and there for some pictures. When David gave me "the nod," I knew it was on. David dropped to one knee, and presented Becky with something decidedly more special than a portrait session! I was lucky enough to attend their wedding earlier this year, and it was nothing short of amazing. These two have nothing but love for each other, and it was an honor to document this moment for them.