How to Plan Perfect Proposal Pictures | Arizona Photographer
You finally found the girl and took that big step and bought the ring… well now what? You know she’s expecting something amazing for the moment you pop the question and you don’t want to disappoint her. This post will walk you through how to plan the perfect proposal and get great pictures!
1. Give her what she wants
Us women, we usually have some image of what we want in our heads. Chances are if you’ve got the ring you’ve already talked about marriage and she knows it coming. Try to find a way to ask her what she wants without giving too much away. For example, if you go ring shopping, that’s a great time to talk about what her dream proposal looks like. Are there lights? a beautiful view? is it on the beach? in the mountains? somewhere else meaningful? Is it private or public? surrounded by her friends and family or completely alone?
If you really don’t want to ask her, talk to her friends and family and see what they think or have them ask some strategic questions. You don’t have to do exactly what she describes, but it will give you a good starting point.
2. The element of surprise
I know you’re probably thinking if i’m supposed to ask her what she wants how can it be a surprise?! Let me tell you. My brother (pictured) knew exactly what Kenna wanted when it came to a proposal. She LOVES lights, fairy lights specifically so we spent a lot of time planning something that would capture that same feeling. We couldn’t find fairy lights so we settled for candles (real & electric) and some battery powered tea lights. It gave the same effect even though it wasn’t exactly what she’d described.
Then, to make sure it was a surprise, he kept saying things to fake her out. They’d gone ring shopping but she didn’t know he actually had the ring so she wasn’t expecting anything imminent. He “slipped up” and said something that made her think he’d be proposing much later than he was planning. And he had a really good reason to take her to this spot.
He’d suggested they go to the temple (of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) which is right across the street from this park. It happened to be a Monday night so he knew that the temple would actually be closed but she forgot. That is also how he made sure she’d be all dressed up in her sunday best. So they showed up, Jake made a big show about how the temple was closed, sorry he forgot, and then asked if she’d like to go for a walk instead.
He had her so convinced he wasn’t proposing that when they walked down the hill and she first saw the lights and flowers SHE THOUGHT SOMEONE ELSE WAS GETTING ENGAGED!!! EPIC! You can see it in her face in one of the pictures. She tried to pull him back and said “We need to get out of here!” and didn’t figure out it was all for her until he pulled her halfway across the lawn.
The key to this successful deception was that the lie was SIMPLE and therefore believable so suspicions weren’t raised until the very last moment.
3. Timing is everything
Good photography is 100% dependant on good light. Now, excellent photographers can do certain things to compensate but if there is no light, there’s only so much we can do.
My brother and I knew we wanted the effect of all the lights to be obvious which meant we had to time things precisely. We opted for the blue hour. The blue hour is what happens when the sun drops below the horizon but there is still some residual light so it’s not completely dark. It meant I still had enough light to take good pictures and the lights would also be visible.
If you want to propose after dark, just know that your photographer will either have to use a flash (less than ideal) or your pictures will be very grainy. You can see in some of the black and white shots from this proposal the grainy-ness from the final shots of the night when the light was all but gone.
4. Trust a professional
If pictures of this moment are important to you and/or your about-to-be fiancé, invest in a professional. An iPhone can only do so much and the iPhone holder will have to be much more in your face to get the shot. A professional will know how to help you plan for perfect proposal pictures so they turn out just the way you want them. They will also have the equipment to capture the moment discretely from a distance so it can still be a personal and private moment between just the two of you.
5. Do a dress rehearsal
This is a crucial step! Visit your location, preferably with your photographer, before you actually propose. We stopped by this location the day before and the plan in our head had to totally change to reflect what was actually here and it turned out WAY better because of it.
If possible, visit on the same day of the week and at the same time. A photographer friend told me about a time they photographed a proposal in a public place and at the exact time of the proposal a garbage truck pulled in front of her hiding spot and she had to move fast to get the shot. Things like that are important to anticipate and plan around.
6. Plan for set up and take down
Finally, make sure you assemble a great team to help you set up your vision and hopefully stick around to take everything down too. Unfortunately this was a lesson we learned during this proposal because we had set up covered and totally forgot about the clean up. Jake and Kenna had to help me clean everything up because everyone that had helped set up had left to give them privacy. Not the most fun thing to do right after getting engaged.
Most importantly, remember to relax and breathe in the moment. This is once in a lifetime. Live it up.
You can totally see it in Kenna’s face! She thought they needed to get out of there! And then slowly she started to realize, it was all for her.