Tips to Photographing your Proposal

So you’re planning to “pop” the question? Congratulations! Have you considered having your proposal photographed? If so, check out these 10 tips and ideas to make sure the moment is captured and remembered!

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#1 - PICK YOUR LOCATION - on land?

Deciding where you’re going to ask the love of your life to get hitched is important. You may want to select a location based on where you two have spent time together? Or you may want to pick your proposal spot based on the beauty of the landscape or cityscape? Perhaps you’d like to pop the question at your hotel - such as in the image above, which was shot at The Reefs. With this photo, the couple had not yet realized I had arrived. (#sneaky) In the image below, the proposer opted to kneel down in front of St. Peter’s Church in St. George’s Bermuda.

#2 - PICK YOUR LOCATION - on the water?

You may also like the idea of proposing on the water! In which case, check out our “Vacation Photos at Sea” package, which is offered through my husband’s company, Early Bird Charters. Jim - who proposed to me on the water - runs a fishing and boating charter business. Our boat’s name is “Troubadour” and she’s gorgeous- if I may say so myself! If you like vintage boats, this is the one for you! One of the best things about proposing aboard “Troubadour” is that you also get to enjoy a boat cruise around the island! How fun!

#3 - CLOTHING - what to wear?

Take a little peek at what your partner is planning to wear during the proposal shoot. Try to match the color of your outfit to what your partner has picked out to wear. I typically suggest if one person is wearing something with a pattern, for the other person to match that outfit by wearing solids of a similar color. This will help to ensure the color in the photographs are strong and there’s a sense of visual unity.

#4 - HAIR - up or down?

One thing to to keep in mind is if the proposee has long hair and if she or he will wear their hair down. In which case, when the question is popped - the proposee may look down at the ring. If they have long hair, the hair will fall down covering their face and hiding their expression from the camera. We see an example of this in the image below. If possible, encourage your partner to pull their hair up or to wear a clip that will pin it back when she or he looks down.

#5 - NAILS - to manicure or to not?

When there’s a ring involved, it’s always a great idea to get a manicure before the proposal. This suggestion applies to everyone; for ladies and gents! Inevitably, I’ll be taking a photo of the ring on the proposee’s hand and more than likely of the two of you holding hands.

#6 - ANGLE - how to capture the proposal from the best spot?

Consider the angle of where you two will be in relation to where the camera will be when you pop the question. Ideally, it’s great to capture the moment from a side angle so you can see facial expressions. For this reason, it’s always good to have a phone call with the photographer first to plan out the shot.

#7 - WEATHER - how to handle the weather?

If you find yourself checking the local forecast any earlier than 2-3 days before your scheduled shoot, don’t! One thing to keep in mind about the weather - particularly in Bermuda - is that the forecast can change quickly. If the shoot is at sunset, I’ll check the weather that afternoon of to make sure it’s not going to rain heavily or be too windy. From a photographer’s perspective, cloudy skies are welcome because they turn “pink” in the sunset light and can create a dramatic “look”. Although if there’s a torrential downpour approaching, you’ll also have a “rain date” included in your photo package. I loved the look of the clouds seen in the images below for this proposal shot at Rosewood Bermuda!

#8 - THE STORY - How will you get your sweetheart in front of the camera?

This is the fun part: creating a “story” to get your “boo” in front of the camera! As your photographer, I suggest that we chat over the phone and come up with “a story” of how we’re going to capture the moment. This is not just a conversation about the “when” and “where” details, but also what story will you tell to get him or her in front of the lens.

Some couples have booked a photo workshop; an experience where the proposee thinks they will learn about their cameras and photography. A few minutes into the “workshop”, the proposer asks me to take a photo of them together and from there, I give the signal to pop the question. In the photo below shot at the Unfinished Church, the proposer opted for a workshop (which is why they are taking photos of the church with their iPhones - little did she know seconds later - they would be engaged!)

Past couples have booked a “regular” photo shoot to either commemorate a vacation or special occasion and from there, propose during the photo shoot. The benefit to this option is that both parties know they will have their photo taken and may be more apt to dress up, do hair, nails, make-up, etc. In this situation, I may use a “signal” such as saying, “let’s see a romantic pose”. With this signal, the proposer knows it’s time to drop to one knee. Another option is for everyone to show up to the same spot, I act as though I’m a landscape photographer, the proposer approaches me and asks me to take their photo. Then, I give the signal to propose. This is the method that was used in the photos below, which were shot at Cambridge Beaches:

Remember “Troubadour from our “#2”? One of the best things about proposing aboard “Troubadour” is that the story is already “built in”. Tell your soon-to-be fiancé you’ve booked a fun evening boat ride. Once on the boat, the proposer can ask me to take a photo of the two of them. And you guesed it - with a “signal” - it’s time to ask the big question!

If you’re with a group of family members or friends, you may want to consider booking a fun photo shoot for the whole group. From there, you can drop down on one knee during the photo shoot. That’s exactly what happened in the photos below; after a few family photos were taken at Grotto Bay Resort, Alex asked his girlfriend to get married!

#9 THE STORY - Should you opt for the “Fly on the Wall” approach?

If the photo shoot, landscape photographer, boat cruise, and photo workshop stories are not for you, consider the “fly on the wall” approach towards capturing your proposal. With this option, I arrive at the selected location first; cameras in hand. Before the couple gets there, I like to send a text with a photo to show the proposer exactly where to stand. This spot is selected for the best backdrop, composition, and light; an “x marks the spot” shot - so to speak.

From there, I pretend to be a tourist taking landscape photos. With the arrival of the couple, the proposer knows to look around for me (and to act not to notice me). When the time is right, I give a little “head nod” to the proposer signifying it’s time to ask the question. The upside to this approach is that it is more private. The downside to this approach is that it’s difficult to “guarantee” the shot.

With the “Fly on the Wall” approach, a larger object may come between the camera and the couple; another tourist could walk into the frame, etc. Or the proposee may look away (unknowing of the camera that’s trying to capture the facial expression) - like we see in the images below. With this being a “fly on the wall” approach, correcting the pose is not possible. When this happens, I’ll keep taking photos until something cute happens!

#10 - EXTRA TIME - Plan time for engagement photos!

Now that you have picked a cool location, are lookin’ sharp in your matching outfits, and are engaged, leave some time to take fun engagement photos! Depending on the package you select, you may have time to take photos at one, two, or even three nearby locations. The more locations you select, the more backdrops you’ll be able to have in your engagement photos, which can create a nice sense of diversity. Not to mention, the more locations included - the more awesome areas you’ll get to explore! This couple certainly had some fun at Gibbs Lighthouse!