Proposal Photography Tips

In this proposal photography tips video, you will learn how to plan for a surprise proposal as the person doing the proposing as well as a photographer. Having photographed many proposals I am happy to share their proposal photography tips, so anyone can achieve their goal of documenting the beautiful moment of a couple becoming engaged.

In the video I discuss:

  • Help your clients plan the proposal when you can
  • Plan on google maps or earth
  • Scope in person when possible
  • 10 for 10 minutes away
  • P for parked
  • Prepare clothing ahead of time
  • Spider holder
  • Jacket with pockets for gear so no bags
  • Tripod if necessary and you don’t have to move.
  • Be prepared to move fast if needed
  • Be prepared to hide as needed

I also share some advice from clients:

“Asking for help was big. I couldn’t have done any of it on my own. And planning well enough in advance so that when the day comes the only thing that needs to happen is the pieces need to go as planned. It makes it easier to manage any mistakes or curveballs if you put in the effort beforehand”

“Well, it definitely helped to set it up beforehand. Like if we just tried to wing it I would’ve been nowhere near where I needed to because your nervous so you have a lot of things going through your head. Even the timing, if I was an hour later it would’ve been pitch black out so that would’ve been hard.”

Transcription was done by Rev.com’s automated transcription service which means it’s an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain spelling, grammar, and other errors, and is not a substitute for watching the video.

Whether you are proposing to somebody or your photographer about to photograph a proposal. This is a video you don’t want to miss. Hey, this has got one kid with a storyteller with a camera talking about all the things photographers like you and I are thinking about, and in this video we’re talking about proposal photography. That’s right photography of somebody proposing to somebody else for marriage. Of course, I love playing the role of spy. I like being a Ninja and photograph somebody proposing to somebody else, which selfishly is kind of fun being a part of that special moment in a couple’s lives. And right now I want to share some advice for those doing or preparing for a proposal and also advice for photographers who will be proposing to somebody else. And I’m sharing this in one video because I feel that even if you are planning a proposal, if you are thinking about hiring a photographer, these are things that you will want to keep in mind that you can share with your photographer, especially if your photographer is not experienced in proposal photography.

So I asked two clients about their experience with proposal photography and some of the advice that they would share. So I thought before I share my own tips, I would share some of their advice that they shared with me to share with you. Asking for help was big. I couldn’t have done any of it on my own and planning well enough in advance so that when the day comes, the only thing that needs to happen is the pieces need to go as planned. It makes it easier to manage any mistakes or curve balls if you put the effort in beforehand. Yes, planning, planning, planning. In this client’s case, there was a month of planning, not only was there a month of planning, but actually went to the scene where the proposal was going to happen a week ahead of time and then actually got there an hour early the day of and when I went a week ahead of time, I went with the client.

The other client said, well, it definitely helps us set it up beforehand. Like if we just try to wing it, I would have been nowhere near where I needed to be because you’re nervous so you have a lot of things going through your head. Even the timing, if I was an hour late, it would have been pitch black out, so that would have been really hard. If he was an hour late, not only would that have been hard for him to do the proposal, I mean it would have been nice and romantic and stuff. It had been hard for me to photograph it from a distance because I can’t use lights for proposal photography sessions. I need to rely on whatever natural light there is and any in place artificial lights like a streetlight. Okay, so I want to share some advice as a photographer who has done proposal photography session, some things that you could keep in mind as a photographer, as the person planning the proposal to make things easier for you.

First up is to scope out the location in person. If you have never been there as the person in the proposing or as the photographer and you can get to that location ahead of time, get to location ahead of time, figure out where you’re going to do the proposing. Figure out where the photographer can hide, where can you hide that you won’t be seen by the person being proposed to. Now scoping out in person is the best way that you could do it. Without a doubt, it is the best way that you can do this, but there is another way if you cannot get to the actual location, there’s something called Google maps and Google earth. I found the Google earth is more detailed in some cases and Google maps is more detailed in satellite view in some cases, but I combined the two and I can look at a scene, figure out where the might be a good place to hide.

Now that seemed might have changed over time. For example, in one of the proposal photography sessions I did in Google earth and Google map, there was a whole bunch of trees, but when I was there in person, there were no more trees. Where am I going to hide? So using software like that can really help you plan, take advantage of it. It’s free. It’s there for you to use, which of course means you also need to be prepared to hide as needed. You might be on the ground, you might be lying on the ground, he might be under something or inside of a Bush. Been there, done that. Be prepared to hide as needed. Hopefully at this point, you know the location well enough that you know where you can hide and how you might need to be prepared for hiding. Which brings me to my next point, the clothing you’re going to wear.

Not only does your client need to know what kind of clothes they’re going to wear, but you as the photographer also need to know what kind of clothing you’re going to wear. I personally recommend wearing clothing with enough pockets that you don’t need a bag or any sort of anything on you to weigh you down and prohibit mobility because you will need to move around fast and efficiently. So a lot of the times I have cargo pants. Yes, I know cargo pants and they have pockets on my legs that I can just slip in a lens or some extra batteries or whatever I need. I also have clothing from Scotty vest. I have some jackets from them, some vests, and there are ton of pockets so I can slip in all the equipment I need and have it with me if it’s cold enough out that I need a jacket that’s got me covered.

Of course you gotta make sure you have a hat. I like wearing Tilley hats, but there’s a bunch of hats you can wear. You gotta protect yourself from the sun. You need to make sure that you’re safe. I am a spider holster ambassador. They are not sponsoring this video at all, but I love their products and I find that the freedom of not having a neck strap is even more important when doing a proposal photography session. So I recommend something like the spider holster system that you can just hang the camera on your hip at any time right off your belt and be on your way. This means I could have one or two cameras, one in hand, one on my hip or three cameras, one of my hand and two of my hips and I can switch lenses. I can switch cameras very fast, very efficiently and I still don’t have a bag to hold all this equipment and it’s not hurting my back or my shoulders.

Now, depending on what you are doing in this session, if you are doing video and you can be stationary and out of the way, sure. Use a tripod. If you’re using a very long telephoto lens and you can be stationary and out of the way and hidden, sure you the tripod but only is a tripod if absolutely necessary. Maybe a monopod is a better option if you won’t have to be mobile. If you know that you might have to run somewhere, move out of the way or whatever it is, maybe a tripod isn’t the best option. Maybe a monopod is the way to go. But think about that ahead of time. Prepare for either a tripod, a monopod or nothing. And if you cannot use a tripod or a monopod, be sure that your camera has image stabilizer or vibration reduction, either body or in lens to help you with that shake because you will be using telephoto, you will be using long lenses.

Cause if the closer you get to somebody, the more likely they are to see and hear you. Now I want to make sure that you as the photographer and you as the client understand that you should be working together. You should be working together. The photographer should be helping the client out with planning this proposal from start to finish. Sure. Photographer doesn’t need every little detail but timings, locations, all of that should be determined, discussed and planned ahead of time. So photographers help out your clients, helped out planning their proposal whenever possible. So I have two tips for the moment of the day of, okay, here’s the thing, because timing’s going to be tight, the couple’s going to be together and you need to know how soon things are happening on the fly so that you can be prepared. So my recommendation is to give your clients some advice for keeping you informed.

What I did is I asked my client to text me within number, which is ten five seven whatever it is of how far away they are, and that number is in minutes. So the only thing to do is whip out their phone, have that method open with me already and just type eight and I know that in eight minutes it Showtime, they’re going to be parked, they’re going to be here, ready to go. Speaking of parking, the other secret code is just the letter P. If they just text me the letter P I know they park. If they texted me the letter w I know they’re walking. If it texts me letter B, I know that they’re on their bikes, whatever it is, whatever you plan, use these little keywords or numbers to determine timing, location and all of that stuff so you know that you need to be ready to go to capture that moment.

Now with all this said, sometimes things don’t work out exactly as planned. A while back I did a proposal session and it was on a boardwalk at the beach and where I had to hide was not exactly where I planned originally and where the couple stopped while they were walking on the boardwalk is not exactly where I told him to stop because he didn’t have a chance to recheck his text messages once I figured out my new location. So I had this planned as video and it turned out that where they stopped with out of the frame of video, now my video camera was on the tripod and I was handholding the still camera, so they didn’t get a video of this. They only got the stills, which is fine because they didn’t request a video. But I was doing that because I knew I’d be stationary, turned out I couldn’t be stationary so the video didn’t work.

So things don’t always work out as planned. If your client wants a video, my recommendation is to have a second person there to do video and just charge them for that second person’s time as well. And for the video editing and all that stuff, keep that in mind. If you are the person doing the proposing, if you want video, don’t rely on one person to do both. Still end video, you need two people. So I hope that helps you as the person planning the proposal. I hope that helps you, the photographer photographing the proposal to make this work. And if you live in the New Jersey area and planning a proposal and you want it photographed or recorded in video, just reach out to me. I’d be happy and delighted to help you plan that amazing moment. If you want to see some additional video content, just click on the cart up here or that graphic right there. And that whole playlist of proposal photography content for you and be sure to click that subscribe button. I publish new videos every Monday and Thursday, whenever possible. You don’t want to miss it.

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