proposal tips from a professional photographer

Proposing is one of the most exhilarating and nerve-wracking things a person will ever do. All the planning and scheming leading up to this moment may have caused you overlook a few important things (understandably!). Here are a few tips on how to create the best proposal ever!

pittsburgh wedding photographer, engagement ring

Have a concrete plan

For such a big moment, “winging it” is probably not the way to go. Don’t just have a general idea of where you’ll propose ex) the public park. Pick a specific location like, the statue by the duck pond in the public park. Not only will this help keep you from getting flustered, it will make it easier for your photographer to capture the moment! They can be hidden in the area and know that’s where you’ll be popping the question. You should also have a general plan for the day, or if you’re not planning on seeing her before you propose, make sure you have a friend in on it so they can keep her occupied. Set a time in your head when all this will be going down. Not only is this crucial in capturing the moment on camera, it will keep your nerves at bay to know you’re sticking to your schedule.

Consider Going Solo (and celebrate after)

Proposing in front of all her family and friends is totally fine, but keep in mind it will be easier for your photographer to do their job with less people around. It is easier to get different angles of the proposal without worrying about Aunt Mary blocking the reaction. If you do choose to have people around, warn them in advance (if you can) that a photographer will be there and they should be aware of that. If you’re surprising the whole crowd, try to organize people in a way that separates you two from all the people so everyone can focus on the moment. If you want people there, you can always have an intimate moment while you propose and then meet up with friends and family after to celebrate (another event I am happy to capture).

Work your photographer into the scene

If you’re proposing downtown or in a restaurant, hide your photographer in plain sight! I can be a tourist strolling down the same sidewalk as you or a fellow diner wherever you’re eating. Working me into the natural scenery makes things easier and allows for a smoother transition when you begin your proposal. Depending on where you’re proposing I could just be a non-assuming citizen taking pictures of my surroundings. We can sort out the exact details once we begin working together.

Pick a place with good lighting

engagement ring, pittsburgh wedding photographers

Proposing midday with no shade in sight  is probably not the wisest choice for capturing a proposal on camera (think lots of shadows and squinting into the sun). Scope out the area beforehand if it’s an indoor location and try to figure out where the best lighting is (I can help). If it’s outside, try pick a time when the lighting creates a natural romantic backdrop; sunset or sunrise are always perfect times. Again, these are things I am happy to help you with. The better the lighting, the better the images. Briefing me on these things can also help prepare me so I know which equipment to bring along.

Prepare a speech

Preparing a speech will not only help you keep your cool and give you a starting point for the proposal, but it will clue your photographer in that the proposal is about to happen! They can get into their ready position and begin snapping pics as you start talking. Take a deep breath before you begin speaking and try your best to say what you have planned out. A lot of people say they totally forget what they’ve said during this moment, but that’s OK! As long as you attempt a speech on some kind I can get my camera ready!

Bonus tip: If you plan on getting down on one knee - kneel for longer than you think

Your mind will freeze and it feels like you’re proposing longer than you are! Make sure you hang out on that knee for at least a few seconds so that the moment can be captured perfectly. The prepared speech can help with this!

Ask your photographer for tips

I’ve shot many proposals, so I am happy to offer any planning advice I can. From places to propose in the area to times of day that work the best, I am happy to lend my expertise. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me before you have concrete plans, we can work together! Contact me today for more helpful advice.

Planning a holiday proposal? Let's chat