How to plan a surprise marriage proposal photoshoot in 10 steps
And other great marriage proposal tips and ideas
A surprise marriage proposal photoshoot can be really tough to pull off – I mean its a proposal so you dont want the proposee to know what is happening, and a proposal can be quite quick, so how do you make sure you are going to get the right angles ? How do you know if the lighting will be right? There are a lot of things you need to figure out and very little time to do it, and this is one photoshoot you cannot fake or get a retake of the real moment so you really need to be en pointe.
So we have put together a few tips for proposers and photographers alike to help you plan for this big moment and make sure you get the marriage proposal photoshoot absolutely perfect. We also have some bonus proposal ideas of how to pull this off some with the photographer and potentially a videographer both in plain sight, some hidden, so read on!
First – lets look at the photos from Levesh and Rebecca’s Marraige Proposal photoshoot, which was done at Col’cacchio restaurant – this was where they had their first date 4 years previously. Levesh preferred to keep it simple and hired me as the photographer for their 4 year anniversary couple photoshoot at Emperors palace .
The visit to Col’cacchios we planned ahead of time (it has since closed at this location), he would suggest to her during the shoot that they have a photo there – Rebecca did not know that Levesh had preplanned with the venue for them to bring a brownie (what they shared on their first date) and the words marry me on the plate. How cute is that! This shoot has become extra special as the restaurant
- A step by step guide to plan a marriage proposal photoshoot
- Ideas and inspiration for a marriage proposal photoshoot
How to plan a marriage proposal photoshoot- A step by step guide
As we mentioned planning a marriage proposal photoshoot can be quite tricky, but we are here to give you a step-by-step guide of how to do it.
My step-by-step guide for a marriage proposal photoshoot
- First things first you need to know how you are going to propose – this is a pretty big step so be sure of the picture you have in your mind. Bear in mind you may need to have a ruse to get your significant other dressed up, or if they like to have makeup on, etc for photos, nails painted, etc, then find a way to have all of this done for them beforehand.
- You will also need a venue for the special event – whether this is a personal space such as your home , or a fancy venue. and make sure they know you are planning to have a proposal there. There will most likely be some planning necessary ( most venues are thrilled to have a proposal happen )
- If you are planning to use a public venue of some sort make sure you have the right permissions if necessary. Places such as botanical gardens , airports, etc.
- Once you know what it is you want to do for your marriage proposal photoshoot, it is time to find the right photographer for the job …(hi)… and let them know what the plan is.
- A good photographer should tell you this anyway – but you should plan a visit to the venue, wherever that may be, beforehand.
- Do a walk-through of your plan at the venue – where will your soon-to-be fiance(e) be seated, what is the lighting like in the venue, will the photographer be hidden completely, or in plain sight, under a ruse? Will you go down on one knee? If other people are involved with the proposal do they know what their roles are to play?
- Discuss what will happen during the proposal – do you want close-up real shots ( bear in mind the photographer might have to be in your personal space during a very personal and special moment) Or do you prefer them to take shots from further away but this might sacrifice some of the close up details of your proposal.
- Discuss what happens afterwards – do you want the photographer to give you a minute so you can just be with each other? Or do you want all that raw emotion to come through in your photographs? Do you want to have a celebratory marriage proposal photoshoot afterwards? Remember there is no time to discuss this on the day and you don’t want to spoil the moment discussing these kinds of details anyway – the proposal is what needs to be remembered, not the planning.
- create a shot list of the photos you want from your marriage proposal photoshoot – so there is a clear path and shots are less likely to be missed.
- If there is any decorating etc that needs to be done make sure its done preferably in advance so that the photographer can capture those details before the actual proposal – these details are important as they help to tell your marriage proposal story.
Marriage Proposal ideas and inspiration
Now that we know how to plan the marriage proposal photoshoot, you may be a little stuck figuring out how you want to propose (step 1). Luckily for you, we are celebrating the month of Love, Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and I have had a lot of experience with very happy clients over the years who have had amazing marriage proposals all planned out. From personal to extravagant, to unique, I have been there for all of them, so maybe you can draw some inspiration from these ideas :
Marriage proposal ideas
- Keep it simple and personal – Use Levesh as your guidance here – he used a personal touch from their past, remembering their first date and how they first met. Then he kept it simple – he told her she was going to have a photoshoot, so she knew to get dressed up and ready for it, and I could be there guiding them through the shoot rather than hiding behind the corner and waiting for the right moment.
- Spoil them in a fancy restaurant – Tatenda proposed to Nkateko at a boutique restaurant in Johannesburg, the Syrene Hotel. The videographer and I were there hiding in plain sight acting as though we were doing a shoot for the hotel themselves, but as he proposed we moved the cameras onto them – all part of the plan. we then finished with an engagement photoshoot in their beautiful gardens
- Use a family photoshoot as a cover – if you want the whole family to be there and witness your proposal then you can do what Johnry and Lache did – Johnry proposed to Lache during a family photo session.
- Layout a proposal site – I have had several like this where I wait at the site that has been made up by friends or family beforehand. Think Flowers, rose petals, picnic blankets, and champagne at one of your favorite locations to be together. It is always a surprise, and he/she may not know that it will be a proposal so you have to try and get them to get dressed up beforehand, and try and position them in such a way that you catch the looks on their faces as they see the layout. I think one of my favorites was definitely Bendon and Nicole’s marriage proposal photoshoot. Who’s wedding I also then photographed 🙂
- Do something crazy or unique together and plan the proposal afterward – This was my first, and definitely one of the most challenging marriage proposal photoshoots to pull off because so much had to happen and there was a lot that could go wrong. luckily it did not, but this was pretty epic! Tahshen convinced his girlfriend Serena to go skydiving with him , something that was on their bucket list. But unknown to Serena Tahshen had another surprise up his sleeve and while they were in the air his friends had laid out a marriage proposal photoshoot site , so after they had landed from the skydive and still on a high, he took her over to this spot and proposed. Serena thought I was there to just photograph them during the skydive, so the proposal was shot from a little further away to give them privacy, then a few minutes of photos together before leaving them to their celebration. And what a story to have!
Do you have a favorite from these proposals? let me know which one you would pick 🙂
More about the Photographer
Hi, my name is Romaen, I am a wedding and lifestyle photographer now based in Utrecht the Netherlands. I have a lot of experience photographing marriage proposal photoshoots, in fact, they are one of my favourites because they are full of real moments and raw emotion. This is why we have put these tips together to help you plan and be inspired for your marriage proposal photoshoot.
Hallo, mijn naam is Romaen, ik ben een trouw- en lifestylefotograaf, nu gevestigd in Utrecht, Nederland. Ik heb veel ervaring met het fotograferen van fotoshoots voor huwelijksaanzoeken, sterker nog, ze zijn een van mijn favorieten omdat ze vol echte momenten en rauwe emoties zitten. Daarom hebben we deze tips samengesteld om u te helpen bij het plannen en inspireren van uw huwelijksaanzoekfotoshoot
I really love the raw emotion that a marriage proposal photoshoot offers, but in order to capture that perfectly a lot of planning and preparation needs to go in behind the scense. So if you do want this moment perfectly captured then following this step by step guide should really help you to achieve that. I also hope you enjoy the ideas and inspiration from previous marriage proposal photoshoots and that they can help you come up with your own idea for your proposal.