I've had the opportunity to capture a few proposals. All of them are fun for me. Anticipation to the max on all sides and it's like I am on cloud nine along with the couple! Here are a few tips on planning your proposal.
As a disclaimer, not all of these suggestions will work for you! This was from a recent proposal I was captured of Frank and Karen with their kiddos. We had a blast with their family photos and the proposal! Each individual is different, so plan an engagement that centers around your interests and passions. And if at all possible, consider finding a photographer that captures your style in their work!
1. Hire the photographer.
A good one. One that has a great personality and good quality images. Make sure you look at their work, and find someone who fits your style! Not every photographer is right for you. If you want to capture family photos that will be treasured for a lifetime, you do so through someone who has the ability to utilize the available light or add light as needed to enhance portraits. Your photographer need to understand posing and needs to be ready for the unknown.
2. Prep the photographer.
Communicate with the photographer on your proposal plans. Call, text or email and make sure they have the information they will need. What time do you plan to propose? What props will you use, if any? What does the photographer need to look out for, in case they haven't seen the proposal site? In this story, we had to be flexible. I hadn't seen the proposal site, but had an idea of how I wanted to capture the images.
Photographers...be prepared to nix any ideas you might have! Always look for ways to recompose an image. Proposals don't usually happen in the places that would be ideal for you. You might not have the ideal lens on your camera...if that happens, no big deal! Just keep shooting with the gear you're already using. Changing gear as the proposal happens mean missing a hug, kiss or laugh. Move around to ensure you are capturing expressions of everyone involved. Don't feel like you have to stay in one place, unless you have to remain hidden.
3. Pretend it's a family photo night.
Or maybe just plan real family photos and it just so happens that you are engaged by the end of the night! A crazy Saturday afternoon, the weekend following Thanksgiving, you jump in the shower really fast and make sure your outfit is complete. You then do a double take on everyone else's hair and outfits. You know the day, you're distracted. It's so easy to miss all of the little details, like the reason your kid keeps popping out of the truck with the iPhone in hand. He gets in trouble. You carry on with family photos.
4. Pop the question.
Everyone plays it cool. You keep going through the photo session even though you know the sun is beginning to set. You have a "brilliant idea" of a photo you want for the end of the session, so you suggest it to the photographer. You know, the one right by the hay bales that just so happened to be arranged in a specific pattern? Yeah, that's the idea. So you walk around the corner, into the grove of hay bales, gently pushing your soon-to-be-fiance ahead of you. As soon as she sees the letters that light up the hay bales, she has a huge smile on her face, hand on her mouth in shock, tears in her eyes and she turns to see you on your knee. She says, "Yes!" and you slide the beautiful bling on her tiny finger.
5. Spend time together after the proposal.
It's important for the two of you to spend a little bit of time together, without anyone right beside you. Sometimes that's impossible, and that's okay! But if family and friends are there, try to walk away for a few minutes, giving you guys times to breathe, talk, and maybe sneak a little kiss from your new fiance. You won't regret it!