How to Photograph Your Proposal

First of all, congratulations!

And kudos to you for being prepared enough to think about hiring a professional photographer! I’m sure you’ll love these photos as well, but in particular, your future wife will be so grateful that you arranged this 🙂

Here’s a few preparation tips that I recommend after photographing dozens of proposals:

Sunset Point Capitol Reef Proposal Utah Caili Chung Photography

1. Do a Walkthrough

Between the elements of surprise and a nervous groom-to-be, a lot could go wrong. So, if possible, I like to do a walk-through with the groom-to-be and any other co-conspirators. It helps to get everyone on the same page. We’ll plan where you should kneel, where your girl should stand, and where I will be.

I’ve done many walk-throughs over Facetime prior to the actual proposal day. But, on the day of, if you’re able to sneak away before you actually pop the question, it’s even better to be able to quickly chat in person and on-location!

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For example, Abe planned to propose on the rooftop of his girlfriend’s apartment building. When he let me into the building and took me to the roof, we were able to chat about where he & his girl should stand. When he brought Maya to the roof later that evening, I was ready!

Another example – Josiah proposed on a boat tour of the San Francisco Bay. Roughly 10 minutes before he brought Julie to this spot, he “had to go to the bathroom” and snuck away to quickly discuss with me.

Tip: When we do a walkthrough, we can discuss about where you’ll be positioned and where I will be hiding. When you actually want to pop the question but your bride-to-be is facing away from the camera (where I won’t be able to capture her reaction), you can give her a hug right before you drop to one knee. This can be a subtle way to rock her into position.

2. If you’re proposing outdoors, I recommend planning to propose 2 hours before sunset

I’ve never photographed a proposal that occurred when the dude predicted it would. Most proposals have run around 45 minutes late. That’s fine (although on time is great, too haha) – I can wait & be prepared! I don’t blame you – the girl usually doesn’t know something is going to happen, so moving her along to be on time can be tricky.

But being late does complicate things when the sun is going down and there’s not enough light to take a good photo. Your girl will definitely notice a flash going off which can ruin the surprise if you didn’t want her to know I was there.

I recommend planning to propose at least 2 hours before sunset to avoid any it’s-night-now-but-I-didn’t-want-a-flash-going-off problems. Additionally, whenever I schedule engagement photos, we meet two hours before sunset because the light is most flattering at that time 🙂

3. Give her an excuse to look cute

Having “plans” as a decoy is a great way to 1. help it be more likely that you won’t be very late and 2. make it more likely that she’ll want to look cute for going out. Of course, this isn’t necessary. But something to consider!

Example – say you have dinner reservations at a certain time, plans to see a show at a certain time, that you’re meeting people at a certain time, that you’d like to go out and take pictures of her, etc.

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4. There’s no rush!

When you’re finally at the planned location and it’s about time to finally pop the question, take your time. It’s a crazy process, but savor it! There’s absolutely no rush.

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5. After you propose, I’ll take more photos of the two of you

If you suspect that your future-wife would appreciate tissues, makeup, a change of outfit, etc in preparation for photos after she says yes, prepare that!

And good luck 😉

For Brides


How to Photograph Your Proposal

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