How to Get the Best Marriage Proposal Photos

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Guest Post By Christa of Christa Rene Photography

Getting ready to ask your partner to spend their forever with you? What an amazing and special moment! And what better way to preserve this beautiful time than having it captured in photos to treasure for years and years to come?

As a photographer who has photographed multiple proposals, I’ve seen the attention and detail that goes into capturing a proposal flawlessly. And because I know how overwhelming it can also be, I wanted to share my favorite tips for planning a perfectly photographed proposal.

First, consider your location.
You may already have the location picked out, but if you’re still choosing the specific spot it’s important to keep a few things in mind! First, will this location be really crowded? If so, be sure to choose a spot possibly away from the crowds to be sure no one unknowingly steps in front of your photographer!

After deciding your location (if you’re still stuck, here are some of the best places to propose), know exactly where you’re going to be so you can convey this to the photographer. This way your photographer can be set up and ready knowing the exact location you’ll be popping the question, and not frantically trying to find you when it’s time!

My final point on location is to pick a spot where the photographer can be discreet. Most couples prefer the photographer not to be seen during the proposal, but don’t mind them popping out for some posed couple’s shots after they’re able to let it sink in that they’re engaged. If you choose a public place with people walking around, it may be less obvious that someone is wandering around with a camera. If it’s a private area, look around to see if there’s bushes or trees the photographer can stand behind so your moment is truly private and not interrupted.

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Consider lighting.
Be sure to check when the sun sets. This may sound obvious, but it’s easy to forget how early the sun goes down certain times of the year. If you want to be able to take your time and also get some portraits after, you’ll need to leave enough time for that! The sun gets soft and glowy about one hour before sunset, but the image might not be quite as clear if you propose after sunset without your photographer using flash. (Or just be sure to propose in a well-lit area!) Night proposals can also be so beautiful with romantic fireworks, but remember your photographer may need to use flash to really capture it!

So now that I’ve given tips on how to choose your location and watching light, you might be wondering what your photographer needs to know to be there and ready to capture this moment.

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Five things to discuss with your proposal photographer:

1. Time Schedule.
Be sure to have a set time schedule. Know ahead of time how long it will take to get there, and have a plan. But through this, don’t forget that this is about you and your partner! You shouldn’t feel rushed in telling your significant other how in love you are because you’re just trying to get to the spot on time. Try to give your photographer a 15-minute window of when you believe you’ll be there. If you can do this without your partner getting suspicious, keep your photographer posted as it gets closer to the proposal time. For instance, if you’re planning a romantic walk after dinner and want to propose then, and you know it will take 10 minutes to get to that spot after leaving the restaurant, text your photographer when you’re leaving the restaurant.

Pro tip: share your phone’s location with your photographer so they can know how close you are (and of course, turn it off after). Even when doing this, you should still have some sort of cue so you’re sure your photographer is there and ready! It’s better to have your photographer there early than late!

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2. How hidden the photographer should be.
Another thing your photographer needs to know is how hidden they need to stay. If you’d prefer your soon-to-be fiancé not to notice the photographer the entire proposal until after you’ve had time to chat a little after, be sure to let the photographer know to stay hidden until you wave to them. Also, ask beforehand if you’d like portraits after as well. I wouldn’t advise having this be your only engagement session since your partner might have a special outfit for engagement photos, but portraits taken after this exciting time are so special!

3. Where your fiancé will be facing.
Most couples love to have the reaction captured! Know which way you’re planning to propose so that your photographer can be in the right spot to capture your fiancé’s face during the proposal.

4. Photo turnaround time.
Ask the photographer when you’ll receive the images back, and be sure to tell him or her if you’d like them to wait to post any until you announce the engagement. It’s common to have the photographer wait to post any proposal images until the couple is able to share themselves! See if the photographer can send you a couple of favorites soon after so you can share the professional images and announce it to your friends!

5. Set up a phone call.
I also encourage speaking to your photographer on the phone a few days before or earlier in the proposal day to really be sure you both are on the exact same page, and to answer any questions the photographer may have.

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I hope these tips are able to help your proposal to go smoothly, and answer the questions you may have about planning it! This should be such an exciting time, and no matter what happens you get to ask your best friend to marry you. And that’s pretty amazing! Happy proposing!

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Written by Christa of Christa Rene Photography. Christa is a South Carolina & destination wedding photographer obsessed with the South, the color blush, and capturing light, joyful images while offering a personal experience for couples.