This one’s for the partners who have decided to hire a photographer for the proposal. Seriously, you’re going to want to read this. If you’re going to go through the trouble of hiring a photographer for the proposal, you need to put some effort into planning it—no worries, though, I’ve got your back! Here’s how to plan a picture perfect proposal in five, easy steps:
1. Have the conversation (the pre-proposal).
Maybe your partner has shared a Pinterest board (or three) with you dropping hints about how they want to experience the proposal. Or maybe you’re completely in the dark about expectations and wishes. Either way, it’s absolutely necessary to be on the same page before going any further in planning a proposal. If you haven’t had a conversation that plans out your shared future, you’re going to need to point blank ask them if they’re ready for this step. The truth can hurt sometimes, but it’s much easier than getting down on one knee and hearing it then. And honestly, if you don’t feel like you can put this question out there in the world, than you aren’t ready for this step.
2. Call me (your photographer).
Holler! The sooner the better, so I can secure a spot on my calendar and so that I can assist with the plan. I’m a pro at sneakily capturing proposals, and I’m happy to recommend where you should be leading your partner to for optimal composition and lighting. I am here to help you with step 3 and honestly my biggest recommendation is that you listen to me because we have seen dozens of proposals go both right and awry. We’ll go over your timeline and discuss any questions and concerns you might have. Helping you come up with a plan makes my job much easier and much more fun and it’s going to help set you up for success!
3. Make a solid plan.
There are many tricks that we have that help a photographed proposal go off without a hitch. Want to involve friends and family? Book a family portrait session with me and you’ll surprise your partner in the middle of the session. Nervous that I’ll miss the moment? That’s when we use the “ask a stranger” for a photo approach. Want to really control the scene? Charter a boat! Want to give them a puppy? Do it! But maybe check with them first.
Think about what makes your partner comfortable and excited—a walk on the beach? A nice dinner? A hike through the woods? The proposal is something they’re going to remember for the rest of their lives, so be sure it’s an easy “yes” for them by carefully planning how it’s going to go down. Once you’ve decided how the day (or evening) is going to go, make sure to inconspicuously schedule it at a time your partner is available. Then do a walk through of the entire plan.
4. Practice your pitch.
You’re going to get emotional, even if you don’t usually. Practicing what you’re going to say is fool-proof. When your brain goes on auto-pilot, the words will flow from memory. I can’t tell you the amount of times that I’ve almost missed the shot because the subject *barely* got down on one knee out of sheer nervousness! Practice makes perfect and if you’re not confident you’ll remember what you want to say, it’s perfectly ok to write down your proposal and bring it with you. It would make for a sweet, wedding day keepsake, too.
5. Look the part.
Just like when you’re going for a job interview, for your proposal, you should dress for the job you want (in this case, spouse). How you plan your outfit is entirely up to you and your style, but consider these helpful tips:
Don’t get a fresh haircut the day before. Give it a few days to a week for a more natural, lived-in look.
Don’t wear a brand new outfit. Wear something you’re comfortable in and don’t have to frequently adjust.
Dress for the occasion and make sure your partner is, too. If you’re going scuba diving or hiking, wearing a three-piece suit isn’t realistic and would be a total giveaway. If you aren’t going scuba diving though, you need to find a great reason for both of you to look sharp! For example, securing a fancy dinner reservation for a date night that your partner knows about will make sure they are dressed to impress. Encourage one of their friends to take them on a friend date for a manicure the week before.