A Professional Photographer's Guide to Taking Shots of Surprise Proposals [Boston Proposals Series] (2023)

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about the different ways you can do thisget the perfect picture of your surprise proposal, which included everything from asking a random person to using a camera in a ring box.

But to get the highest quality photos and have the best chance of them coming out exactly how you always imagined them, there's a lot more photography behind the scenes than you might think! So we took an in-depth look at what it's like to hire a professional photographer - your personal "wingman" to capture the moment you'll relive for the rest of your life.

I sat down with his Jason CoreyPhoto by Jason Coreyto find out every detail of what it's like to work with a professional photographer on your surprise, and based on his experience and knowledge of Boston, he gave some helpful tips. The only thing more difficult than capturing an important moment perfectly is doing it undercover.

  1. Have you ever helped capture a surprise proposal before? If so, how many suggestions did you help with?

I captured 4 unexpected proposals and helped coordinate two.

(Video) Tips For Photographing A SURPRISE "Wedding Proposal": I Only Had 10 sec to get the shot, did I FAIL?

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  1. Are you asked to take surprise proposal photos more often than usual?

I feel the idea of ​​coming up with a surprise proposal is in the works. Many "groom-to-be" or "significant others" don't usually think about this aspectarrestproposal and are more focused on ring style, what to say, location, etc. They don't contact me often about unexpected proposals, about two a year. Although every time I am it is an exciting adventure!

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  1. How do you plan to be with your significant other to take surprise proposal photos?

    First and foremost,I ask if there is a place in the mind that is important to their relationship.I believe this should be the most important aspect and should be addressed immediately. Once a location is determined, a lot of research is done to find what would work for success. I like to plan a couple's walking route so that I know their location and can position myself appropriately to remain inconspicuous while catching the "track" of the proposal.

  2. Keep in mind that during the proposal, even if one of us has a leg in the wrong position or at a different angle, the images may be completely obscured or placed at an unflattering angle. If possible, I try to arrange a location with my other half before the proposal. This ensures that we are both completely on the same page and know exactly what the final product will look like. If the location cannot be located, the other half and I will resort to locating the best route for both of us using a location map.

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  3. A Professional Photographer's Guide to Taking Shots of Surprise Proposals [Boston Proposals Series] (3)

  4. You are hiding? If yes, where do you usually hide and how do you plan where to hide?

I don't really hide, but I'm rather inconspicuous in the shadows. I will leave some of my gear to be more like a photographer who just shoots birds or even landscape. I try to take a few shots beforehand, but quickly and not too often to arouse suspicion. I try to map out a route for the couple to walk, such as over a specific bridge or crosswalk, so that I can be in the perfect spot to capture the "ride" in a sentence. Photographers are everywhere, so if a couple spots me, the LAST thing the "future bride" or "significant person" will think of will be "he's here to capture my proposal!"

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  1. Do you reveal yourself at the end to take more post-proposal photos? How to do it without feeling uncomfortable?

What usually happens after that is an impromptu mini engagement session where I'll take some posed and candid photos of the couple on the spot. It's important to me that the couple enjoy the surreal moment of their engagement, so I'll wait a few minutes before approaching them to reveal myself and of course show them some amazing photos!

  1. Can you recommend a place, day or time that is best suggested to take the best photos possible?

    (Video) How to Film A Marriage Proposal: Behind The Scenes Of A Real Wedding Engagement

I always prefer outdoors over indoors. A location with little pedestrian traffic (unless that is the will of the other half) and good space is ideal. Midday should be avoided for any outdoor photography. My preferred time to shoot is late afternoon/early evening when the sun is nice and low in the sky (golden hour). At this time, the sun casts a nice yellow-orange sidelight, creating a romantic mood in some photos. In summer, the hours around 6:00-7:00 pm are preferred, when pedestrian traffic stops at 5:00 pm.

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    1. Do you suggest your significant other wear a certain color for photos?

    As with all engagement photos, I recommend avoiding stark whites and deep blacks - but this is entirely optional. I prefer my couples to wear whatever outfit they like best!

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  1. What do you do to make sure your photos come out perfect?

Planning, planning, planning.I cannot stress this enough. Planning where both my other half and I will meet during and before the proposal is what will make or break the photos. We both need to consider the weather, lighting, foot traffic, and regularity of standing in a particular location to make a recommendation. I will try to get the other person to signal me something normal (sunglasses off, bag drop) so that I know it's my turn and that he/she will ask a question. The perfect location, light, composition and emotions will allow you to capture the proposal perfectly. It's a one-off performance, so it's all about planning.

(Video) 11 BEST MARRIAGE PROPOSAL TIPS & IDEAS! Engagement Advice & Tricks. How to Ask Her to Marry Me! You

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  1. Can you offer some creative ideas for a couple who want to make a surprise?

Location is key - choose a location that has personal meaning for both of you. Maybe a place for a first date or a place you visit often with your colleagues. A location with nice greenery or beautiful architecture is always a plus! There are many different ways to ask questions instead of getting down on one knee. Maybe ask someone to hold up a sign that says "will you marry me" or hire a band to play… be creative and really WOW your significant other and the photos will look so much sweet.If the other person would also like to have their proposal filmed, I have a long list of videographers willing to capture their special moment.

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  1. Are there any stories or situations you can tell us that we should avoid to make the unexpected proposal go smoothly? How did you deal with it?

On one occasion, the "groom-to-be's" phone died as soon as they got there, so I had no idea where they were - and more importantly, I wasn't sure why he wasn't answering my texts! Fortunately, we already had a route they would take in place, and I was able to pinpoint their location and follow them to the proposal site.

  1. For more information on planning a surprise with Jason Corey,ContactJason via website -www.jasoncoreyphoto.comthe e-mail - Jason@jasoncoreyphotography.com All images are property of Jason Corey Photography

    (Video) Proposal Tips - Ultimate Guide To Plan The Perfect Proposal. 9 Tips


What is the best lens for surprise proposal? ›

EF 70mm – 200mm f/2.8 lens – I pair this with the EOS 1D MK IV because this is a crop camera which means that I will have a more extended reach for the initial proposal shot because often I have to hide well out of sight.

What is the best shutter speed for proposal? ›

Shutter speed: With your camera set on a tripod and movement minimal, we recommend a minimum shutter speed of 1/60th of a second. Aperture: This depends on how much of the image you want in focus. As you will not be able to fine-tune your focus precisely, a moderate aperture of f5.

Are proposal photos worth it? ›

"It's a candid moment where your significant other is unprepared and caught off guard. There are a lot of tears, laughter, and joy that's pure and photogenic. Just like weddings, it's a moment that happens so quickly you'll be happy knowing you have that memory in the form of a picture."

How long do proposal photos take? ›

This'll vary depending on your photographer, but most engagement sessions usually last between an hour and an hour and a half. With the couples I work with, I like to start around two hours before sunset (or at sunrise), as this is when the light is best.

How long after a proposal should you take engagement photos? ›

Within one to two months

Aim to have your engagement portrait taken within a month or two of getting engaged. During this time, you'd still be radiating bliss. With the engagement vibe still fresh, you'd be glowing in front of the camera.

What percentage of proposals are a surprise? ›

According to The Knot, 50 percent of proposers thought their partner was surprised by the proposal, while only about 33 percent of those receiving the proposal said they weren't expecting it. The process of creating the perfect design for the ring can also be a dead giveaway that a proposal is coming.

What lenses does Annie Leibovitz use? ›

Leibovitz went on record to say that her lens of choice was always “…the 35mm. It was more environmental. You can't come in closer with the 35 mm.” In the Lincoln ad, we also see Annie using the D810 along with a 24-70mm f2.

Should I wear glasses for engagement photos? ›

Wear your glasses!

If you are a glasses wearer don't feel like you need to take them off for your engagement photos. Remember, you want these photos to look and feel like you!

What is the sharpest shutter speed? ›

To maximize sharpness, you would generally want to use a small aperture (f/16-22) and a fast shutter speed. But how fast is fast when you are dealing with tiny fractions of a second? It's very hard to create a sharp image, especially with a hand-held camera, using a shutter speed of less than 1/60 of a second.

What is a good shutter speed ideas? ›

A shutter speed of around 1/20th is ideal, with as wide a focal length as you can get. Zoom burst – In this case, you're going to change the focal length of a zoom lens during exposure of around 1/20th. A simple kit lens is great to practice with, and for this type of zoom, it works best when you zoom in.

What should you not do in engagement photos? ›

  • 7 Engagement Photo Mistakes to Avoid. ...
  • Not Planning Around the Sun. ...
  • Not Showing Up On Time. ...
  • Not Picking A Location You Feel Comfortable And Most Like Yourself. ...
  • Having Too Many Location Changes. ...
  • Not Picking Comfortable Clothing. ...
  • Having Too Many Outfit Changes. ...
  • Not Getting Tons of Sweet Candid Moments.
Jun 26, 2021

Do you tip after engagement photos? ›

Am I expected to tip an engagement photographer? Tipping for an engagement session is not necessary. However, if you felt your engagement photographer went above and beyond or if your engagement session ran a little long because of weather or something else then tipping would definitely be appreciated.

How much should I charge for proposal photography? ›

The average cost for an engagement photographer ranges from under $200 to $275 or more nationally. Depending on a number of factors, the entire engagement photography package can cost as little as $100, and up to $500 or more.

What should I wear for a proposal photo? ›

You want your faces and the love between you to stand out." Requeima suggests wearing pastels, cool hues, or neutrals, then adding a bright accent with your accessories.

What is proposal vs engagement photos? ›

Proposal photos and engagement photos are two different types of photography. Both are important in capturing a couple's love story. While proposal photos are emotional and candid, engagement photos offer a more planned and staged experience.

How should I pose for engagement photos naturally? ›

18 Engagement Photo Poses & Ideas
  1. Leaning on each other. There are many ways to execute this idea. ...
  2. Touching foreheads. ...
  3. Almost kissing. ...
  4. Embracing. ...
  5. Looking at the horizon. ...
  6. Walking holding hands. ...
  7. Use depth of field creatively. ...
  8. Pose the hands.

What time of the year is best for engagement photos? ›

Fresh, warm, bright, and clean… Like spring, summer is a great time to book your engagement session. The weather is most likely to cooperate and your photos will easily suit the theme of your summer wedding.

How late is too late for engagement photos? ›

This will usually be at least 10 months before the wedding or 6 months at the latest. This will give you enough time to book your photographer and use the photos for your wedding website or save the dates.

How long after your engagement should you marry? ›

The duration of your engagement is ultimately up to you, but many couples are waiting at least a year before exchanging vows. According to The Knot 2021 Real Weddings Study, the average engagement length for U.S. couples was 16 months.

What month is most popular to propose? ›

In the US, nearly 40% of engagements happen in the two-and-a-half months between Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day, according to a survey of 18,000 people. December, in particular, is the peak month for getting engaged – with Christmas Eve a particularly popular date.

What is the most common age to propose? ›

About 2.2% of Americans get engaged under the age of 20, 74% in their 20s, 15% in their mid-30s (30-34), and about 8% at the age of 35 or older.

How much does the average engagement proposal cost? ›

Those on the lower end of the spectrum spend around $3,000, and those with higher budgets typically spend more than $7,000. Other costs to factor in the budget include the venue, alcohol, food, a musician, a photographer, and a hotel.

What camera lens does Kate Middleton use? ›

Kate used a Canon 5D Mark IV, with a 50mm f/1.2 lens attached. PetaPixel discovered that she shoots her images in RAW and is “handy” on Photoshop.

What is the most famous Annie Leibovitz photo? ›

Leibovitz's Polaroid photo of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, taken five hours before Lennon's murder, is considered one of Rolling Stone magazine's most famous cover photographs.

Why is Annie Leibovitz so good? ›

Her unique visual language makes her one of the most influential photographers of our time. Meanwhile, her vast portfolio serves as documentation for the dramatic political and cultural shifts of the past 50 years, appointing her a leading voice in contemporary American portraiture. “Annie Leibovitz.

What colors to avoid for engagement photos? ›

I recommend avoiding neons and anything too bright, but the occasional pop of color can be a great addition! Adding a fun tie, a colorful hat, or some funky socks can bring an outfit together perfectly.

What colors look best in engagement photos? ›

If in doubt, white is always a timeless, flattering choice that matches everything. If you want light + airy photos, consider these colors: white, pastels, light pink, taupe, peach, light blue, navy, yellow, grays, tans. Also, be sure to consider the backdrop of the locations you will be getting photos taken.

How do you look thinner in engagement photos? ›

Try your best to keep your body slightly turned, this will help you look slimmer than if you were standing straight on facing the camera. Tilt your shoulders toward the photographer, slightly dropped down and keep your hips at an angle.

What are the 3 most important camera settings? ›

Three of the most important settings are shutter speed, ISO, and aperture — otherwise known as the exposure triangle, or the three pillars of photography.

What are the best camera settings for couples photography? ›

For couple's portraits or groups use a smaller aperture to make sure you get everyone in sharp focus, f/5.6 or f/8 will usually do the trick. Also, watch how you pose and position people in the group so they aren't spaced too far apart (distance to the camera).

How do I get sharp pictures every time? ›

10 Tips For Taking Sharp Photos With Your Camera
  1. Focus On The Subject. ...
  2. Use A Fast Shutter Speed. ...
  3. Use The Right ISO Setting. ...
  4. Find Your Lens' “Sweet Spot” ...
  5. Use Remote Shutter Release Or Timer. ...
  6. Use Mirror Lock-Up. ...
  7. Use Image Stabilization. ...
  8. Make Sure Your Lens Is Clean.

Why are my photos not sharp? ›

The most common reason for a blurry photo is an incorrect use of shutter speed. The faster your shutter speed is, the less chance there is for camera shake. This is particularly true when shooting handheld. There is no way that anyone will be able to handhold a camera steady enough at slow shutter speeds.

What shutter speed is not blurry? ›

Increase Shutter Speed

If you want a clear shot of a moving subject, speeds of 1/500 and up (depending on how fast your subject is) will allow you to get a sharp image without motion blur.

What is rule of third in photography? ›

What is the rule of thirds? The rule of thirds is a composition guideline that places your subject in the left or right third of an image, leaving the other two thirds more open. While there are other forms of composition, the rule of thirds generally leads to compelling and well-composed shots.

What shutter speed do most photographers use? ›

It's my experience that many portrait photographers prefer using faster shutter speeds when taking portrait photos. While 1/125 sec should suffice depending on the lighting conditions, a safe starting point would be 1/250 sec or faster.

What should you avoid in photos? ›

Take a look at my picks and advice below to learn more about what not to wear to a photos.
  • Too Many Accessories. ...
  • Strong Patterns. ...
  • Colors That Blend In Too Much With the Background. ...
  • Logos. ...
  • Dressing Too Trendy / A Style You're Not Comfortable With. ...
  • Uncoordinated Fashion / Fashion That Matches Too Much. ...
  • Too Loose of Clothing.

What should I avoid in professional photos? ›

What Should I Avoid Wearing For Business Headshots?
  • Avoid Anything That Looks Too Dressed Down. ...
  • Avoid Heavy Patterns And Prints. ...
  • Avoid Wearing Logo Or Pictures On Your Clothing. ...
  • Wearing Accessories Or Anything Too Distracting. ...
  • Avoid Clothing That Looks Too Shiny.

Should you wear jewelry for engagement photos? ›

While you don't want to overdo jewelry for the actual photos, many couples are advised to bring extra options to the photo shoot. These provide variety and interest for the various pictures and settings.

Can you wear prints in engagement photos? ›

If you're sporting prints, make sure they're big enough to show up on camera, but not too flashy—you don't want to get lost in an oversized pattern. Your engagement photo outfits should feel representative of you and your S.O, so don't be afraid to express your personal style.

How many pictures do you take in an engagement shoot? ›

It generally depends on the photographer, but you can expect about 40-50 images.

Should I get a haircut before engagement photos? ›

Should I get A Haircut? You should get your haircut at least a month before your session (girls) or a week before your session (guys). A haircut will make your hair more shiny, healthy, and natural for your session.

What should a cost proposal include? ›

Here's how to present a pricing proposal
  • Begin with the budget. To set the budget right, start by identifying all your direct costs (such as labor and raw materials) and indirect costs (such as office rent and insurance). ...
  • Present a cover letter. ...
  • Add a completion date. ...
  • Include billing options. ...
  • Use templates.
Oct 12, 2022

What are proposal costs? ›

Proposal costs are the costs of preparing bids, proposals, or applications on potential Federal and non-Federal awards or projects, including the development of data necessary to support the non-Federal entity's bids or proposals.

How to make the proposal a surprise when she knows it's coming? ›

The key to the perfect surprise is to be calm and play it cool. Dont let her feel that you nervous. You ask her to go for a walk in a park, you passing by a wonderful spot with flowers and musician, you take her hand and bring her to the heart. ” I would never guess it was for us.

Is it better to propose at sunrise or sunset? ›

For the best photos, set up your proposal for the golden hour—right after sunrise or right before sunset. This provides the best natural lighting and therefore the best engagement shots.

Are most marriage proposals a surprise? ›

A Majority of Proposals are not Surprised

And if you think about it, you should discuss marriage with your partner. If the girl wants to be married already, there is no suspense to the man because he already knows the answer when he pops the question.

Who do you tell before you propose? ›

Start by telling your mom you want to propose to your significant other. This is a huge step in your life and you should start by sharing it with her. Not close with your mom? This will bring you closer and establish a new, adult relationship/friendship with mom.

How do I get my girlfriends nails done before a proposal? ›

Unless a date at the nail salon is commonplace for the two of you, any mention from you of having her nails done will tip her off. Instead, have her sister or a close girlfriend of hers take her out for a manicure that morning or the day before. Make sure it's someone who the invitation wouldn't seem odd coming from.

What is the best color to wear for engagement photos? ›

If in doubt, white is always a timeless, flattering choice that matches everything. If you want light + airy photos, consider these colors: white, pastels, light pink, taupe, peach, light blue, navy, yellow, grays, tans. Also, be sure to consider the backdrop of the locations you will be getting photos taken.

What color should I wear for my proposal? ›

If you like a pop of colour, we recommend bright pinks, teals, purples and shades of blue. If you prefer more neutral pastels, opt for light blues, greens, corals and other light colours. If you are wearing light or bright colours, your partner should wear light or bright colours too.

What are the five elements of proposal? ›

Basic components of a proposal
  • Abstract/Summary. The abstract is the most important component of the proposal. ...
  • Statement of Need. What is the issue that you are addressing and why does it matter? ...
  • Project Activity, Methodology and Outcomes. ...
  • Evaluation. ...
  • Dissemination. ...
  • Budget and Continuation Funding.


1. How To Pull Off The Best Proposal Ever! (Warning: This Will Make You Cry)
(Kornelius Bascombe)
2. Everything you NEED to know before YOUR proposal
(Amari Productions)
3. We Got Engaged (Our Proposal Story) | Wild 'Til 9 Episode 120
4. Super romantic marriage proposal in Paris
(The Paris Photographer)
5. Paris Proposal by the Seine River
(Adagion Studio)
6. Killer Smiles After Father Attacks Him For Killing His Daughter
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