How to Plan a Surprise Proposal with Photography

Marriage proposals are the ultimate surprise occasions. And if you are the one proposing, you want to make sure that it is absolutely perfect, which often means planning it out carefully, right? 

So maybe you already know the location, what you’re going to wear, and what you are going to say, but how do you know you have all the bases covered? And how do you incorporate photography into the magic moment?

No worries! Here’s a checklist to help you out from start to finish!

1)   Plan a location to propose that is special to both of you.
Scout the location in advance if possible so you can find the picture-perfect spot. Send phone photo to photographer in advance or ask their advice if they’ve previously been to that location. 

Also have a plan B location (or alternate spot at same location) if there is rain. Plan a date and time with good lighting about 1-2 hours before sunset. 

2)   Find a photographer. 

Reach out to them in advance and let them know your plan. Get to know your photographer a little so they can better capture your moment. Let the photographer know it’s a surprise and have them dress to blend in. 

At this proposal at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we were surrounded by lots of tourist, hikers, and hobbyist nature photographers, so it wasn’t hard for me to stay inconspicuous. 

3)   Set a style.

Consider dressing up a bit with a button-down shirt, and try to have your future fiancé look nice as well without spoiling the surprise (maybe take her on a dinner date afterward).

In general, people do not like to be surprised with photos unless their hair, make-up and outfits are photo ready, making them feel confident.

4)   Be discreet.

Take the ring out of the box, and put in a special bag in your pocket so the box doesn’t give it away.

5)   Pop the question!

Find the agreed upon spot, check subtly for the photographer, give them the thumbs up (if you can), and go for it! Let your photographer do the rest and just be in the moment.

*Consider an additional 15-30 minutes of portrait time after the candid photos of the proposal. You’ll appreciate having extra photos from the place that you became ENGAGED!

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