Capturing the moment of your engagement is something important, exiting and sometimes stressful. You want everything to be perfect : the timing, the place, the way you do it. And you deserve it. But in my experience there is always a discrepancy between what you have in mind and the technical concerns to make this vision possible. Let’s review 3 ways to completely ruin your chance of having good picture of this unique moment.

Do not give your photographer a proper heads up

If there is one thing you should learn from this is this one : DO NOT CATCH THE PHOTOGRAPHER OFF-GUARD (and expect stellar images).

By not letting your photographer know you are about to propose you put him in a position where he has to perform without giving him the chance to prepare for the technical challenges he will be facing. You also deny him a chance to share his experience when it comes to timing and location. Photographers are problem solvers and think on their feet. If you give him lemon he will make lemonade, just don’t expect orange juice.

surprise engagement picture

I knew he would be proposing during the session. So I told him I would let him know when it was adequate so he wouldn’t pop it in a bad location with bad lighting

Do not listen to your photographer’s advices

Your photographer has most likely witnessed more proposal than you would ever be. He knows how it goes, he knows the technical limitations of photography and he knows his area and the nice locations to shoot. Make sure your photographer gives you ideas and options for you to make an educated decision. The photographer will also put the technical consideration into the equation so you can both work on the good formula to get the best possible results.

Propose by nighttime in a dimly lit environment

This is a very good example of misalignment between your vision and technical limitations of photography

Photography technique is based on recording the light. No light means no pictures. While you can record images in low light, you have to increase the sensitivity of the picture. As a result you get more “noise” (the grain that appears on the pictures). It generally means a decrease in quality, in sharpness and colors.

One way to remedy this is to use flash. Be aware though, once the flashes start firing the cover is blown and your loved one will know your are up to something. Especially if you decide to have the photographer “hide in the bushes”

Bonus : An example of surprise engagement made during the course of a “regular” couple session.

Beforehand, I made sure my client knew the keyword telling him I am ready. We started the session as usual and when we arrived at the beach we kept taking pictures. It gave me the opportunity to make sure the camera was functioning correctly, I had enough battery or memory card space. The warm up time is perfect to guarantee zero f-up at the decisive moment.

“Okay guys light is perfect. Now we can rock&roll!”

By having shared a few moment with them before they were accustomed to my presence, it was normal for them to be around me and being photographed. This is a huge boost in the quality of work for two main reason. The girl totally forgot about me since I had been taking picture of them for half an hour before. She was focused on living the moment and had no camera shyness. Second, I was able to get really close and capture those image in a very personal and intimate way. I love getting close, being into the action. It really makes a visual difference in the pictures. I will let you see by yourself.

 

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So what do you think guys ? Have you hired a photographer for your proposal ? How did you do it ? How did it go ? Do you plan on proposing ? Will you have a photographer ? In any case I hope this article has been useful.

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