If you've decided to pop the question, you've probably thought about the ring, maybe asked your significant other’s parents, and picked out the time, place, and words you’ve chosen—but did you clue in a photographer? Did you consider a videographer? Before you get too far down the proposal planning road, here are a few items to consider if you’d like to preserve the moment forever.
Photography vs. Videography
A surprise proposal is incredibly exciting, and can only happen one time! You need to decide if having photos, videos, both, or neither are important to you, and—more importantly—if you think they’d be important to your loved one. The benefit of having a professional photographer present is that you’re guaranteed gorgeous, in-focus, lovely photographs to keep forever. If you hand a phone to a friend and ask for the same thing, you're not guaranteed any of that will happen.
The benefit to having a professional videographer on-site is to hear the words you choose, and the words they say back, the cheers from passerby's, and all the other events that may unfold in real-time to playback for years. Again, if you hand a phone to a friend and hope for the best you can’t guarantee any sound even gets picked up, or that no one will call in the middle and interrupt the feed, or that they won’t start texting friends and forget their job! The real perk to professionals is they’re guaranteed to capture the proposal in the absolute best way possible. So as you plan for your perfect moment, consider what you’d like to have afterward for keeps.
When to Hire Your Photographer
A lot of photographers and videographers get an email or voicemail saying something along the lines of, “Hi! You were referred to me by (insert someone’s name) and I'm proposing to my girlfriend tomorrow at (insert most crowded area ever) at (insert absolute worst time of day for lighting), can you be there?” Don’t be this person! Call your visual pros early! These are busy people who book out way in advance. The minute you decide to propose, call the pros and ask their opinion on your plans.
Any great photographer and videographer are going to be a wealth of knowledge for you when it comes to great places to make it happen, a time of day where it will look best, and a million other items you might not have thought of in your quick planning. Your proposal will only be better with their expertise.
Planning the Proposal
Chances are if you’re hiring a pro to capture your surprise proposal, you aren’t looking to have a full tech setup potentially blow your big moment before you even open your mouth. By including the pros in your planning, they can help come up with areas that allow for them to hide nearby or in plain sight. Pros can pretend to be photographing someone else in a crowded space, or they can hide behind a rock or tree in an isolated one. If you’re aiming for video, you need to discuss with the videographer where they need to be for sound quality and ambient noise. Work with your pros to come up with a way to have them present without affecting the overall surprise.
After the Proposal
You proposed! What do you do with your pros now? Are you tied to using them for your wedding photos? Absolutely not! Hiring a photographer for a proposal is by no means a contract for more. A proposal session is just that, a session for the proposal. If you love your images or videos and want to employ them further that’s great, but there's never an obligation to do so. Before booking, make sure you know what's included in the contract. Understand that hiring them for this one event is not hiring them for extra work unless you purchase a package including additional shoots. All pros do it a little differently, and all proposals are different, so talk it out with them and get the details ahead of time.
Whatever you choose to do, you’ll certainly never regret hiring a photographer or videographer to capture your once-in-a-lifetime moment. Whether the proposal is over-the-top or something intimate, having the memories to look back on with each other is incredibly special. If you plan with your pros early and work as a team, the magic you can accomplish will be something the two of you cherish forever.
Photos courtesy of Plain Jane Photography