How To Photograph Your Own Proposal: Our Top Tips

Alright, it’s go-time! You’ve found the Bey to your Jay, and you’re ready to put a ring on it. 

Congrats to you! If all goes well (as I’m sure it will), you’ll be planning a wedding and saying yes to forever in no time. But, you want to do it right. 

You’ve put so much thought, preparation, and planning into this proposal, and you don’t want to nail this moment and miss the pics to prove it! 

Capturing your proposal may not be as essential as getting those gorgeous wedding day photos, but it’s still a meaningful moment worthy of a photoshoot. 

You and your partner (ehm… future fiancé) will appreciate looking back on those photos for years to come. Plus, y’all get to show off the bling right away!

If you’re a dedicated DIYer, you may want to try grabbing these photos yourself, but how to photograph your own proposal? 

How To Photograph Your Own Proposal

Make a Plan

happy man holding his girlfriend in his arms
Photo by: Rose Arrow Photography

Well, friend, you need a plan. As with most good things, you’ve got to put a little thought in before execution. 

Ask yourself what you’re trying to get out of these photos. Sure, you’re probably trying to capture some photographic evidence that you and your beau said yes to one another, but try to dig a little deeper than that. 

What do you want to remember about this moment? How exactly are you going to do it? 

Another big question would be where? Where would you like to pop the question?

Try to pick a meaningful place for both of you, like where you had your first date, the park you both love to walk your puppies in, or maybe even the home you two share! 

While you’re pondering this, you’ll also want to be mindful of the light. 

Unless you’re a professional photographer, you’ll probably struggle in harsh lighting (think a wide-open field in the middle of the day) or low lighting (think a basement bar). What you want is soft, bright, indirect light. 

Your best bet is to choose somewhere outside in the morning or the evening. Pick a spot by the window if you’d like to do it at your home or a favorite coffee shop.

You’ll also want to make sure you’re shooting from an angle that captures the light on your faces. 

Get the Equipment

Have a camera that you’re somewhat familiar with? Fantastic. You’re already 10 steps ahead. Actually, you’re only one step ahead, but having your own equipment is a plus!

Not even sure what equipment you need? 

Hey. Hi there. I can help. 

Your equipment needs will change depending on what you’d like to achieve. If you want a simple shot that you can just slap some filters on and share with the world, your iPhone might be able to do the job. 

If you have one of the newer iPhones, they can take high-quality photos and video. If you pay attention to light and framing, you may be able to get a decent shot just from your iPhone on a tripod. 

If you’d like to step it up a notch, rent a camera. There are plenty of DSLRs and point and shoots that (if you get the settings right) will deliver a gorg photo. 

Just make sure that whatever setup you go for, you’ll have the ability to remote shoot. Because you’ll have to set up the camera and then get in the frame and pop the question. 

Work Out Your Setup

happy couple looking at each other
Photo by: Emily Blackford Photography

Once you’ve got the equipment that fits the bill, you’ll have to work out the setup. 

Get a Tripod 

You’re going to need a tripod, mkay? There’s no way around it unless you’re going to set your camera on a rock or perch it in a tree and just pray to the camera gods that it doesn’t slip. 

And you know, right at the crucial moment, it will slip. 

If you’re going to DIY this, then DIY it right. Get a tripod and get comfortable with it. 

Practice, Practice, Practice!

man making a proposal to his girlfriend using a poster
Photo by: Emma Paul Photography

Then (and here’s the critical part) practice. 

When you decide to play stand-in for a professional photographer, don’t think that you’re just going to be able to throw a camera at the situation and come out fine. Don’t throw your camera!

You’ll need to get comfortable with your camera and the settings. 

Ideally, you’ll be able to take it to the same location where you’ll be popping the question, but at least practice at the same time of day. That way, you can get used to the light you’ll be working with. 

Break it all out – the camera, the remote, the tripod, the dance moves… wait. Scratch that last one. I mean, unless you’re about that. 

Get comfortable with your equipment because when it comes time to do it, you know, there will be A LOT more on your mind than the whole camera setup. 

Last Check and Then Pack Up

Phew. Okay, you’ve done a lot of work so far, and now it’s D day!

Do one final check to make sure you’ve got everything you need. 

Lock-In the Settings You Practiced

Then go over the settings you’ve practiced and make sure they’re set and ready to go. You’ll likely have to adjust a few things once you get on location, but if you have them near the mark, it will help. 

RAW Is Better

If it’s not too overwhelming, try to set your images to RAW if you can. It will make them far easier to edit once the big moment is over. It’s certainly not necessary, and if you’re rocking an iPhone, don’t worry about it. 

But if your camera has the option, it would be a good idea. Also, if you’re nervous, most cameras will allow you to shoot RAW + JPEG, ya know… just in case. 

Play It Cool

happy couple splashing water
Photo by: The McDonalds

HERE WE GO! 

You’ve got to figure out a way to introduce the camera without making things weird or overly obvious. 

Try to think about how you’ll go about this ahead of time. Maybe you want to get a sunset timelapse? Perhaps your partner just looks so beautiful that you have to stop and capture the moment? 

Maybe you love cameras, and this won’t be a new thing for your partner. 

Whatever it is, come up with an excuse for why in the world you have this camera and that tripod on you. 

Edit and Protect Those Photos

beautiful couple posing sitting on the ground
Photo by: Vivian Fox Photography

Look at you, you sly fox. You did it, and your fav person in the world said yes. 

Take that in. Someone said yes to spending the rest of their life with you. That’s pretty special. 

And since that’s so special, you’ll want to do these photos justice in post-processing. Find an editing software that doesn’t stress you out too much, and finesse those babies. 

And when I say finesse, I mean finesse. We’re going for subtlety here, for timeless photos that you’ll treasure forever. Avoid the urge to slap every filter on it and call it good. 

After you’ve edited those photos like a pro, you’ll want to store them safely. Ideally, you’ll have them in three locations to keep them extra safe. 

You could keep them on your computer, in the Cloud, and then on an external hard drive. 

Share with the World

couple in love kissing in the field
Photo by: Lavinia + Louise Creative Company

Now for the really fun part. Share that gold. 

Let people see the moment it all went down and allow them to celebrate with you. You didn’t go through all that work to keep them hidden in those three safe places, did you? 

No! Shout it to the world! Pick your platform of choice and post your pictures for everyone to see. 

Alternatives

young girl sitting on man's back and giving him a beer
Photo by: Photography by Ali K

Are you getting a headache after reading through all of that information?

Did you get stuck in the “Get Equipment” phase because what the heck do you know about cameras, and what are you even thinking, don’t you have enough on your plate? 

Tackling your engagement photos is a CHORE, for sure. Especially if you have no experience. So, we have a few alternatives for you. 

Have a Friend Man the Camera

Do you have a budding photographer as a friend? Maybe they’re looking to build their portfolio a bit? 

Or perhaps you’ve got all the equipment, but you don’t want to take away from the moment by having to capture it in real-time. 

Recruit a friend. 

Practice with them a little bit ahead of time, so you’re both comfortable. But this can be a great alternative to doing a total DIY with your engagement photos. 

Hire A Photographer 

And then, of course, you can leave it in the hands of a professional. 

This can be a fantastic way to test out a wedding photographer before putting down that deposit. It also comes with the perk that you don’t have to think about anything we just talked about. 

Hire a photographer you love, let them know where it’s all going down, and then just be in the moment with your future fiancé. 

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