Boy Meets Girl, Falls In Love, Proposes, Girl Says Yes!
The photography request I'm always the most excited to get is the super secret surprise proposal! Arranging the secret plans, the code words and then getting to see it all fall into place and capturing the special moments as they happen is just, well, so...romantic!
Crafting a secret proposal rendezvous on a romantic beach in Hawaii has some particular challenges however. We want a location that has that stunning Hawaii landscape, preferably with the fewest tourists/people in the background, and we want the best possible light on our couple as well. All that while simultaneously trying to arrange a little bubble of privacy to allow an intimate and emotional moment to blossom and express naturally.
Oh, and most of all keeping the intended victim, er, girlfriend, completely in the dark and unsuspecting until the actual moment!
While there are many different ways to set up a secret marriage proposal, there are three basic approaches that I have found to work the best to set up and photograph a romantic Hawaii beach surprise proposal.
1. During a Photo Shoot
First, arrange for a "couples photo session" just because you love her and think it will be great to have romantic photos on the beach at sunset together. By being totally up front and planning it with her, she won't suspect a thing. We'll arrange a secret code word that I will use at some point during the session when I've determined the light and location is ideal. I'll drop the code word casually and that will be your signal that I'm ready to go and it's now all up to you. The benefit to this approach is that your sweetheart knows she was coming to a photo session and thus she showed up with her hair, makeup and clothes how she wanted them.
2. Sneak Attack
The second approach, which is best for overly suspicious or suspecting victims, er, girlfriends, is that you arrange to go for an exploratory stroll with your sweetheart at a park or beach. You and I have planned on a specific location ahead of time where we will meet. I'm either hiding nearby or, even easier, at the spot pretending to be a tourist taking photos of the landscape (tourists with cameras are everywhere, after all!). You two walk up to the designated spot near the appointed time, and the moment I see you go to one knee, I simply turn and begin snapping your special moment. What I've discovered, is that your sweetheart won't even notice me for awhile, she's so focused on you.
3. Adventure Proposal
This is the most popular option, for myself and many clients. The adventure surprise proposal is where you and your sweetheart go hiking or exploring in some out of the way, off-the-beaten-path location. I’m there before you, pretending to be a landscape photographer (which is how I actually got many of these photos!) and when you begin to propose, I simply turn and begin snapping photos. The advantage to this option is that you’re both doing something you love, in an epic, stunningly beautiful location, and your girlfriend never saw it coming.
Many clients do this option when they choose the double-session package, so the adventure proposal is one session, and then we do the follow up “engagement” session at a different location and time. This gives you the maximum variety of images, and allows your sweetheart to get all dressed up for the second, more “formal” session.
Check out these examples here: Philip & Sam’s epic mountaintop, sunrise surprise proposal and Minto & Elda’s mountaintop surprise proposal.
Once your sweetheart has given an enthusiastic yes and she's floating slowly back to earth, we then finish your photo session with as many romantic and fun images as we can. Nothing is more romantic than to have that special fleeting moment in time captured forever to remind you of your love and connection. When you're ready to pop the question, propose to your girlfriend or sweetheart, give me a call and let me help you make your surprise marriage proposal an even more wonderful moment!