November 28, 2023  •  7min read

Top Tips for Making an Unforgettable Wedding Proposal Photoshoot

how to shoot a wedding proposal

They’ve picked the perfect ring, planned what to say, and are ready for the proposal! And they asked you to photograph the important moments. Are you up for the job?

Getting a wedding proposal captured has been popular recently, as it’s so much fun! Proposals are highly emotional moments and are over so quickly that the couple forgets what happened. We love the idea of capturing the rush of excitement during a proposal so couples can treasure the photos forever and share them with their family and friends. 

If you’re going to photograph a proposal, then it’s time to get planning! Here are essential secrets for capturing a surprise proposal to ensure you’ll confidently nail and capture the moments your clients will remember for the rest of their lives. 

Consider a Walkthrough Session

A lot could go wrong for a nervous groom to be, so it’s important to reduce the risk as much as you can. You can do this by doing a walkthrough the day before. This will help him relax, and you will be on the same page. If anything is missing in the plan, it’ll be instantly discovered and resolved. This is also the time to ensure the future bride-to-be won’t see you from where she will stand but ensure you can see her. 

If meeting in person ahead of time isn’t possible, we suggest jumping on a quick Zoom call or Google Meet with the groom to discuss the details. You can talk about the exact spot where he should stand and face when getting down on one knee. 

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Choose the Best Light and Where to Kneel

We can’t control the lighting of the proposal (although we always prefer during golden hour!), but we want to ensure we capture it in even light, so nothing will distract the magical moment. Give the groom your expert opinion on the timing based on the scenario he has in mind. 

Once you’ve planned the time of the shoot, it’s time to prepare on the right angle and positioning. Make sure you’re positioned so that when they’re facing each other, you’ll see both their profile and what they’re doing all at once. If you can’t see the groom down on one knee, her reaction, and the environment all in one shot, you didn’t do the job of telling the entire story in one shot. Your goal should be to tell the whole story without a single word.

Bring Out the Long Telephoto Lens

We recommend using the 70-200mm 2.8 lens for shooting proposals. The telephoto lens allows us to be physically far enough to get really close to the moment, and more importantly, won’t intrude on the moment and risk ruining the surprise! 

And as much as we like our prime lenses, there are literally only seconds to shoot once the groom bends down on one knee during a surprise proposal. So, there’s not enough time to swap lenses or get the wide shot from a distance and then run up to get a closer shot. The magical moment will be over before you know it. And because of that, long zoom lenses are the way to go!

Capture the Entire Moment 

One of a photographer’s most important jobs is to capture an entire event and tell a story, and the story doesn’t begin and end when he brings out a ring and asks, “Will you marry me?” We set our shutters to “silent” and start capturing the moment once the couple is in sight. 

Don’t worry about the bride hearing your camera, as with the silent shutter settings, she’ll never suspect anything. Then, once both are in position, prepare for the most critical shot: a pulled-back horizontal image showing the couple’s entire profiles and perspectives. You can zoom in for the tight shots, but you should still focus on the pulled-back image. 

Another tip is when preparing the guy the day before, ask him to hug his bride-to-be right before he drops down on one knee. That is how he will signal to us that it’s about to happen. This way, we can be sure to capture the moment not only when he’s down on one knee but as he’s dropping as well. This also lets him rock her into position so you can see both profiles from the right angle. 

Once she answers, “Yes!” Don’t move the camera position, instead, stay in the lens and keep shooting. The progression of emotion is just as powerful as the proposal. As soon as you have the shot and the moments right after, it’s okay to run out from hiding and capture various angles and more direct shots of the couple. 

Introduce Yourself to Her and do a Mini-Engagement Session 

The shock can cause the bride to be in a daze, kind of like a patient who’s out from under anesthesia, so remember to speak clearly, especially if she doesn’t know you. 

You can introduce yourself and tell the bride that her fiancé hired you to photograph the proposal. “We’ve been planning with your partner for months! And it’s great to finally meet you, congratulations! You’re looking stunning!” Make it simple, so they’ll have a better grip on the situation. 

From there, let the bride do some touch of makeup from her makeup bag that the groom snagged for you in advance. Your client will appreciate it! Doing a quick 30-minute engagement session will help complete the story. Just be extra calm and clear with your posing instructions, as they’ll be full of emotions and adrenaline compared to a regular engagement session.

And that’s all the tips on how to shoot a meaningful wedding proposal for you. We hope it will help you the next time you’re on a task to capture a proposal! Visit Bali Wedding for more tips and tricks for capturing a wedding.

Guntur author at Bali Wedding
Guntur has been writing tips and tricks for weddings in Bali since 2020. He has written everything from preparing a pre-wedding in Bali to the best wedding dress and makeup you should choose for a wedding in paradise.

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