Hiring a Photographer for Your Proposal

Tips for Hiring a Photographer for Your Proposal


It's officially the holiday season, so you know what that means: it's engagement season! The time of year between Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day is by far the most popular for proposals.

Over the last few years, it's become quite common to hire a photographer to capture the moment in secret. Let me tell you, I love being a part of someone's special proposal. I get all jittery and excited and start calling myself James Bond. (I'm really cool, guys.)

If you are planning to hire a photographer for the proposal (or maybe want to send your fiance a gentle hint ;) ), here are a few do's and don'ts to best capture the surprise.


  • Send your photographer a few recent photos of the two of you before the proposal. If your photographer hasn't met either of you, this is a must. I require all my proposal clients to send me a few photos so I know who I'm looking for during the event. I especially appreciate when he or she sends me a selfie taken the same day so I know what they will be wearing.
  • Be as specific as possible when coordinating the location. Don't just say "the Bean" or "Lincoln Park". Say "the north-west side of the Bean" or "on the middle of the kissing bridge facing off towards the skyline". Hell, take a screen cap on Google Earth and draw a red "X" all over it. When I'm photographing a proposal, knowing the EXACT location is everything!
  • Be in constant communication with your photographer leading up to the proposal. I usually ask my clients to text me as they are walking up to the location. That way, I  know it's almost go time. I also tell my client exactly where I am and what I'm wearing so he or she knows that I'm in place. That way, before the proposal happens my client can do a quick scan to make sure I'm there before popping the question.
  • Find a way to make sure your significant other is dressed up for the occasion. If you think he or she would prefer to be looking their best for the camera, help them along. Plan a romantic dinner or a more formal activity for before or after the proposal so that they will plan to dress nicely without you haven't to spoil the surprise. For those gentlemen popping the question to their favorite lady, confide in her best friends and let them schedule a mani-pedi outing the week before. You'll be thanking me later if you do. ;)


  • Plan your proposal somewhere outside at night. This is so hard to photograph while trying to remain unseen. While it's not impossible, there certainly are limitations. If you are planning an outdoor proposal, my suggestion is to schedule the proposal around sunset time (or earlier) for beautiful lighting.
  • Pick a high traffic location. Sure, it may seem like a good idea to propose in front of the Bean at night and on a Saturday, but I'm going to let you in on a secret: so does everyone else. I cannot tell you how many inquiries I received last year for that exact same proposal scenario. My Facebook newsfeed was blowing up left and right with Bean and Lincoln Park Zoo Lights proposals. When a client picks a very busy (and very popular) proposal location, it becomes a logistical nightmare for the photographer. You should absolutely plan the proposal you've been dreaming about, but the more people present, the more challenging it will be to photograph.
  • Wait until the last minute! I find that most proposals happen on the weekends. If this is your plan, then don't waste a second in hiring your proposal photographer. Because of the nature of the wedding industry, most photographers are booked weeks, months and even more than a year in advance for weekend weddings and photoshoots. Be sure to give yourself time to search! Sundays are usually (but not always) more feasible than Saturday dates. I tend to prefer week days for proposals, especially if you are going to be downtown.


I hope you found these tips helpful! Good luck with the proposal planning!