Scripps Pier Proposal

from the journal

And How to Nail Your Surprise Proposal Session!

Ok so this is not entirely selfless – I’m also shamelessly sharing my absolute favorite surprise proposal shoot to date! Jeb reached out in September with his plan to propose to Alicia, and we booked them this proposal session under Scripps Pier in San Diego, plus an engagement session at a location and time TBD. Alicia thought this was just a regular cute couples shoot, but Jeb had the ring in his back pocket! He waited until the perfect moment under the pier to get on one knee (guys, please get on one knee – we love it!) If you are proposing to your partner soon and you’re looking for a memorable and meaningful way to do it, here are some takeaways from a proposal and engagement photographer.

For starters there are 2 great ways to do this, and there are pros and cons to both:
1. Your significant other knows they’re going to take photos
2. Your significant other is totally in the dark

Option #1: If you tell them they’re taking photos, they have the opportunity to dress for it and get primped a bit more if they want to. You also have an excuse to take them to a picturesque location! There’s only one potential con with this – if my husband arranged a photo session for us, I’d know something was up. If you truly want this to be a surprise, have a good reason for these photos and be sure your photographer knows to keep the plan a secret.

– Talk to your photographer about your plans on the phone only when you’re away from your partner
– Have an idea of when during the photo session you plan to pop the question. You want a little warm up time to get loose, but you also want to have time after the proposal for the ring shots, the just-engaged shots, a champagne pop, and alllll the emotions
– The best time to propose is when your photographer’s camera is already up and ready. During a pose, when the moment feels right, just go rogue and go for it! For example, if you guys are walking and holding hands, stop and pull your partner back before getting down on one knee. Another good one – you two are in an embrace and you pull away and pull out the ring. You get the idea!
– Take time to absorb the moment. Hold each other. Kiss each other. Forget your photographer is there – remember this time is so precious

Option number 2: You have your photographer hidden from your fiancé-to-be. This option keeps your proposal the most intimate, which might be really important to you! You can always signal them over for some posed photos after. You’ll need to come up with an excuse to take your partner to the location, and an excuse for them to wear something nicer if you think they’ll want to be dressed a certain way in your photos.
That all said, your outfits are not going to be what you remember when you look at your photos. If you plan to propose at the beach in sweatpants and an old tshirt, that is beautiful and raw and natural in its own way. Not everything needs to be Instagram worthy to be beautiful, or worth being captured.

Ok…TIPS for this!
– Have a reason to go where you’re going (some that work well: a dog walk on the beach, a sunset picnic date night at a park, or a hike)
– Your photographer needs a way to identify you, so meet in person beforehand or describe in detail what you’ll be wearing and exactly where you’ll be
– Give your photographer a more specific timeframe so they can be ready when the moment comes
– Pick a place where your photographer is able to blend in and be inconspicuous while also staying relatively close to you

Ok, final notes! Hopefully this was helpful. Any way you decide to do this, I’m so excited for you. Coming from a photographer this may sound funny – but the photos are not what you’ll remember about this day. They are merely a way of remembering and celebrating the way you’ll feel. So don’t sweat them too much. Book your photographer and let them handle the details. You get to focus on making this moment meaningful to both of you. I hope this helps, and I wish you the perfect proposal and a lifetime of happiness after.

Congratulations Jeb and Alicia!!

based on the east coast

wedding and lifestyle photographer


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