February 27, 2013 at 10:51 pm #7383
A friend messaged me tonight interested in having a “couples shoot” done for him and his longtime girlfriend. But, he absolutely wants to keep it a surprise/secret from her, and well, I can read between the lines and am 98% sure he’s going to propose during said photoshoot, and just disguise it as a couples photo shoot as a gift to her.
I’ve done engagement shoots before, but never a surprise engagement. I’m a little nervous. Does anyone have any advice on how these things may go? Have you ever done such a session? I’m assuming/guessing that it’ll start out just as some nice, cute, posed couples photos and then toward the end I think he’s going to propose. Now this is all an assumption, but like I said they’ve been together forever and the way he said this I had the gut feeling right away. I’ll have to be ready for the moment. My idea I gave him for a location is a very private area, with trees covering a gravel path down into the woods and then a field with a treeline in the background, so I doubt I’ll have to contend with other people around, and I think they’ll be pretty comfortable. I didn’t want to outright ask him if he was proposing because if he’s not it might upset him, though it would help me prepare a set time and spot if he did tell me.February 28, 2013 at 12:14 am #7393stefParticipant
The only real important shot is him presenting a ring and her reaction to it. Make sure you know if this is the plan and of course, don’t tell a soul. If it is the plan, make sure you’re ready for it… In other words, you have one job: To capture the proposal and reaction. Don’t fuck it up.February 28, 2013 at 8:30 am #7404cameraclickerParticipant
I didn’t want to outright ask him if he was proposing…
So ask him if there are any specific poses or backgrounds he wants. See what he says. You don’t want to be in the middle of changing cards when he decides to propose. Be prepared.February 28, 2013 at 10:31 am #7406kbeeParticipant
Agreed with the others. It’s better to ask him and risk a little awkward “Um, no” if that wasn’t his plan, than to walk into the situation trying to guess it and end up missing that special moment he wanted captured for their lifetime together.February 28, 2013 at 2:38 pm #7413
Thank you. That does make sense. I just didn’t know if it was proper etiquette to ask because it could make him feel pressured. If it is a proposal, I think I will ask him to give a sign (like cough) right before the moment.February 28, 2013 at 7:11 pm #7418octophotoParticipant
I’ve done this twice, and it is a littler nerve wracking for both you and the person popping the question . Both times, however, the person proposing let me know well before hand so I knew what to look for. There is nothing wrong with asking. If they’ve been together forever, it wouldn’t be a horrible question to ask, even if the answer is no. I would recommend a hand gesture, wink while she’s looking away, or a code word rather than a cough as a single, simply because it’s a little more clear.March 5, 2013 at 12:42 pm #7562FauxFightersParticipant
It might not be possible with your gear, but what would be really cool is to have a second camera or “backup” and take some shots, but really just have it sitting on a tripod and running a video of the actual moment itself. Depending on how smart or how much photographic knowledge the person has, and of course depending on the lighting situation, that could make for an even greater capturing of the event, both in stills and video to get the total reaction. Just a thought, but I have never done something like this myself. I did a shoot that the guy wanted posted as quick as possible because he proposed to her that evening, and they really didn’t have any shots together, so this was what they were using as “engagement” shots.March 5, 2013 at 3:37 pm #7565
That is an awesome idea FF. The only thing is, that may give away the surprise… I do have 3 camera bodies, two of which are video-capable, and since I’d be shooting with the 5DII I’d set up the Rebel T2i to shoot video. But like I said she’d know something was up if there was another camera mysteriously taking a live video… lol! Unless someone came along and hid in the bushes but that might be difficult. I hope he chooses me to do this, so far we have not set up a date. I think he may be shopping around for prices. I hope he didn’t think my prices were too expensive (there are a lot of “cheap” fauxtogs in my town and I hope he doesn’t go with someone like that because I’m sure they will not know what they are doing!) My prices are within the similar range of all the other small photographers in my town so it really is “you get what you pay for” around here.March 5, 2013 at 9:16 pm #7570cameraclickerParticipant
If you are chosen, you need a good cover story for the second camera. That story is that you were teaching a class the other week and expect to teach more classes in the future. Toward that end, you want to record yourself in action during the shoot. Since a T2i can shoot 15 to 20 minutes of video at a time, and can get about an hour onto a 16 GB card, once set up it should be fairly unobtrusive. Just remember to check it periodically to ensure it is recording at the important moment.March 6, 2013 at 3:43 pm #7587stefParticipant
If you set up recording, be sure to disable the auto-power-off, and record in 720p to significantly extend the time.
You won’t get any useable sound, though, unless you use a wireless lav mic hidden on the boyfriend.March 6, 2013 at 11:57 pm #7600
Cameraclicker, that is a good “cover story.” I could have a friend along to shoot the video and tell them that the friend is just there to tag along and record me doing a photo session so I can use it in a class, and this person can stay out of the way.
I’m definitely not technical when it comes to sound recording or anything video in general, but I think having even a basic, sound-less video of the moment will be an added bonus for the couple. 🙂
I did see the boyfriend at the store I work at today and he told me he needs to get back to me about dates, as they want to do this “photo session” once it warms up a little here. He did not go into any details however because he was shopping with his girlfriend’s dad (he works for his company). Once we touch base I will flat-out ask if this will be a proposal.
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