Surprise Proposal Photography

Planning Tips

Happy Tuesday! The holiday season is in full swing here in Cincinnati… YAY!!! As the holidays roll around, that means proposal season is about to take off (Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and Valentine’s Day are just around the corner).

A couple years ago, we had the pleasure of shooting our first surprise proposal and we LOVED LOVED LOVED it! There is nothing as exciting as a woman being taken by surprise. The time is fill with raw emotions and she has a smile that does not fade anytime soon!

After photographing a few proposals, we have a few tips that will help a Groom-To-Be ensure his future wife has this milestone captured! 

  1. Practice. Our first proposal was a huge learning experience. Nicole had met the Groom- to-Be at a local coffee shop, where they planned out how things were going to flow. The biggest flaw of this was, we didn’t nail down 100% where the event would take place. Newport of the Levee is a BIG space with a ton of great spots. Everything work out great, but we recommend meeting and determining the exact place you want to pop the big question. We can work out the logistics of actually capturing her reaction (and your reaction as well… hello 2 photographer advantage!) Plus… your nerves will be at a slight ease knowing everything will go off without any problems.
  2. Public Place. The idea of having a photographer capture this monumental event and capture the true reactions mean the photographer needs to be able to blend in. We recommend choosing a public place. Cameras = Attention… trust us on this one! If you choose a place that’s very private or secluded (without a place to hide), your soon to be fiancé is going to notice someone walking around with cameras. For example, if you want to propose at Devou Park choosing the spot that looks over the Cincinnati skyline would be more ideal than a walking trail. Photographers or people getting their photos done with the skyline in the background is very common which means a photographer will not stand out. Please don’t misunderstand us… the spot does not need to be filled with tons of people. If you want to choose a private or secluded place, just make sure there must be a spot that a photographer can hide out of sight but still be able to get the photos!
  3. Accept things may change. Ok… we know we just said “everything will go off without any problems” and yes that is the idea of doing a practice run. However, nothing wedding related goes off without any problems (it’s in your best interest to learn and accept that concept now!) Since you’ve done a practice run, we are aware of what your intentions are and will allow a photographer to adapt quickly if anything changes. Any wedding photographer has mastered the art of thinking on the fly! Relax… everything will be great even if it’s not perfect.
  4. Focus on her. Once the big day arrives… remember this is about your love and future together, not the photography (this is the photographers’ part to worry about)! Try to act as normal as possible, and yes it’s hard, we know (especially Ryan). Your job is to wow her and provider her with an epic story to share with her family and friends. Put a little extra effort into the event and we highly suggest giving her a reason to dress up (you’ll thank us later). Just remember, by the time you’re actually ready to pop the question all the hard work is done… you have a ring, a photographer, a game plan, and if you’re old school/traditional, you have permission from her father… now it’s time to put the icing on the cake and make it official!


Here is our only tip for the ladies who would love to have their proposal documented.

  1. Tell Him. As much as we would love it, guys cannot read our minds or know our wishes. Surprise Proposal photography is new and slowly becoming the “thing” to do! If your ideal proposal includes a photographer capturing the moment, let him know. He’s not a psychic and has a thousand other things going on through his mind! Hiring a photographer very well could NEVER cross his mind. Help him out! We’re pretty sure you’ve already hinted at the style of ring you love and your ring size… now just let him know that a photographer is just as important!


Getting engaged is the first step to a new phase of your life. Thankfully, it’s becoming socially acceptable to document and we love it! There is nothing like the immediate feelings right after choosing to spend the rest of your days with someone you love, respect and want to grow old with.


Happy Planning,

Nicole and Ryan

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