Should You Hire a Photographer for a Surprise Proposal?

Ring? Check.

Perfect location? Check.

Super sneaky plan to propose in a way they’ll absolutely love? Check.

Butterflies in your stomach at the thought of pulling off the perfect proposal and not running the surprise before the big day comes? Check.

Deciding to marry the love of your life is huge – but I don’t need to tell you that! That moment is one you’ll remember forever, but the truth is that in all the excitement and anticipation, it can go by in a blur. That’s especially true for the one being proposed to, since they get caught up in the surprise! The absolute best way to preserve those memories, and to ensure a smooth, stress free popping of the question, is to hire a photographer for the proposal.

This guide will tell you all about why you should hire a photographer for your proposal, along with some tips for pulling off the surprise!

Reasons to Hire a Photographer for a Proposal

First, let’s talk about why you should hire a photographer for your proposal, and all the ways that I, as a professional third wheel, can help you pull this thing off.

Help You Plan the Proposal

My job doesn’t begin when I get there – I’ll work with you from the very beginning to plan the perfect proposal! We’ll start scheming and brainstorming how to make the experience absolutely magical for your partner, from thinking of the best place to pop the question (are you guys city folks, or are mountains more your thing?), ways to make sure they change out of their favorite sweatpants, and all the details that will make up your proposal story.

A Photographer Can Set Up for Your Proposal

When you’re proposing, you’ll likely be traveling a little to the perfect spot – driving to the park, walking on a trail, maybe going upstairs to a rooftop. And since it might be a little suspicious if you suddenly wanted to take separate cars or meet your partner there, you’ll need someone else to set up at the spot.

As the photographer, I’ll likely be at the location before you – so part of my job is to help you set up everything you need! Whether that means finding the spot with the best lighting, shooting you a text to let you know which table isn’t taken at the park, setting up a picnic, or whatever other surprise we’ve planned for your proposal.

Document the Moment! 

Of course, the most important reason to hire a photographer for a proposal is that you’ll get that moment documented! Popping the question is so unbelievably exciting, and this new chapter of your lives together deserves to be remembered. 

It’s so surprising how quickly memories fade – the details just slip away, and the only way to get that moment back is through your photos. Looking at the photos from your proposal will allow the two of you to relive those feelings all over again, and to really remember how it felt to know you were about to be engaged, ready to marry your best friend in the world.

I make sure to get the photos to you within 24 hours, because I know how exciting this is! You won’t have to wait to share them with your loved ones. You’ll also get a phone video right away – giving you something to watch and share immediately!

Sure, you can get a friend or a family member to snap some photos as you pop the question – but the truth is, hiring a professional photographer makes a huge difference. Someone with experience will be able to quickly capture every detail – the look on both of your faces, the moment before you ask, the moment right after, and it’ll really tell the entire story of the proposal! And of course, as a professional photographer, I’ve helped countless people pull off their proposal – which means I’m ready to help you plan and execute yours!

How Do You Hire a Photographer for a Proposal?

But wait, isn’t there a big camera pointed at your partner? Won’t that ruin the surprise?

The good news is it’s totally possible to hire a photographer, and keep the proposal a complete surprise until the question gets popped. There are two ways to pull this off, so you can decide which makes more sense for the two of you!

Have the Proposal Photographer Hide

The first way, and usually the less suspicious one for most couples, is to have your photographer hide at the location. Sometimes this might mean literally crouching behind a bush, but if you’re proposing in a public space, like a park or the rooftop of your building, it might just mean that they hang out and look inconspicuous. 

We’ll coordinate beforehand, so that we both know exactly when you’re going to propose. And luckily, professional camera lenses can zoom pretty far – so I don’t need to be right next to you to capture the moment!

Plan a Couple’s Photoshoot

Another way to plan a surprise proposal and have a photographer there is to tell your partner you’re doing a couple’s photoshoot – maybe as an anniversary gift. This one might depend on the two of you, because if they know you avoid being in front of the camera at all costs, it might be suspicious! But, if you’re the kind of couple who likes to take selfies and document your adventures together, this can be a great excuse for why there’s a photographer following you around.

If you decide to go this route, I’ll talk with you to coordinate how we’ll pull this off! Usually, we’ll walk around the location a bit, taking photos. Then, when we get to the spot where you wanted to pop the question, I’ll be ready to capture the surprise. Usually, we agree on a signal beforehand – and I ask the two of you to pose in a way where your partner’s back is turned to you, giving you time to get down on one knee and pull out the ring.

Then, they turn around, realize what’s happening, say “YES” and you get engaged!

Planning a Surprise Proposal?

If you’re getting ready to pop the question, I’m ready to help you make it happen.

We’ll talk about documenting that incredible moment, and work together to coordinate the perfect proposal. I’ve got your back the entire way, making sure the two of you get the perfect “we got engaged!” story.

Contact me, and let’s talk about your proposal!

Katelyn Dilworth

April 11, 2022

Katelyn Kristine is a Washington State based wedding, elopement, and senior photographer. She has a passion for storytelling and loves using words and pictures to bring memories back to life. 


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  1. Christine says:

    Yes yes yes, a couple should ALWAYS have a photographer for their proposal!

  2. Marcela says:

    hiring a professional surprise proposal photographer is such a great idea! I memorialize the moment and adding on a couples session afterward ensures you have photos to share in your announcement!

  3. Omg these are sooooo gorgeous! It is SUCH a good idea to hire a photographer for your proposal and so many people don’t think to do it and then regret it later when they don’t have any photos! I certainly will be hiring a photographer when I propose!

  4. Emma says:

    Yessss! I love this post!! Def hire a photog for your proposal! And your photos are just stunninggg.

  5. Sam says:

    I love everything about this! It’s easy to get caught up in the moment when a proposal happens and everyone wants big milestones to be documented. This is a perfect way to do it without the stress of doing it, to just take it all in!

  6. Rita says:

    YES YES YES Always! It’s such a huge moment and so important, why wouldn’t you want to capture it:))) I love capturing proposals, the emotion of the surprise, the thrill of the planning and secret up to the photoshoot :))) so exciting both for me the photographer and the person planning LOL

  7. Andrea says:

    What dreamy locations for these proposals! And the tones! Love the editing. These are such great tips for couples!

  8. Alexandria says:

    Such great advice for anyone looking to propose to their special someone! We just happened to have someone at our engagement who just happened to understand my camera so we got some good images. Don’t rely on “just happen” follow this advice!

  9. Shauna Ward says:

    Yes, absolutely! Couldn’t agree more! Great article.