While pre-wedding and engagement photoshoots have been popular for a while, proposal photoshoots - in which the moment of proposal is captured on camera - are a rapidly growing phenomenon born of the social media age. And, not surprisingly, the Lake District in Cumbria is an increasingly popular place to propose. There are a number of different approaches to making sure you get the shots you want, each of which is described below:
A photographer can be commissioned to photograph and/or video your proposal 'paparazzi' style without your intended even being aware of the photos being taken! While this makes for a truly secret photoshoot that doesn't intrude in the moment, it does rely on choosing a suitable location with good lighting and somewhere for the photographer to hide nearby that won't compromise the resulting photos too much. It also means your fiance-to-be may have little chance to choose the way they will look in the pictures.
To overcome these potential issues with this approach, it's important to speak with your photographer about your chosen venue and determine the best spot for you to make your proposal. You might also plan with your fiance-to-be to eat at an up-market restaurant after you intend to make your proposal. That way they will be able to dress appropriately for the occasion without knowing you plan to propose before getting there! As the actual proposal usually only takes a few minutes, you might consider revealing the subterfuge after the event and then have a short engagement photoshoot while you have the photographer with you - before going on to celebrate at your chosen restaurant.
Hiding in plain sight
A variation on the paparazzi approach is to have the photographer 'hide in plain sight'. In situations where there isn't anywhere suitable to hide away within sight of your chosen spot to propose, it may be that your photographer can simply be in plain site pretending to be there for another reason - for example, as a tourist taking some photos of the setting. This can work really well somewhere like the Lake District where it isn't unusual to see landscape photographers taking photos. Once you begin to make your proposal, the photographer can then swing round to capture the moment. Although slightly more intrusive than the paparazzi approach, your partner probably won't even notice the photographs being taken as they will be so focused on you! And, of course, as with the paparazzi approach, there's the option of an engagement photoshoot immediately after the event.
Ask a stranger
Another approach is to have the photographer waiting at your chosen location and for you to ask them, as you might ask a stranger, to take your photo before going down on one knee to propose to your intended. This can work well where there is nowhere suitable for the photographer to hide and space is too limited for photos to be taken from a distance. Being up close and being asked to take a photograph, has the advantage of allowing the photographer greater control over composition and lighting than the previous approaches, but also shares some of the potential disadvantages of the paparazzi and hiding-in-plain-sight approaches, while being more intrusive in the moment. Once again, you can consider going on to have an engagement shoot after the proposal.
Finally, the approach taken in the video slideshow below with Matthew and Robyn, flips things on their head by having the photoshoot first before finishing with the proposal. In this case, Robyn knew she would be having a photoshoot and where it would be, thus allowing her to prepare for it. It also gave both Matthew and Robyn time to relax and to get used to being photographed before the actual proposal moment. In this case we had full control over the composition and lighting, and could be really close as Matthew proposed, leading to the best shots possible. Finally, after breaking open the champagne to celebrate, we were able to leave the happy couple to enjoy the moment and the rest of their day together without the need for an additional engagement photoshoot!
While it may not be for everyone, a proposal photoshoot does allow you to capture a very special moment to share with family and friends and keep forever. Alternatively, why not book an engagement photoshoot and return to the location where you proposed to get the shots you missed!
A Secret Proposal in the Lake District
The story of Matthew's surprise proposal to Robyn during a Lake District photoshoot at Orrest Head near Windermere in the Lake District.