How to Plan a Proposal: A Photographer's Point of View

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Guest post + photos by the lovely Raven Shutley of You Are Raven.

Let's say you're seeing/dating/with someone you think is pretty rad. You've discussed a future together, marriage, are on the same page about oh-so-many things, and you feel the time is right to get married. Woohoo! Congratulations, first and foremost! But...now what? Where to even start with planning a proposal? How does one plan a proposal?

Let's start here, with the initial brainstorming and planning. I'll assume at this point you know your partner pretty damn well, so let's walk through a couple of easy questions to help shoot some laser focus on the options. Pew pew!

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Is your partner a private or public person? Do they like attention or prefer privacy? How do they feel about showing emotion in front of people? {And for that matter, how do YOU feel about these things?}

Where would you feel comfortable popping the question? A quiet night at home alone or with the furbabies or out in the city with a grand gesture?

Is there a location that's special to the two of you? Somewhere that holds a lot of meaning? Somewhere you met or had your first date or realized you were in love?

Try not to overthink this part: there's no wrong way! What's important is that whatever you want to say comes from the heart. You don't even have to say anything, honestly. If you're concerned about getting choked up or too nervous or shy to speak, you can let a little note do the work for you! Honestly, it's likely that both of you will be so excited that you'll forget what was said anyway!

All that matters, in the end, is that you've presented the idea of marriage to your partner in a way that feels right for the two of you.

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This might be the time to consider having a photographer hang out nearby to take photos during these moments. I adore proposal photography and sneaking around like a super spy trying not to be seen or found out while capturing the emotions in real time is a HELL of a lot of fun! Whether you hire someone to photograph your proposal or have a friend come along with their phone, you're sure to treasure those photos later.

I will say, there are some benefits to hiring a professional for proposal photography, though. Hiring a photographer, who will typically be a stranger, often means the whole event is slightly easier since the person being proposed to won't recognize the photographer. But if you have a friend come along, you'll want a reason for their presence, which can complicate things. PLUS if you bring a third party with you to hang out nearby, the moment won't feel as intimate.

If you're still feeling undue pressure or can't figure out a way to make the plan make sense with someone there to capture the proposal, don't sweat it! It's going to be an amazing and emotional moment for you two regardless of if you have images to look back on or not.

All that’s left to do is propose — and have fun!

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Raven Shutley is a wedding a portrait photographer based in Atlanta, GA. She is a polyamorous, intersectional feminist who believes in magic, loves Renn Faires and cosplay, and above all else believes in love and equality. You can find her work at You Are Raven and can follow her on Instagram @YouAreRaven.