Posted at 11:00 AM on September 21, 2007
by Sanden Totten
There are some moments you'll want to remember forever. So why rely on less-than-perfect memory to store the incident? Get the paparazzi to help!
The NY Times had a piece about a new trend in marriage proposals. Suave grooms-to-be aren't just hiding the ring in a champagne glass . . they're hiding photographers around the restaurant to snap pictures the exact moment the ring comes out.
The article says that these days people have the assumption that every moment in their life, from the beautiful to the banal, should be snapped and shared. One of the women in the article said that the thought of a strange photographer following her around and snapping secret pictures creeped her out. But as soon as she actually got the pictures she had no problem sending them on to friends, family and probably posting them on Flickr and Facebook for anyone to see. How's that for a double standard?
The guys justify the whole ordeal by saying that capturing the look on their loved one's face at that special moment is worth it. Of course, if your lady-friend is less than thrilled at the idea of marrying you . . . that may be a moment you'd sooner forget. Either way, you still have to pay the photographer.
As a professional photographer I've been hired on two different occasions to capture a surprise wedding proposal on film -- once by the groom-to-be and once by the bride-to-be. Yes! Women propose sometimes :-) Both were very romantic scenarios, the images of which I'm sure will be treasured for many years, and even generations, to come. Some people create their lives as works of art. Why wouldn't they want pictures?
How many people play their own photographer? I did. It wasn't long after I proposed (and she accepted) that I turned the digital camera around and snapped our two smiling faces.
I figured we'd want to remember the happy times. (Just kidding, dear.)
How different is it to have someone else there to capture the moment? I'm not sure I'd have been comfortable with it.
I also wonder about proposals that get declined. Does the photog still get paid? Does anybody keep those images?
Did you have to hide in the surroundings before the big question? What kind of ninja skills did you employ? Stealth, camouflage or lightning fast shutter speeds?
Were the proposers always confident that their request would be accepted?
In both cases all parties knew that I had been hired ahead of time to do a "portrait" of some kind. My on-location style of photography is a cross between fine art and photo-journalism. My images tell stories which lends itself well to this sort of thing.
My first experience was when a gentleman booked a portrait session at the scene of the couple's first date, Nicollet Island Inn and walking the trails by the stone arch bridge in Minneapolis. Then, the woman phoned me, unbeknownst to him, to tell me she was going to propose to him at the shoot. She had two swan-shaped creme puffs made and I knew when they were delivered the time was near. It was very sweet and beautiful and there wasn't a dry eye in the house when he said "Yes!"
In the second case I was shooting a holiday portrait for a family with two grown sons at their home. One son brought his girlfriend and he took me aside on the sly to tell me he wanted to propose marriage to her and would I help him plan it out. So SWEET :-) I called his girlfriend in to be included in the next group shot and he dropped to his knee and pulled the ring out of his pocket. I was the only one who knew and it's a great photo!
I feel honored to have participated in the beautiful and romantic events!
Wow, those are sweet stories. It's kinda cool that you were the only one who knew what was about to happen.
I hope the photos turned out well!
These stories are wonderful and having them caught on film is "priceless".. As being witness to one of these wonderful photo ops for a proposal was absolutely wonderful. As a wedding coordinator many times I ask couples how they met or how the propoasl played out. All the planning and scheming I hear of is wonderful, but seldom is it caught on film....properly. (cell phones don't count neither do rushed digitals) Having those precious moments on film captures a moment that can NEVER be relived.
Most of all a good photographer can help make things perfect being a grounded personality in the situation when all the emotion is flowing.