Suggestions For Photographing A SURPRISE “Wedding Proposal”: I Only Had 10 sec to get the shot, did I FAIL?

Ideas For Photographing A SURPRISE “Wedding Proposal”: I Only Had ten sec to get the shot, did I FAIL?

Here are some guidelines for creating certain you get the shot for the duration of a proposal:

Download the RAW Files correct here

1. Make confident you show up early to scout the location
two. Take test photos to make certain your exposure is going to be spot on
3. Shoot RAW just in case aka Usually SHOOT RAW
4. Preserve VR or IS on if you are going to be shaking at all
5. Pre set your focus points to the top portion of the frame for shooting vertical
six. Never get distracted by men and women asking “if this is actual”
7. Shoot wide enough to capture both people in the photo

All I can say is be prepared due to the fact you have really little time to get the shot, it is more than before you know it.

I am aware that most wedding proposal are surprises by the way.

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From: Jared Polin



  1. Larry Jones

    Great overview of a very quick shoot. One thing to keep in mind that not everyone has a D5 or Pro camera and a large number of run of the mill cameras trying to shoot this in RAW would not make it as the buffer would prevent you from getting the number of shots you were able to fire off.

  2. Lachlan'sPhotos

    Hi everyone, If some of you could look at my Instagram @lachlantaylorphotography
    I am always looking to improve my work and would love some feedback 🙂

  3. First of all, good job on getting the shot that the couple wanted! Second of all, yes you should’ve moved to the right more to try to get the hands and the ring in the shot as well, but I guess that’s not that important as long as you got the girlfriend’s reaction.

    Third, I’m not spouting nonsense here, I had to do a similar idea of a surprise proposal, except that it was at the top of Mori tower in Roppongi, Tokyo (I live in Tokyo), it was at 9 pm (totally dark outside) and it was on Dec24th, (Christmas eve). So put all those 3 together and you can imagine the difficulty is more than tripled.

    The client was happy with the shots that I took because I also came with him the previous day to Mori tower and we talked about the location and where he will be kneeling down, as well as he wants in the background. Also, I was prepared with an off camera flash and I arrived at the location about 1 hr before him and his girlfriend to test the exposure and the flash and see what the best shot is. There were many people there because it was Christmas eve but I managed to get a few great photos of the client, including the kneeling down shot and the happy shots afterward.

    The reason why I wasn’t nervous is because I am a pro, like Jared also said. You know your camera and your lens and your flash, you come early in the day and scout the location and when the action happens you know what to do to make sure you get the best shot. That was my first and only surprise proposal shoot so far and it was a very memorable one!

    p.s. I also had a gopro on my camera, and gave the video of the proposal to the client free of charge as an extra bonus that he didn’t even expect.

    p.p.s. I was shooting with a Canon 5d mark3 in both RAw+JPG on two memory cards and I was using the 24-105mm f4 lens since I needed to be able to zoom in and out a bit to get different types of shots.

  4. You nailed it, but I’m still not a fan of your "boomification" editing. Some parts of a picture definitely look better with more contrast and clarity, but not the human skin or an already blurred background.

  5. Patrick Pereira

    This was such an informative video! I am capturing a surprise engagement tomorrow actually and this definitely helped. I do have a question: What aperture were you on? 2.8? I have a D750 and will be renting the Tamron 70-200 G2 for the shoot and I would like to know what setting you would recommend?

  6. I was asked by a friend to take proposal photos, and am sooooooo glad this video exists. The shared experience is priceless because it’s going to be in a park in a city as well. Thanks for an awesome video as always.

  7. Gregory Curtis

    First of all, great job Jared on the total success! Would’ve been nice to have gotten the ring like you said. But that’s in a perfect world. Dude this is gonna be me (as the photographer) tomorrow! I’ve been hired to shoot my buddy propose to his fiancé to be. I’m driving from Orange County, Cali to (Coronado Island )in San Diego. I am also meeting them in a park and I plan to get downtown SD across the bay in the background. Jared, I don’t know who’s more nervous me or my buddy haha. Got one chance, one short window. it’s make or break, do or die, now or never. I’m paralyzed and I’m in a wheelchair and I’ll be ducked off in the cut until he gives me the secret signal/pops the bottle of bubbly. When I see the champagne that’s my cue to roll over as fast as possible and be ready to shoot! Ahhhhh wish me luck!!

  8. David Gootyeriz

    100 Frames per minute fired in 6 to 9 round bursts and 4 to 5 seconds between bursts. Lens change every 10 minutes.

  9. Roberto Cortinas

    Great job !!! I agree, that pic of her jumping is probably the best shot but there are a few more that are going to be very special for this young couple and that’s what is all about it.

  10. Craig Christensen

    Great photos Jared, they made my wife cry those sappy tears and I think that’s what it’s all about. Not how much head space or what not completely blown out in the background. It’s the generation of an emotional response.

  11. William Kabelac

    Can you walk us through your thoughts in the moment? What was your focus point? Did you go Single point AF or Multi? Continuous AF? What was your aperture? How did you decide? Did you pre-plan the crop/composition? If so, what was your process? thanks…looking for the thought process you went through to ensure a great shot in the moment. Good work!

  12. Preston House

    Wow! You are correct. It seems like forever but it does go down quickly. I have a friend that asked me to do the very same for him a couple of years ago. I was so nervous! I caught a cramp in my neck I was so tense leading up to the moment. It all does happen so quickly.

  13. Would love to see the settings on the shots, any chance you could share those? They seem pretty basic, but zooming in I would love to know the settings especially as you are using the D5.


  14. Awesome work Jared. Yes, the pic you picked is also the one I would have chosen. I have the "little brother" to your D5 (D500) and it’s nice to see how you use the continuous settings. Thanks for the pointers.

  15. Dominic Ross

    This was an awesome video. I’m going to offer this as a service on my new website (if I may Jared?). I think it’s a great idea. Also an interesting insight in to your process. 👍🏻

  16. Craig Skinner

    This is genuinely my favourite video of yours – a great perspective on a super fast job and some great tips too! Fantastic job; and you got some really awesome shots out of it as well!

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