Are you interested in getting the perfect surprise proposal photograph? You’re in the right place!

As an NYC wedding photographer, I know what it takes to capture a truly unique surprise proposal that will leave your partner speechless. From beautiful backdrops to creative compositions, the memories of a surprise proposal are something that will last a lifetime.

I recently had the pleasure of photographing one such moment in beautiful Watch Hill, Rhode Island. Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, I captured an unforgettable moment between two people in love. That’s one day I’ll never forget!

If you’re looking to plan your own surprise proposal photographs, I have some great tips that will help make sure your day is perfect. Of course, having an experienced wedding photographer like myself to capture all those special moments is always beneficial.

For couples who want to get creative with their surprise proposals and ensure their photos turn out amazing, there are many options available. From Prospect Park to hidden woodland retreats – whatever you choose can be tailored to make sure it’s absolutely perfect for both of you.

Keep reading to learn all about surprise proposal photographs.

How to Plan a Surprise Proposal

Find the perfect location

A person on one knee proposing to their partner.

The first step in planning a surprise proposal is to find the perfect location. You want to pick a place that has a lot of meaning for both of you, whether it’s where you had your first date or your first kiss, or some other important memory. This isn’t just critical for making sure you have amazing photographs – it can also make the moment even more special and romantic!

You don’t need to pick anywhere too fancy – sometimes, the most beautiful and meaningful spots are right in your own backyard. No matter what type of location you decide on, make sure it truly reflects who you are as a couple and captures all those special memories you’ve shared together over these past years.

Chat with your photographer ahead of time

A black and white photo of a couple kissing.

Next, make sure you choose a photographer that has a style you vibe with, and chat with them ahead of time! Not only can your photographer help you plan a bit by scouting out the location and helping you figure out what time of day will be best for lighting, but they’ll also be able to work out exactly where they need to be in order to capture that moment when you drop down to one knee! 

Make sure you have a conversation with your photographer so that they can get an idea of exactly where they should be and at what time so that all the elements come together in a perfect way.

And if things go slightly off-plan, that’s totally okay; this is a surprise, after all. We’ll dive into that a bit more in the next point.

Have a “loose” idea of what you’d like to happen

A person kissing their partner's cheek as they sit on a bench.

No matter how much you try to account for everything, surprise proposals still potentially have the possibility of going slightly off-plan when it comes to the big day. Of course, you want to guide your partner to the right location at the right time, but it’s also important to have a loose idea of what you want to happen.

Keep in mind that unexpected and spontaneous moments make for some of the best memories and photos! It’s okay if your surprise isn’t perfect – just enjoy the moment with your partner. 

So, take the time to sit down and at least make a loose outline of what you want to do for your proposal. You could even get really fun with it (if you want) and include something like a flash mob, or even have your families both hiding on the sidelines if you really wanted to.

Choose a specific time

Couple standing with their arms around each other after a proposal.

No matter what time of day you decide to plan your surprise proposal, make sure it’s the right one! A sunrise proposal will give you a beautiful backdrop for photos with fewer people in the way. Maybe you make the entire proposal around catching the sunset, only for you to pop down on one knee.

You could also plan the proposal to be in the middle of the day, but depending on the time of year, you may have to keep in mind that the heat could play a factor. The evening is a great time to capture some breathtaking sunset photos. 

It’s all up to personal preference and how much atmosphere you want your surprise proposal to have. 

Check the weather in advance, if you can

Black and white photo of a couple hugging with a a bench in the background with letters on it that read "Marry Me".

Weather can be unpredictable, but it’s still a great idea to try and check the forecast for the day of your surprise proposal so you can plan accordingly. Rain or snow showers don’t have to be a deal-breaker when it comes to planning a perfect surprise proposal, though – these weather elements can add an extra layer of romance and fun that make the photos all the more memorable. 

Checking the weather in advance will help you prepare if there is rain or snow, but will also allow you to seize any unexpected opportunities for unique photo moments. Your photographer will also be checking the weather as the date gets closer, so don’t worry!

Pick your outfits wisely

A close up view of a couple cheersing with champagne glasses.

When it comes to picking outfits that will make your surprise proposal photos extra special, there are a few things to consider. For one, you can choose to go casual or formal – whatever fits the occasion best. Of course, you may have to come up with an excuse for dressing up if they don’t know about the proposal. It’s worth making sure both of you will be comfortable in whatever outfit you pick, though. 

If it’s cold out, then layers may be a good idea; if it’s hot, light fabrics might be more suited for the weather. Above all else, have fun with your wardrobe – wear something that makes you feel confident and happy for your special day. You’ll look back on these photos for the rest of your life.

Decide if you want your engagement shoot combined with the proposal

A couple walking along a beach holding hands as they look back over their shoulders.

For couples who want to make their surprise proposal extra special, why not combine it with an engagement photoshoot? Some couples do this, but it’s by no means required – you’ll get great proposal photos either way. 

However, it’s a great way to capture the moment in time that you got engaged, and it’ll add an extra layer of surprise and excitement for your partner. Plus, if your partner has any idea of what’s coming, you can always tell them that you’re going out for some unusual couple photos without giving away the secret.

I love doing these and all of my proposal packages include a mini engagement session right after you pop the question! 

Consider making a day of it

Close up view of an engagement ring on a person's finger.

If you want to go the extra mile with their proposal, why not turn it into a whole-day affair? A treasure hunt around your city or town leading up to the proposal can make the surprise all the more special, and you could even plan a day-long date ending in the proposal.

You could also make a game out of it by giving clues along the way that your partner has to figure out! With some careful planning and creative ideas, your proposal will be an unforgettable experience for both of you.

Surprise Proposal Photographs in Watch Hill, Rhode Island

The Location

A person holding their partner up as they kiss.

I was incredibly lucky to capture a surprise proposal at Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island. This seaside triple Five-Star resort features a spa and restaurant with a timeless atmosphere combining the beach with elegance. It’s no wonder that it was chosen as the perfect spot for this special moment!

If you’re a fan of Taylor Swift, then you’ll absolutely love this location. (Psst… if a TS song is your couple song, then this could also be a great location for you, too!) In the photos from this proposal, you’ll see a white house in the background. That’s Taylor Swift’s Holiday House – yes, that Holiday House that she sings about in The Last Great American Dynasty.

Meet The Couple

A couple holding hands and walking up a beach.

David chose Watch Hill as a surprise proposal location for his partner Alana. The two met in college and are such a beautiful couple. This spot was also a perfect choice because Alana is a huge Swiftie! 

How the Photos Turned Out

A couple with their arms around each other as they walk along a beach.

We were able to take pictures at a couple of different spots around Watch Hill during the proposal. He set up a beautiful path lined with white flowers that led to a bench with big letters on it that read “Marry Me”. It was such a beautiful location for a beautiful couple. 

After she said yes, the two were so excited and happy and you can see the joy and love on their faces as they embraced each other and shared some champagne. We got a couple of photos up by the proposal spot and then headed down to the beach to stroll along the water. 

There are a few sand banks with some tall glass that we stopped by before heading down the water’s edge. And of course, we made sure to take a few photos with Taylor Swift’s house in the background! 

Final Thoughts: Surprise Proposal Photoshoot

Surprise Proposals are full of emotion and special moments that can be captured with the right photographer. Whether you are looking for a photographer to capture your own surprise proposal or just photographs from this memorable experience, it’s important to ensure that you have someone who can help make the moment even more special. If you are looking for the perfect photographer to capture your own surprise proposal, you can reach out to me today and get started planning! I primarily shoot in the NYC and New England areas.

Check out these posts next:

Engagements, Proposals

Breathtaking Surprise Proposal Photographs in Watch Hill, Rhode Island

A person holding their partner up as they kiss.

July 28, 2023

I’m an NYC photographer who is more than a little obsessed with documenting your looking-good-feeling-even-better moments.

I’m Francesca!