I had the opportunity to photograph not one, but two surprise proposals within a month of each other at the Italian restaurant, Palma, in New York City during the winter. It’s easily become my most frequented vendor since I’m there at least once a year.
Both proposers had planned to pop the question to their significant others at this romantic and intimate setting, and as the photographer, I was able to capture the emotion and joy of these special moments! The way these clients found me is a testament to putting yourself and your work out there. One client was referred to me by the venue itself, and another found me from my Youtube Shorts!
Photographing surprise proposals, especially at a restaurant, can be a bit of a challenge. Low light conditions can make it difficult to get the right exposure and focus, but with a bit of planning and knowledge of camera technicals, it is definitely possible to get beautiful and memorable photos!
One tip I would recommend is to plan a walkthrough a few days before with the proposer so they know what to expect, and you know where to prop up. On the day of the proposal arrive early to set up, and make sure your camera settings are adjusted to the lighting. What’s great about photographing at Palma is that they work with you and can brighten the scene if it’s too dim without ruining the ambiance. I like to position myself behind the cashier’s bar where I can get a good view of the couple but still remain out of sight as much as possible.
Knowing how to use artificial light like a hot-shoe flash is important because many times afterward for formal pictures it lights up the room better. I’ll even suggest to the client to re-take “the photo” in order to get the perfect shot! Tip: don’t be afraid to suggest a reshoot after the moment passes. Clients only care about getting the shot so they can share it with their friends and family.
Despite the lighting challenges, photographing surprise proposals at Palma in NYC multiple times within a year was a fun experience. Each time I went back I felt more at ease knowing which angles to shoot. The emotions of the couples and the joy on their faces as they said “yes” made all the hard work worth it! Bringing a
If you are planning a surprise proposal in NYC and are in need of a photographer, don’t hesitate to reach out! Capturing these special moments and being a part of such a memorable occasion is truly a privilege and one that I am always happy to be a part of.
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