I had a full-circle moment photographing a surprise proposal at the Palma restaurant NYC! Back in the summer, I photographed one of my first engagement parties at this popular West Village restaurant. The difference between then and now was that I had gained some more experience under my belt, and the proposal was at night where low light was a big challenge.
Disclosure: Some links may be affiliate links. This means that I may earn a small commission if you decide to buy (at no additional cost to you).
The proposal took place on the first floor where the staff sectioned off one of their main rooms to make it private for the occasion. The Palma staff were very accomodating to me while I was getting my camera gear ready. While I had arrived early to set up with the proper settings, it was still an adrenaline-packed moment to make sure nothing was missed. Check out my recap Instagram Reel below to show where I was hiding the capture the moment.
I knew going into this photoshoot that low light was going to be a challenge. Prior to my client signing with me, I had made him aware of the difference between what the pictures would look like with and without flash. Initially, I was going to use flash, but after thinking it over and talking with fellow photographers I realized that would be a horrible distraction.
Surprisingly, during the walkthrough the day before the proposal, my client was leaning more towards having flash but after showing him it would essentially feel like paparazzi was behind him he deferred to my professional assessment. In an instance like this, I asked the staff to turn up their lights while still maintaining the romantic ambiance. They also added a bunch of candles all around the room which helped. Venues like Palma NYC are accustomed to proposals and weddings so they are very easy to work with. Even with the added light, I still had to pump the ISO up to 5000, and it was hard to get sharp pictures during the actual proposal since the aperture was opened to f/2.8.
After giving my clients a few minutes to soak up their newly engaged status, I set up my Godox TT685S Thinklite TTL Flash and asked if we could take some reenactment pictures in addition to the engagement photoshoot. As a professional, it’s completely ok to ask your client for a reenactment. Your most important duty is to be able to deliver the best pictures. I would much rather ask something like this then deliver pictures I’m not happy with. The clients were more than happy to do it! You’re also able to kill two birds with one stone when it comes to directing poses for the photoshoot portion since they already know what to do.
One of the key features and draws of using a Sony mirrorless camera is its low light ability, but personally, I really dislike seeing ANY grain. What ended up saving every low light picture to look as natural as possible was a plugin, Topaz Labs DeNoise AI, that I previously purchased for times like these and have talked about. If you look at the pictures of the interior and table decorations you can’t even tell how much editing went into them. You can’t even tell the difference between the pictures with flash!
Pin this post!