Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) !

What are good questions to ask a proposal photographer?2023-02-02T14:42:53-05:00

How experienced are they with proposal photography?

Your proposal is the biggest, nervy moment of your life, and you should only trust people who can demonstrate a solid portfolio of proposal photography. There are no do-overs.

You can check out samples of my proposal photoshoots

Will they help with the planning and offer you advice?

This type of photoshoot can only be successful with a detailed plan, if your photographer will not create a clear plan for you…run a mile!

For my clients, I assist with selecting the location, and then I provide annotated maps and drone videos to ensure they arrive at the spot where I am waiting.

Francisco and CJ’s backstory illustrates the planning for a proposal.

Do they provide a timeline?

The photographer has to be prepared to arrive early and wait if the couple is late. In a surprise proposal, there are three involved parties; one does not know there is a schedule, which means that the photographer has to be patient.

Francesco’s Surprise Proposal to CJ at the Castle Hill Inn, Newport, RI

How do I choose a proposal place?2023-02-02T14:16:00-05:00

Many of my clients are from out-of-state, and some have a clear idea about where they want to propose, but most ask for input from me, as I am the local guy on the ground with the local knowledge they do not have.

I have written an article entitled ‘Best Places to propose in Rhode Island.

The blog article lists the pros and cons of each proposal spot with links to proposal photoshoots at each location. Many clients select their location based on the example photoshoots.

For others, it is more personal:

  • The place where you first met
  • That special place for your first date
  • Where you first fell in love
  • A romantic location personal to you
  • At home, because that would be a surprise
  • A family gathering, what better than to share with the one you love

Whatever you decide, if you would like your magical moment memorialized, reach out, and we can put a plan together or simply discuss the pros and cons of different Rhode Island locations.

a man is on his knee to proposal for a surprise proposal at beavertail lighthouse

What are the do’s and don’ts of a proposal?2023-02-02T13:53:38-05:00

Great question! And while there are many factors to consider, such as the spot of the proposal, the time of day, the weather, traffic, and keeping it away from family and friends who may leak the surprise! Lots to consider, but there is one aspect of a surprise proposal, and this is your behavior pattern, “do not do anything different on the day of the proposal.”

If you always go to the beach wearing flip-flops, do not wear dress shoes on the day of the proposal; if you always wear jeans to lunch, do not wear dress pants. Get the picture; no giveaways with your behavior!

In my experience, in upwards of 80% of couples, a proposal was anticipated at some time, mostly sometime in the future or even during a weekend getaway to Newport. The proposal will still be a surprise if your partner does not know when it will happen, regardless of where and when.

So, the #1 thing you must do to pull off a surprise proposal is DO NOTHING DIFFERENT!

Only two of the many couples I have photographed figured out where and when the proposal would happen. I asked one lady who knew it would happen but played along nicely how she knew, and she replied, “he booked a table for lunch; he never makes reservations.”


seans proposal at the castle hill lighthouse

What should be included in proposal photography?2023-02-02T10:23:42-05:00

There are two important elements to a surprise proposal photoshoot.

The Proposal

It takes bunch of planning but the goal is to capture the moment that can never be relived when you partner said yes. There may be tears of joy, there may be laughter and there may be shock but whatever the emotion your photographer should capture that.
Max's Surprise Proposal to Melissa at the Castle Hill Lighthouse, Newport

The Mini-Engagement Shoot

Once the emotion of the proposal has subsided -a little – your photoshoot should include detail photos of the rings and couple photography; and any specific image that you would like.

engagement proposal at the castle hill lighthouse

How far in advance should you book a photographer for a proposal?2023-02-02T10:25:30-05:00

That is like asking how long is a piece of string; there is no specific answer.

Most of my clients book me within two weeks of the proposal; many books within a few days and have the outlier who books months in advance.

During the busy seasons of Spring, Summer, and Fall, Summer is the busiest. During the Summer months, I find myself turning down two to three shoots for every one that I book due to me already being booked for a proposal shoot.

My advice is to book as soon as possible, especially during summer, to avoid disappointment.

andrea's surprise proposal to nathalie at the castle hill inn

How do you secretly take pictures in a proposal?2023-02-02T10:45:11-05:00

This is a great question, and the answer is it varies.

Sometimes, I can hide in a crowd, but in many cases, I have to hide in plain sight. To hide in plain sight, I sometimes pose as a tourist photographing attractions while watching my couples out of the corner of my eye or as a nature photographer photographing wildlife or nature, depending on the situation.

Beaches can be challenging; in several instances, I have walked up to family groups, quickly told them what I was doing, and then asked if I could hang out with therefor a few minutes. The answer is always yes, as they become very excited at being able to witness a proposal. My camera is hidden in a yellow sports bag to ensure I do not look like a photographer. I only pull my camera out once I see a knee dropping.

One of my favorite stories was from when I was photographing a couple in a holiday park in Matunuck, Rhode Island. There was no place to hide or hide in plain sight because I looked completely out of place, and one of the residents began paying me a lot of attention. She lived in the home across the street from my target; I walked over to her and told her my plan. She was superb, she invited me to join her on the deck, poured me a glass of wine, and we chatted until my couple walked out of the house, and I set to work.

There is no set answer; I go in with a plan but often have to call an audible based on the circumstances at the time of the proposal.

man on his knee for a surprise engagementl on misquamicut beach, ri

How much should you spend on a proposal photoshoot?2023-02-01T16:45:20-05:00

A question that is often asked but as the provider of the service  it is really not up to me to answer.

The proposal services that I offer go well beyond taking the photographs, I will:

  • assist you to select the perfect proposal spot
  • prepare a set of maps and directions to get to to the spot (the majority of my clients are from out of state and I have gotten very good at variegating strangers to a specific spot at a specific time)
  • arrive 30 minutes early at the spot and will call an audible if some thing is wrong with the selected spot (the arrival of a bus load of tourists, the arrival of a large wedding part are a couple of incidents where we had to make a lot minute call)
  • provide you with several photos within a few hours of the shoot, typically
  • provide you with all photos within 24 hours, typically

So, how much?  My rates typically range between $275 and $325 which I believe is excellent value for the services rendered.

See the current proposal photoshoot pricing

General FAQs

Without doubt it is Canon’s EF 85mm f/1.2

A beautiful portraiture lens and one which is at home in very low light.

After a shoot all photos are imported into Adobe Lightroom and are renamed per the shoot. I have multiple Lightroom catalogs for different categories of shoots.


  • For basic work, I use Adobe Lightroom because it is very easy to make changes in bulk.
  • For individual images beyond what I will do in Lightroom, I use Luminar which is set up as a Lightroom Plug-in
  • For detailed photo editing/manipulation, I use Adobe Photoshop
  • For black and white conversions, I use Silver-FX Pro.

With  many hundreds of thousands of images taken, this is a very difficult question, but this image of Morgen pops, the mood of the image – the shadows and the color and the fact that I used a single strobe. In fact, the entire shoot was based around using one light.

Boudoir Photography

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