I have known Liam and his family for approximately 20 years; I was extremely honored that he would ask me to capture the intimacy of his surprise proposal to Kasey.

We had a long chat to discuss his proposal plans, and it was very much like catching up with an old friend.

Liam selected my favorite location; outstanding! The proposal would be at Beavertail State Park. We would have the ocean, spectacular rocky shoreline, grassy parks, and a lighthouse; what a great canvas. A perfect choice because I truly believe it is one of the most beautiful, accessible, and less crowded parts of Rhode Island.

Liam’s proposal was scheduled for Friday evening; earlier in the week, I photographed Brandon and Scarlet’s surprise proposal at Beavertail, which permitted me to share that photoshoot with Liam to let him know what he could expect. I also sent a schematic to indicate what photograph was taken at what part of Beavertail to permit Liam to consider his options. We arranged to finalize the details via telephone the day prior.

During our discussion, Liam selected a location, and I advised against it because of the time of day – 5 pm. Beavertail runs North to South, and at 5 pm, the sun would be in the west, and his preferred location meant I would be shooting directly into the sun. While this is great for creative photography, it is not great for what Liam had planned. However, he is the client, and I will do whatever he wants. To assist him in his thinking, I sent a photo that I had taken at the same spot and at the same time. My subject was perfectly exposed in this photo, but the ocean and the sky were blown out.

I recommended the island’s Newport side (East), where the evening sun would illuminate Liam and Kasey. Liam agreed, and I suggested a spot and sent him a map on how to access it.

My plan was simple after they parked, I would follow them, at a distance, as they walked around the lighthouse. I would hide behind the lighthouse until Liam and Kasey got situated.

find my phone On the day of the shoot, Liam and I shared each other’s location using our iPhones. In this way, we could keep tabs on each other. Although I could recognize Liam, I asked for a selfie of them both which would allow me to recognize them at a distance by their clothing, and this he did.

I sent Liam a text to let him know that my ETA was 4:30 pm, 30 minutes before our agreed time of 5 pm. When I parked, Liam sent me a text pushing the time back to 5:30 pm. Well, there are worse places to hang out than Beavertail State Park on a beautiful evening.

I parked in a position that allowed me to monitor the arrival of all cars.

Liam had a grand plan for the day to cloak the proposal. This plan involved going to several spots that were important to them both, giving Kasey a card before arriving at Beavertail, and presenting Kasey with the final card of the day, at which point he would drop to one knee.

While waiting on their arrival, I monitored their progress via GPS on my phone; their ETA was 5:35 pm. As I followed the blue dot and watched it enter Beavertail, I looked up and saw the white Suburu.

Game on!

From where they were parked, they would have to walk behind my truck, and because the park was pretty empty, I opted to remain in my truck until they were well on their way to the lighthouse.

I stepped out of my truck and was on the other side of the loving couple, put on my backpack, and adjusted the exposure settings on my camera – Canon EOS 1DX fitted with a 70mm to 200mm f/2.8 lens. I put the camera in my yellow sports bag and followed Kasey and Liam, about 70 yards behind them. They stopped at the lighthouse, and I stopped, sat on the fence, and looked over the water. When they moved, I moved. I waited a minute, rounded the corner, hid behind a bush, discarded my bag, picked up my camera, and waited. As they engaged each other playfully, I took a couple of candids without giving my position away.

As Liam presented Kasey with the final card of the day, he picked up the ring box and held it with both hands behind his back. He then dropped to his knee, and when Kasey realized what was happening, she was overcome with joy, tearful, and so very happy.

This was a surprise proposal!

It was pretty awesome to witness and document.

If you would like to learn more about surprise proposal photoshoots, pop-over to the Proposal/Engagement web page for details on pricing and lots of information for planning the perfect surprise proposal.


After photographing many, many, surprise proposals…

Never do anything different. A behaviour change will give the game away!