Engagement Photography


April 8, 2024

Surprise Beach Proposal

Ready to pop the question? Here’s how to do it AND capture great photos in Hawaii!

You’re heading off to Hawaii, and you’re dying to propose, but you’re just not sure how to do it. After having photographed many surprise proposals, let me tell you exactly what to do!

First, pick the ring. (Okay, this one goes without saying, but without it, it’s a bit hard to propose)! If you can find out what she wants and then buy it without her knowledge, that’s ideal. Then, plan a trip (I’m basked in Kona, Hawaii and it’s amazing here!).

Once you’ve picked where you’re going, look for a photographer in that area. Why is this step two and not four? Shouldn’t you pick a time and location first? You can absolutely do that, but your photographer will be able to advise you regarding the best location, time of day and method for your surprise proposal from a photography perspective, taking into account things that you may not think about such as sunset time, lighting, etc.

For some grooms-to-be, there is a worry about how to *actually* propose. If you’re in a place without family and friends around, how do you document this momentous occasion? The answer is planning a photo shoot! Tell your partner that you would like to surprise her with a photo shoot in Hawaii, and let her in on that much of the secret. The reason this is a good idea is that she will be able to prepare! She’ll make sure her clothing, hair and makeup is looking on point (later she’ll be so glad she was feeling beautiful and confident in that moment, since it will be captured in the images).

Once you have your shoot booked, then you and I (the photographer) can discuss some ideas about how to actually propose. Here’s a sample scenario: I meet the groom-to-be in the lobby of the resort and we talk a little bit about the plan while the girl is still getting ready. If you want me to hold the ring box, I can tuck it away in my backpack (or you may want to keep the ring itself in your pocket). I usually tell the groom-to-be that I will put the two of you in a back-to-back pose, and that is the signal that it’s almost time. I will approach the two of you, hand over the ring box while her back is turned, ask the guy to take a couple of steps away for a photo, (the signal to get down on one knee), and then I’ll step back and ask the girl to turn around, my camera raised and ready.

And there is our moment! She gasps with joy and says yes. The magical surprise is captured forever. The joy, the emotion, the LOVE is just pouring out. That kind of energy is amazing in your photos, and you’ll never forget how you felt in that moment.

In my opinion, it’s the best of everything. A proposal and engagement session captured in just one hour, while you’re both looking amazing, on a tropical beach in Hawaii! You’ll be able to announce your engagement right away, the next day if you want, instead of waiting for weeks or months to schedule a professional photo shoot back home for your announcement.

If you have family or friends with you, they can join in the celebration, but a surprise proposal is about the two of you and your love. Sound like something you’d like to plan? Let me know, and I can help!

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Capturing beauty and connecting with people brings me joy. A camera lets me do both!

I picked up a camera and the rest is history. I fell in love. The art of photography, the ability to connect with people, and the chance to do what I adore all inspire me. You can feel it when you're with me. Photography has been such a blessing in my life, and I want to pass that blessing on to you.


© laura pittman, 2024