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The Best Way to Propose From a Photographer’s Perspective

Planning a proposal is almost as important as planning your dream wedding. Most people envision that special moment as being one they will never forget. Whether you want a big show or something private and meaningful for them, it will take some thinking, scheming, and smart planning, especially if you want a photographer to capture the big moment. To help you on your journey, I have several tips and ideas for the best way to propose from a photographer’s perspective.

The Perfect Proposal Plan

Like other big events in your life, plans matter! If you want to have a photographer on-site or wait nearby for the big event, you must create a plan to stick to. Whether you plan to propose over a romantic dinner, in front of a fantastic waterfall in the Great Smoky Mountains, or other creative marriage proposal ideas your partner will enjoy, all the details must be considered. For instance, you wouldn’t want to plan an outdoor excursion in the Smoky Mountains during the rainy season.

Most of all, if you plan to have a photographer available, you must be able to communicate your plans to them. This also means being able to easily contact them if your plans need to be changed, which can be difficult if cell service is questionable and you’re making last-minute adjustments.

perfect proposal idea

4 Things to Consider When Creating Your Plan

There are many tips and ideas for pulling off your romantic proposal idea. Here are just a few things that you may want to keep in mind during the planning process.

1. Keep Proposals Simple

Although elaborate marriage proposals are becoming popular, there’s something to be said for keeping it simple. Simple proposal ideas like proposing at your favorite restaurant, a picnic, or while on a hike are all easier to plan than proposing while skydiving or something equally extreme.

2. Choose Your Date

As photographers, we live by our calendar. Your photographer must know the date and time you’re planning a proposal event, and we need to know it in advance. It is the most important piece of the puzzle.

3. Location Matters

Location is important if you want to pull off the perfect surprise proposal. This may be the hardest part for you. Whether you choose a meaningful location or not, it must be something your partner will not suspect as being where you want to ask the question. Luckily, if your proposal takes place in or around Knoxville, there are many fantastic places for it to happen.

4. Gather Ideas and Inspiration

The best romantic way to propose is to take a little time to consider the things important to you two as a couple and your partner as a person. If your partner doesn’t enjoy being in nature, why would you propose to them in that environment? A quiet, delicious dinner would be better. Contrarily, if you two enjoy hiking through the mountains, a proposal on a mountaintop could be ideal.

Above all, you know your partner better than anyone else will ever know them. When planning a proposal, your priority should be showing how well you know them. After all, it is a plan you’re devising to bring them joy as you begin the next phase of your relationship.

best proposal ideas from a photographer's perspective

Prioritize Lighting

If you want the proposal photographed, consider the time of day and the situation. Bright sunlight or bright white lighting can make your photographs, even those taken by a professional, look harsh. Golden hour will work best for soft, romantic keepsake photos.

Propose in an Intimate Setting

When you choose a more private and intimate setting for your private proposal, you create a personal and meaningful moment between you and your partner. Selecting a secluded or intimate location ensures you and your partner have privacy during this special moment. It allows you to express your feelings openly without the potential distractions or interruptions that can occur in more public spaces.

Further, proposing in front of a crowd can be intimidating. Being in a private setting can alleviate the pressure and nervousness that may arise when there are onlookers. It allows you to focus solely on your partner and the moment. Also, when no onlookers exist, you and your partner can freely express your genuine emotions without self-consciousness. This can lead to a more authentic and heartfelt experience, allowing you both to be your true selves.

Creative Marriage Proposal Ideas

Here are some simple wedding proposal ideas that can create a memorable and heartfelt moment for you and your partner. Oh, and bonus points if there is a place for a photographer to take photos!

  1. Picnic Proposal: Plan a romantic picnic in a beautiful or scenic park. Pack your partner’s favorite foods, bring a cozy blanket, and set the mood with soft music. As you enjoy the picnic together, surprise your partner by getting down on one knee and proposing.
  2. Ice-Cream Date: An ice cream date proposal can be a sweet and delightful way to pop the question. Pick a charming ice cream parlor or a favorite local ice cream shop as the setting for your date. Look for a place that holds significance for both of you or has a cozy and romantic ambiance.
  3. Nature Hike Proposal: If you and your partner enjoy outdoor activities, plan a hike in a scenic location. Choose a spot with a breathtaking view or a serene waterfall. Take a break during the hike, find a quiet spot, and propose amidst the beauty of nature.
  4. Memory Lane Proposal: Take your partner down memory lane by revisiting significant places from your relationship. Start at the location of your first date and visit places where you shared special moments. End the journey at a place where you can propose, highlighting the significance of your journey together.
  5. Bookstore Proposal: If your partner is an avid reader, consider proposing in a bookstore or library. Choose a quiet corner or a favorite section of the store. Maybe find a book with a hidden engagement ring inside. Ask your partner to look at the book, and when they find the ring, get down on one knee and propose.
oh so romantic proposal idea in Knoxville

Consider Taking Engagement Photos at Another Time

Not all proposal photographs must be taken when you ask that ultimate question. Many clients say that the best way to propose is to ask first. Then have their memories captured when they aren’t so nervous or when their partner isn’t crying. Further, it allows your partner to be involved in some decisions. It allows them to dress up and select a photography location without spoiling your surprise.

Propose Last

Consider this idea if you propose and want to capture a few engagement photos immediately afterward — propose last. Book a photography session and then ask, “Will you marry me?” as the photo session wraps up. This could be ideal if you’ve been discussing a photography session with your partner or have another family event you want to photograph. You will already be dressed in your best, and having a camera nearby won’t distract you or be a surprise spoiler for your partner.

Some other simple proposal ideas could include:

  • Christmas Proposal: A proposal for marriage during the holidays can be magical and memorable. This is also a great way to celebrate the holiday with family and friends. The idea is that the last gift opened includes the engagement ring.
  • Family Vacation: A family vacation proposal can be a heartwarming and memorable way to include your loved ones. Select a destination that holds significance for your family. You can also choose a place that everyone has been looking forward to visiting together. Hire a photographer for family photos during the week, and propose at the end of the session.
  • Graduation Photos: Select a location that holds significance for both of you or represents your educational journey. It could be your college campus or a location that played a significant role in your academic years. Consider places with beautiful scenery or meaningful architecture. After graduation photos are complete, get down on one knee!
  • Surprise Party: Everyone loves a good surprise birthday party! Why not add another memorable moment to the day and ask your partner to marry you too? That ring box would make a great present.
  • New Year’s Eve: Ringing in the New Year is always fun! While that special song plays at midnight, take your special person’s hand and put a ring on it! Ringing in the New Year with a ring sounds great!

There is no limit to the possibilities here. You can make the event anything you want to make it. It can be something you keep completely to yourself, or you can let others know it will come at the end of the day. You get to choose. It simply depends on your chosen date and your big proposal plan.  

simple proposal idea from a photographer's perspective

Final Thoughts

There is no right or wrong way to propose. You can do things ahead of time to make it easier. The more focused you are on the details, the more memorable it will be for your partner.

At Erin Morrison Photography, we want you to have a sentimental and well-thought-out proposal scheme. We will do our part to help you make it come true and then take fabulous photographs of you to help you share the news with your family and friends.

If you’re planning to propose and you want photographs to cherish always, Erin Morrison Photography can help you plan and pull off a picturesque event. All you have to do is contact me once you’ve set your romantic plans in motion. 


Natural light + honest photographer for all humans.


Knoxville, Tennessee



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