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sssettlejr
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Proposal Photography


I was asked to take some pictures of a friend's proposal, but I usually don't do this type of photography so could anyone give me some tips.

It will be at night in a dark area (on a beach on the west side of the island). The city is in the background across the inlet. I was thinking about setting up some tiki torches to make the area brighter, but I don't think it will do much. I will probably need to use flash, but I haven't invested in a external flash. Will the D7100 flash be alright?



Apr 10, 2014 at 12:59 PM
AtelierPhoto
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Proposal Photography


Are you supposed to be doing this discretely, or will you be "tagging along"?

And night as in well after sunset, or shortly after?

More info is needed for better advice.



Apr 10, 2014 at 02:35 PM
Nikon_14
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Proposal Photography


No pop-up flash will produce anything close to desirable results.

Beyond that, it's really a matter of deciding between:
1)
Being "stealthy", which means shooting at ISO 6400 & using at least an f/1.8 lens or maybe even renting a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens,
or
2)
Getting better images with a flash like a SB-910 or at least SB-700 but totally losing the unobtrusiveness factor.

Alternatively, your friend could hire someone who does this for a living and will give great results for... well, depending on their experience level & what part of the country they're in, anywhere from $200-$500.

That seems to me a very reasonable figure to spend to capture what will be one of the most treasured moments in your friend's life.



Apr 10, 2014 at 04:20 PM
sssettlejr
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Proposal Photography


I think we decided it would be too hard to be stealthy. It will probably be well after sunset. I was going to recommend hiring someone because it kinda makes me nervous doing this with almost no experience.

I have a 35mm f/1.8G and I guess I could use 6400 ISO. BTW, I use a D7100. Maybe I'll go out and practice with these settings. I usually don't do low light work unless I want to do long exposures, but this is a good reason to practice.



Apr 10, 2014 at 04:57 PM
Tony Hoffer
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Proposal Photography


sssettlejr wrote:
I think we decided it would be too hard to be stealthy. It will probably be well after sunset. I was going to recommend hiring someone because it kinda makes me nervous doing this with almost no experience.

I have a 35mm f/1.8G and I guess I could use 6400 ISO. BTW, I use a D7100. Maybe I'll go out and practice with these settings. I usually don't do low light work unless I want to do long exposures, but this is a good reason to practice.


I'm usually not the "Don't do it, hire a pro!" type of person... but in this situation I think it might be the right call. I've been at this for quite a few years now and shot a nighttime proposal last year. It was extremely difficult and we had to plan very carefully around the streetlights to even make it happen. There's a lot of variables when there's almost no light. I shot at ISO 6400 even with a streetlight. Just my 2 cents...

That shoot: http://hofferphotography.com/2013/10/07/phillip-proposed-to-amanda-at-the-brooklyn-bridge/




Apr 10, 2014 at 06:17 PM
maxwell1295
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Proposal Photography


+1 to what Tony said

Given the unpredictability of surprise proposals in general (and I've done a few of them), shooting one at night would probably freak me out a little bit. Using a prop like the one used in the shoot Tony linked to was a brilliant idea.



Apr 10, 2014 at 06:25 PM
TTLKurtis
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Proposal Photography


Tony Hoffer wrote:
I'm usually not the "Don't do it, hire a pro!" type of person... but in this situation I think it might be the right call. I've been at this for quite a few years now and shot a nighttime proposal last year. It was extremely difficult and we had to plan very carefully around the streetlights to even make it happen. There's a lot of variables when there's almost no light. I shot at ISO 6400 even with a streetlight. Just my 2 cents...

That shoot: http://hofferphotography.com/2013/10/07/phillip-proposed-to-amanda-at-the-brooklyn-bridge/



Hey Tony, how many pig-sized rats did you see/hear during that proposal shoot? I've been to that spot at night and it's a little unnerving how large those things are and how much noise they make in the bushes.

They're lucky one of them didn't eat the dog.



Apr 10, 2014 at 06:27 PM
sssettlejr
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Proposal Photography


Those are pretty nice Tony, but I think I will have even less light. I was surprise how dark it was last time I went. The closest light to where he wants to propose is about 30ft away (maybe more...) and there are some palm trees in the way. I do have a friend that has a full get up, 3 speed light and a commander, and he offered to help.

I guess I will talk this over with my friend and see what he decides. I would feel terrible if I couldn't get a good picture.

Edit: Actually those photos are amazing, I keep going back and looking at them.



Apr 10, 2014 at 06:49 PM
 

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TTLKurtis
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Proposal Photography


I think the person proposing needs some guidance if he wants this captured. He can't just pick any spot he chooses if he wants you to discreetly capture it and to get something that looks nice. Using flashes for a proposal in my opinion is completely unacceptable.


Apr 10, 2014 at 07:15 PM
Tony Hoffer
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Proposal Photography


sssettlejr wrote:
I think I will have even less light.


Yeah that was sort of my point. For ours the girl ran way late so we were supposed to shoot earlier and couldn't. It ended up that I had to tell him an exact spot and had to tell him exactly which direction to stand and where to have her stand. With less light it would be really difficult. Even if you had off camera lights, focusing could be tough. I'm certainly not trying to discourage you as I love a challenge, but just trying to help you figure out what you're looking at.



Apr 11, 2014 at 06:01 AM
StephenAndrew
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Proposal Photography


I've done a few proposal shoots myself, although none in a super dark setting. I agree with Kurtis, I think the guy needs some guidance if he wants you to be discreet, produce good images, and wants that specific location and time. You can't just magically produce more light without being obtrusive. I would never use flash for a proposal, it would just kill the mood.


Apr 11, 2014 at 05:45 PM
dhp_sf
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Proposal Photography


I had a request for something like this a couple weeks ago, 2 days before the proposal was supposed to go down. I don't know what the guy was expecting (he "heard that I was an awesome photographer"). He wanted me to photograph his proposal at night with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background while being discreet about it.

I ended up explaining to him there was no way to get really good images without using flash and the closest I could come to being discreet with flash was on-camera (there are pretty much no places to go where the GG Bridge is visible at night that isn't pretty much pitch black)... I had recommended a different location that would look better photographed at night but still wasn't going to guarantee anything...

Anyway, bottom line, if you want to be discreet...do it during the day time, unless you can plan it EXACTLY how it's going to go down to yield good images.

edit to say: I never actually got the job, because he would have had to revamp everything. He pretty much told me he was hoping I'd tell him it was not a big deal...



Apr 11, 2014 at 05:49 PM
Nikon_14
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Proposal Photography


dhp_sf wroteHe pretty much told me he was hoping I'd tell him it was not a big deal...


Because all we do is just press a button and things magically come spectacular, right?



Apr 11, 2014 at 06:10 PM
sssettlejr
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Proposal Photography


Thanks for the advice guys. I talk to him yesterday and he said its no big deal if I didn't get any good shots - it's just a bonus if I did. It's kind of like a scavenger hunt and I was going to be there anyway so that works for me. If his SO decides she want some better photos they can always redo the proposal in a better lit spot.

We did some tests last night with the torches and it worked out alright (although that could change once I see the photos on a screen bigger than 3"). It adds some really warm light and it all depends on the wind. Like all night photography, it was a pain to get in focus... but now I have a reason to practice more



Apr 11, 2014 at 06:44 PM
StephenAndrew
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Proposal Photography


sssettlejr wrote:
If his SO decides she want some better photos they can always redo the proposal in a better lit spot.


Isn't the whole point of photographing a proposal to capture the surprise emotion and reactions in the moment? It seems to me, doing a "redo" shoot of something like a proposal is just photographing a performance by a couple actors.



Apr 11, 2014 at 06:59 PM





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