It seems like shooting surprise marriage proposals are 90% planning and 10% execution. I mean, I don’t want to accidentally stalk the wrong couple, or maybe be hanging out 100’ from where the guy decides to drop to one knee – so it’s important to use past experience to inform a perfectly planned and photographed proposal.

I knew Steve wanted to propose to his girlfriend on West Cliff Drive (a very special place for them), and specifically on one of two benches near a cool tree at the intersection of De La Costa Avenue. The problem? The benches are constantly occupied by pedestrians who (rightly) want to stop and enjoy the view. My solution? I went up to a gentleman who was hanging out on “the bench” and told him what was going down in about 15 minutes. After confirming he planned on hanging out that long, we conspired… I showed him the picture I had of my client, so when they got close he simply got up and walked off, leaving it free for my couple and nobody else.

Small things like this delight me, and of course when Steve transitioned from bench to down-on-one-knee, I was ready and shooting away. Here’s a few of my faves…. enjoy!