Last weekend, I was doing a scout/run-through with my friend Austin before his proposal. We drove up to the park location we had chosen to see dozens of cars lining the streets. This was not normal. When we had visited a few weeks earlier (around the same time, on the same day of the week), the park was completely empty. I started to panic a little bit internally, wondering if this would influence our final plan or worry him at all. We got out of the car to multiple groups of Highland Park High School students and their parents all decked out taking photos before their homecoming dance. Once we walked around a bit, we decided to stand off to the side to see if it tapered off. It didn’t, and the spot we were hoping to test for lighting and layout would not have been an option. Had this been the day we had chosen for the actual proposal, we would have had to seriously alter the plan (losing time, sunset, and natural light) or completely move locations.
This step – the location scout – is all too often overlooked. It’s been crucial for me and for my guys in thinking through the details and logistics, coming up with the final plan, and has played a huge role in decreasing anxiety & room for error. It is #1 thing you MUST do for your proposal. I have talked about location scouts before when it comes to shooting in new places, but for this big moment, I cannot tell you how much it has changed the game in the planning process!
That being said, even with a location scout, everything going perfectly is not a guarantee, but it sure does help with foreseeing any issues that may arise. We knew that planning this proposal in a public park would mean the risk of a dog running through the fountain, little kids playing ball, or other photoshoots happening around us during the moment. The biggest piece of advice I gave Austin was JUST ROLL WITH IT. If one of these things were to happen, we were going to embrace it, accept it, and make it a part of the story! (Making it that much more memorable and fun!)
With the 18 proposals I’ve shot, there’s been a pretty even split between which guys come in knowing what they want to do and where they want to be, and the guys who aren’t really sure and want some help setting things into motion. I’ve photographed backyard proposals, rooftop proposals, a proposal in Central Park in NYC, OU Campus Proposals, and more. Regardless of the plan, walking through the exact location beforehand, blocking your layout, looking out for any distractions, and anticipating room for unpredictability is one of the smartest things you can do when planning!
Check out the test shot from our homecoming scout below. We. Were. Thrilled. Hahaha!