Hidden Proposal Photography | Benefits and Drawbacks
Hidden Proposal Photography the Best for Getting Engaged
Hidden Photography Defined
We define this as not visible, camouflaged, so far away that you cannot fathom someone is taking your picture. The common picture in ones mind normally is that a photographer is hiding in a bush. We find it a little scratchy so and also limiting to movement so we try to limit camping out in bushes. We have considered a Ghillie Suit but thought that might go into the creepy category. The key idea of hidden is that she does not know her photo is being taken. This creates some amazing benefits in proposal photography but also has some drawbacks.
Benefits to Hidden Proposal Photography
Real Candid Emotion
We believe this is the whole reason to do proposal photography. For most guys they are trying to get the moment. Qualitatively there are huge differences between getting the moment though and getting a candid reaction. We will show the results below but the real raw reaction is priceless. We have seen many proposals shot by other photographers and the moments were dull in comparison. She knows her photo is getting taken and is half thinking about that it seems. There is this 1-2 seconds of a surprised look but the reaction is otherwise limited. The way we do it the emotion is in the 8 to 10 on a scale of 10. Up close photos where she knows her photo is getting taken feels like a 4 out of 10. When the photographer messed up and had them redo the proposal moment it was on a 1 out of 10 emotion scale. After seeing a number getting closer to 1000 proposals we could argue that most proposal photos seen online are faked. The body language is off, the look in the eye lacks the spark, and well it is happy but just lacks the real feeling inside. There is nothing wrong with it but we just think we found a better way to do proposal photography.
Number of Images
Many guys want an image or two. We think this is because they do not know the difference. With the way most do proposals and image or two is what you get before a more composed / posed reaction kicks in. For us in the winter we are normally in a 2-5 minute range of hidden moments. In the summer however this ranges between 5-12 minute. Candid raw emotion changes continually so there is a lot to get. As a result you get many more images. The number of images being higher leads to telling a more full story. The color of how she felt is far easier to relive. We think this is a subtle but another huge benefit to a hidden photographer.
For Colorado this will matter more than other locations. To get a proposal at a distance by implication need to use a zoomed in lens. The reason is the couple will be further away and they will want to be seen in photos. What you likely do not know is that a zoom lens will make the background feel closer. Most people getting engaged in Colorado will see this as a benefit because you get more of a big mountain feel. As this might be a little technical below are two examples of a normal lens vs a high zoom lens and how it changes the background feel. Please note that the background blur (bokeh) is a more how it is shot and not entirely a lens thing.
Drawbacks to Hidden Proposal Photography
Disclaimer: These are written from the perspective of a general proposal photographer. For us we actually have solutions or have found benefits in what is a drawback for another.
Extremely difficult [for the Photographer]
We have seen a lot of proposals taken by others and consequently a lot of people that missed the moment up close. If as a photographer you cannot get it from 3-10 ft away how can you be successful at a distance? There is a level of difficulty on the photographer that distance only increases as the control becomes less and the variables increase. We have a way of doing them that plans things out to remove the level of difficulty. A plan however is not always sufficient because you need to have experience to know how it will be interpreted and executed.
We find the way we do hidden proposal photography that it is actually extremely easy for most guys. They know what they need to do, where they need to do it, along with any risks to misunderstanding. For us it actually much easier because we are not then chasing a guy down hoping he will stop at a place suitable for photos. We call the way we do things a win – win because it helps us and the guy remove the level of difficulty.
Not all locations work for photos at a distance. A great illustration is a natural mountain lake in Colorado. They are often in rock craters so have a very steep lead into the lake before a steep rise for the view. If you could get the couple in an angle you would be shooting down on them to shoot zoomed in. To get the couple, the lake, and the mountains you therefore need to shoot wide making it harder to see the reaction. Outside of that kind of scenario you might have a rolling hill or a couple feet of variation making it not work. Not all terrain topography works for hidden photography engagements.
No one likes to be limited but the unexpected benefit we found is in an increased seclusion. The perk is that some places can only be shot at a distance lowering the probability that anyone else will be shooting at the spot. This helps with getting a private moment.
Requires expensive equipment
Most photographers these days we see are using a kit lens. This is a basic zoom lens that comes with a base level camera. The kind of lenses you need to shoot at a distance cost more than what most own in total. They are also heavy with all the needed glass which will be difficult for the average female photographer we see out there. To do this right you really need lenses that are a fixed aperture at the F/2.0 or F/2.8 so therefore are very pricey. If the lens is a F/4.0-F/5.6 then you will struggle to shoot fast enough for the candid reaction.
The benefit for us is that we got to buy some really cool equipment that expands how we can shoot, where we can shoot, and what it can look like out of the camera. We also get to work out on shoots so we save some time going to the gym allowing us to spend more time doing what we love shooting.
Results of Hidden Photography
Here are moments where she had the photographer pointed out by the guy. Sometimes the guy knew were we were but could not even see us. For a more full look at proposals look through the blogs to see the progression. When these flow in the context of the proposal they will make more sense.