I’m so excited for a little something different on the blog today!! My dear friend, Laura, out in NYC is absolutely KILLING IT with her proposal photography business and so I thought it would be awesome to interview her and see what it is like to shoot proposals in New York City! This is the gorgeous lady herself, pictured below!
And here she is in action during a proposal!! (See her in the back left?!)
James and I love shooting proposals here in Chicago, so it is always interesting hearing from other photographers about how they got to where they are and more about their process… especially when they’ve developed such a fabulous niche for themselves!
You can find her website here: NYC Proposal Photos
And her Instagram account here: NYC Proposals
Hop over there and follow her to see all her gorgeous work!! Now, let’s get to the interview!!
Tell us a little about yourself!
I grew up in central Massachusetts and came to NYC to attend college. Once I graduated I decided to stay in NYC, which is, believe it or not, way more exciting than a sleepy Massachusetts town. I took some film classes in college and loved them, but NEVER thought it would ever be a sustainable career. As the years went on and I got more and more into it, it became my “side job.” I’ve been full time with it now for over three years and love it! Now my fiance’ and I live on Staten Island (we just bought a house! it’s the most adult thing I’ve ever done). I’ve got two cats I’m kind of obsessed with. When I’m not working or cat-obsessing, I’m doing one of the many millions of house projects that need to be done! Oh, and I’m also part of a paranormal team here in NYC!
How did you get started photographing proposals?
I photographed my first proposal back in 2009. This was back when I knew I wanted to be a photographer but didn’t know how to make it successful. I was on Craigslist looking for photo jobs (a lot of my early gigs were from Craigslist!) and I saw one for a proposal in Central Park. The groom-to-be hired me, and I photographed his sweet proposal (he and his girlfriend had been taking sign language classes together, so he “signed” the proposal to her!). I was hooked and wanted to do more. This was before the idea of proposal photography was super popular, so a year passed before I photographed my next one. Then, in 2012, right around the time I went full time, I started booking them very consistently. I’ve now photographed 100 proposals!
What’s the most unique proposal you’ve ever photographed?
The first one was April Fool’s Day in 2013. The groom-to-be, Steve, and his girlfriend Sandra were big video game fans. So he enlisted the help of his two adorable nieces to dress up as Yoshis and surprise Sandra and Steve in the Nintendo World Store at Rockefeller Center. They came up to Sandra holding a giant Yoshi egg. When she opened the egg she saw a message inside, printed on a screenshot from Super Mario Bros, asking “Will You Be My Player Two?”
This past December on the day after Christmas I photographed a proposal where Mike, the groom-to-be, surprised his girlfriend Sam on Christmas Day with a Breakfast at Tiffany’s inspired photoshoot. She found out she’d be dressing up just like Holly Golightly, the main character from her favorite movie, and a photographer (me) would be there to capture her re-enacting the scenes from the opening of the movie. What she didn’t know was that it was all leading to Mike’s proposal to her – when it was time to recreate the moment in the movie where Holly Golightly drinks from her coffee cup, Mike had Sam open up her cup to find a ring box inside. At that moment a men’s quartet surrounded her and Mike to sing “Moon River” while he proposed.
What’s the biggest challenge you face as a proposal photographer?
Definitely crowd management. I would take a less-than-ideal day, weather-wise, anytime over a crowds. Most of the time, people walking by don’t realize there’s a photographer, and there’s always a huge risk of people blocking the shot. Some of my most nerve-wracking proposals have been ones I knew would involve a lot of random bystanders.
Related to this: I’ve had close calls in the past but for the first time this past December, one of my biggest fears happened – while I was waiting for a couple to show up at a very specific spot for their 6:30 p.m.proposal, a group of people came and started setting up for their friend’s proposal, happening in the same exact spot at the same exact time as my couple. Their set up was complex, involving candles and rose petals and a giant white sheet on the ground. I knew I’d have to divert my couple. I did and it worked out fine, but it was definitely stressful for me!
I know you shoot alone (as opposed to me and James, who shoot together). What is that like?
Occasionally I have a lighting assistant with me if it’s going to be a dark place, but for the most part I shoot alone. It’s a challenge, sure, but I like it. I’m usually hyper-aware right before the proposal, looking for the couple, and I am glad to be alone, because I’d probably just be a total weirdo if I had to speak, lol. For me, I give the proposers a lot of information specifically catering to the fact I am shooting by myself, so even though it’s just me, I still manage to get a variety of shots.
What’s the best / most popular time of year to propose in NYC?
The holiday season is insane. Last year, I photographed 39 proposals, and 20 of those were in November and December!
What’s your favorite place in NYC to photograph a proposal?
Ooh, this is a toughie. For me, my own personal favorite spot is one where the scenery is beautiful and there aren’t a lot of other people around. So while I *love* places like Central Park and Top of the Rock, I think my favorite spot is Brooklyn Bridge Park, over by Jane’s Carousel. It’s a very popular place to propose (and no wonder, with the Brooklyn Bridge and lower Manhattan skyline as the background!) and even at its most crowded still isn’t unmanageable. I’ve photographed a lot of proposals there and, now that I’m thinking of it, most of them turned out to be surprisingly private.
Any other thoughts?
I’m noticing, based on previous years and this year’s trends, that I’m now starting to shoot proposals more than anything else. I started as a wedding photographer, then transitioned into mostly elopements with some proposals thrown in, and now it’s starting to make up more and more of my business. I’m actually kind of fascinated by this (and super excited, haha). Proposal photography is becoming VERY popular!
. . . .
I just love it!!! It’s so cool to see all the beautiful moments Laura has captured and how her business is leaning more and more towards proposals lately! Thanks for sharing, Laura!!
If you’re interested, she’s interviewing me over on her blog today too!! You can click HERE to hop over there and read what we had to say about shooting proposals in Chicago! 🙂