I asked Adam to write an account from his perspective on hiring a proposal photographer. As always this man exceeds my expectations so here is his point of view on popping the question and having a photographer capture the moment.
I knew I wanted to document my proposal to Anna no matter when and where I did it. Once I chose all of that I knew it was going to be tricky booking photographers because I decided to pop the ole question on the remote South Pacific island of Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, where I had very little knowledge of the landscape, people, businesses, etc. I assumed photographers would be a little harder to come by with a population of 20,000, but that’s why God invented Google. The first two or three photographers I contacted wanted $500 and $350 to do a full shoot, to which I replied “I don’t need a full shoot, I basically just want you to hide in the bushes or act like you’re taking pictures of the beach, and then point the camera to us when you see me drop to a knee.” Well, they wouldn’t budge on price, which discouraged me quite a bit. I definitely wanted to capture this moment in our lives. One, because it deserves it, two, I knew Anna wanted it (even though she never said anything), and three, my future mother in law would have killed me if there wasn’t photos or video somehow. $350 was way too much in my opinion for about 30 minutes of work, so I decided to reach out to one more photographer and explain what I wanted, and worse comes to worse I’ll just do something with the GoPro. Turama Photography responded and said they could definitely accommodate my guerrilla style shoot and for a price of $150 NZD, which is less than $100 USD! I was in business.
Once we arrived in Rarotonga, another problem presented itself…wifi. Wifi is not free on the island and you must buy a data package from a provider in order to connect. It’s not crazy expensive, but having relayed this to Anna, she responded by saying “let’s not worry about wifi, it’ll be nice to not have our phones for a week”. Well shit. I needed wifi to email the photographers to tell them where we were going to be at a certain time and I couldn’t do that until I spent a little bit of time on the island and knew a good place to go. The second day we were there, after a tremendously adventurous ATV tour through the mud and rain, I told her I was going to walk to town to buy some wifi just to let my parents know we had arrived safely. She was not so pleased and embarked for a solo walk on the beach. And the race was on for yours truly. Run to the wifi store, hope it’s in season, buy the data, delete a day and half worth of emails (it stresses me out), reply to Julian the photographer about a relative location and run back to our rental house. Luckily I run like a gazelle because I made it back before Anna returned from her walk. We cleaned up and headed to the west side of the island for dinner and a sunset.
Before we made it to the restaurant, we stopped off at a beach bar for a pre-dinner cocktail, where I once again connected to the wifi from a secret location called the bathroom to let Julian know exactly the time and place to meet us. He responded right away and said he would be there in 15 minutes. After our drink, we walked through the drizzling rain on a half muddy street to Manuia on the beach. Having sent him pictures of what we looked like, Julian and his lovely wife Brie saw us walk through the restaurant and made their way down to the beach to set up. That’s when they hit. The nerve of some nerves. I told Anna we should get a picture on the beach before it starts raining again, to which she jumped at the opportunity since I’m not the biggest picture taking fan, ironically enough. I wanted video too, so I’m searching through my dry bag for our GoPro, but I didn’t bring the tripod to set it up. At the same time I’m wondering how I’m going to get the ring box into my pocket from the bag without her noticing. Internally freaking out, Anna says “forget the GoPro, let’s just use my phone”. She turns around, I quickly maneuver the giant ring box (is that a ring box in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?) from the bag to my pocket, put my hand over my pocket, and follow her. Well this little beach vixen goes right up to Julian and Brie and asks if they can take a picture of us. They were confused, I was a stress mess, and Anna was the only one not knowing what was going on. They take the picture and Anna starts walking back up towards the restaurant, so I drop to my good knee (just kidding they are both bad), pull out the diamond, and Julian and Brie jump out of their proverbial bushes to start snapping away. You should have seen her face….
I wanted photographers, not only because I thought we would enjoy looking at the photos, but because the moment deserved it. It deserved capturing me holding back a million nerves and her trying to hold herself together while she was smile crying and laugh slobbering. We didn’t get our sunset, but that moment came together perfectly, and I’m tremendously grateful to the effort I put into it and didn’t ask a stranger to hold an iPhone while I proposed to the love of my life. To anyone contemplating proposing and how to capture it, I say do it, but go with your gut. Your situation might be different. If you do document it, have it done professionally or ask a friend who knows photography, not just how to work a camera. And make it a surprise. Put the work in and the moment will be that much sweeter, even if it all crumbles down. Our pictures turned out great, but, I gotta say, nothing will ever compare to the memory of that look on her beautiful face.
Photography: Turama Photography