A man proposes marriage to his girlfriend on a grassy Chatham Beach as she looks down in disbelief.

Taking My Own Marriage Proposal Photo

One year and one day ago (on June 2, 2018) I took the most important photo of my life, my own marriage proposal photo.

That was the day that I proposed to my beautiful fiance, MaryKate, on Chatham Lighthouse Beach. Read on and I’ll tell you how I did it!

Setting the scene for the proposal selfie

Here’s the scene: last spring, we decided to take a trip to Cape Cod early in the spring. We settled on Chatham and booked our stay at the lovely Chatham Motel. We planned our trip to be off season and it worked out; there was none of the nightmare Cape traffic I’d heard about. Also, most of the time, things were pretty calm.

Terrence Irving Photography | Ledyard, CT Proposal Photographer
Chatham Lighthouse.

It was Saturday, June 2, 2018 and we had just spent the day exploring Chatham and Provincetown. We headed back to the motel in the late afternoon to plan our night. I proposed that we make dinner reservations and head down to the beach for some nice photos of ourselves before eating. Luckily for me, being on vacation gives me a good excuse to have a camera with me constantly. So, I know she didn’t suspect a thing when I suggested that we take some selfies with my “real” camera.

The beach

Once we arrived at the beach, I took a few test shots of MaryKate to get things going.

Terrence Irving Photography | Ledyard, CT Proposal Photographer
I snapped this shot before setting up the camera on a tripod.

After a few minutes, I set things up to try and capture our own marriage proposal photo. So, what was the key to taking my own marriage proposal photos? A few people asked me on Facebook how I did this. There were actually three key tools involved, other than the camera itself:

  1. A tripod. Whenever I’m shooting selfies or landscapes, I have a tripod with me. I don’t bring it to client sessions much, as I prefer to keep the camera on me at all times.
  2. A camera timer. The built-in intervalometer, or “thing that lets you choose a time interval during which to automatically take pictures,” is one of the features I love about my cameras. These days, even our phones can do this for us, allowing us to set the timer, put the camera down, then run into the frame for a selfie. I set the camera to do something like a photo every eight seconds or so (it took a LOT of photos).
  3. Creativity. Look, I’m not trying to pat myself on the back or toot my own horn. But without creativity, this wouldn’t have worked at all. Personally, I think creativity is always important, whether you’re creating your own artwork or hiring someone else to do it for you.
Terrence Irving Photography | Ledyard, CT Proposal Photographer
Understandably, MaryKate was pretty annoyed with me, especially because of the windy conditions.

The build-up to the actual marriage proposal photo

Once the camera was set up, I was probably shaking quite a bit. So, I started cracking some jokes to keep things light. Then I made way over to join MaryKate in frame.

Terrence Irving Photography | Ledyard, CT Proposal Photographer
Finally, we started taking some photos together.

I was too nervous to remember that MaryKate’s got a “side.” No problem, she reminded me and we switched.

Terrence Irving Photography | Ledyard, CT Proposal Photographer
Here, MaryKate reminded me that I was on the “wrong” side.

Now, you might be wondering where the ring was. Look closely at my right pant pocket; it’s a little too square for a normal pair of pants.

Terrence Irving Photography | Ledyard, CT Proposal Photographer
One more. Notice my pocket…

Game time

Well, it was time to do this. With the camera still firing away, I started to get into position…

Terrence Irving Photography | Ledyard, CT Proposal Photographer
OK, here we go.

Now, remember that the wind is whipping away at us, meanwhile there were a few other people present on the beach that night. The point is that I THOUGHT the camera was still taking pictures, but it was a little hard to hear the telltale “snap” of the shutter. It wasn’t exactly appropriate or feasible to say, “hold on a second, I’ll be right back.” The show had to go on!

Terrence Irving Photography | Ledyard, CT Proposal Photographer
This is one of my favorite MaryKate poses. Notice her right hand in the “stop” position.

And finally, the moment had come. If you’ve followed my photography at all, then this one should look familiar to you!

Terrence Irving Photography | Ledyard, CT Proposal Photographer
To date, this is the most important photo I’ve ever taken.

When I edited it, I really wanted to accentuate what I saw that day, which was a gentle blue sky, bright green grass shoots, and the look on my fiance’s face as she looked at the ring!

The aftermath

Just to prove that this wasn’t a big setup, here’s a couple of photos of what happened next:

Terrence Irving Photography | Ledyard, CT Proposal Photographer
The aftermath. She did say “yes,” by the way.

She said, “Yes!” Can you imagine how awkward dinner would have been if she didn’t?

Terrence Irving Photography | Ledyard, CT Proposal Photographer
I guess you could say that she got over the fact that I tricked her!

And I’ll leave you with this, which is hanging on our living room wall (remember to print your photos):

Terrence Irving Photography | Ledyard, CT Proposal Photographer
Here it is in 16×24, hanging on our living room wall.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it

As you can see, I was telling the truth all along! I did, in fact, take my own marriage proposal photo. Now as I prepare to shoot another engagement session this weekend and my first wedding this fall, I keep thinking about how fun it would be to photograph someone else’s proposal. Do you know anyone looking for a proposal photographer? Then drop me a line!

Now that I’ve told you how I proposed, tell me your plans!

Click below and let’s talk about how I can help you capture your own surprise proposal.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top