Making sure you’ve chosen the right photographer for any job can be a difficult feat, let alone choosing one to capture a split-second, once-in-a-lifetime moment! With all of the choices out there, the question “how do I choose a proposal photographer?” can be an overwhelming one.

Believe me, no one knows the struggle of this question better than Sarah Arnold Photography. I’ve photographed dozens of engagements/proposal sessions in Colorado and beyond, timing shots just right to capture candid engagements (with just a bit of direction). 

If you’re trying to choose a proposal photographer and need a little guidance, I’ve come up with five simple questions to steer you in the right direction… 

1. Does the photographer do proposal photography?

You probably wouldn’t hire a brand photographer for a family portrait, right? So why hire someone who specializes in something else for your proposal? You definitely don’t want to risk this moment, or choose someone who will miss the magic as you drop to one knee. Make sure you go with a proposal professional with experience snapping precise pics before the moment is over (proposals go by so quickly!). So when you’re planning your big moment, look specifically for a wedding & engagement photographer, or for someone who advertises themselves as a proposal photographer on their website and social media accounts. 

Still not sure? Search Instagram for hashtags like #Coloradoweddingphotographer #Coloradoengagementphotographer and so forth. 

2. What’s the quality of their work?

After you post these joyous photos to Instagram, you’ll probably want to print them out for your save the date cards or engagement announcements. So, in addition to being top of the line, professional quality images, they also must be high-resolution files.

Your proposal photographer should provide all of your images to you in high resolution, since the whole reason you have the moment captured is to share it! (This is also a great reason to hire a proposal photographer instead of relying on a friend and their phone!)

3. How many images will you get?

Your proposal photographer is there to capture your story, but you should be the one to decide which images you want to use to tell it. That’s why you should have a large and diverse gallery of photos to choose from! Your proposal photographer should provide at least 100 images from your session, capturing all of the moments before, during and after you pop the question, as well as a portrait session with the remainder of your scheduled time.

That way you have photos to remember the entire day, and beautiful couples’ photography as an added bonus! Plus, you get to choose which photos are your favorites. Who knows you better than you, right?

4. How discreet will your proposal photographer be?

Surprise proposal photography is all about the element of – you guessed it – surprise! The last thing you want while you’re trying to propose is a photographer standing two feet away firing off a flash. That ruins both the surprise and the romance. 

Have your moment and your photos by opting for a proposal photographer who is both professional and discreet in his or her approach. Your partner should have no idea that a photographer is there… A genuine reaction makes for the best engagement pictures! Someone who understands how to hide behind a bush, but be close enough that they can jump into some closer shots after the proposal, is key. Be sure to ask their general approach for proposal sessions. This will give you an idea as to whether or not it’s a good fit for what you’re planning!

5. How quick is the turnaround?

Besides wanting your photos before the wedding day, let’s face it, she’s going to want to share this moment with the world ASAP! Your proposal photographer should be able to do basic color correction and other edits within a reasonable time frame. I offer sneak peeks within 24 hours so you can announce your proposal to all your friends, family and on social media with the best and most high-resolution photos possible. The rest of the gallery is normally delivered with 3 weeks!


Engagement Photos
Colorado Photo Destinations
Colorado Engagement Photos


Congratulations! You found the person you’re going to spend the rest of your life with. So what now? Get started with the steps below on my engagement photo checklist! This season of life goes so fast, so my first piece of advice is: Don’t let the wedding stress get in the way! Really enjoy it and soak it upit’s supposed to be fun! And as you move forward through the exciting whirlwind ahead, don’t forget to capture the moments to remember your love and this chapter of life exactly as it happened.

engagement photo checklist

First things first: As you search for an engagement photographer, see if they offer wedding packages with an engagement session. For couples who book engagement AND wedding photography at the same time, I offer a one-hour complimentary engagement session. (More about that $350 value here!) Plus you kill two birds with one stone, so you’re ahead of the game already!

Pick a reserved date and time 

Be flexible when you’re deciding on a date. Your photographer is likely going to suggest sunrise or sunset because the lighting is the prettiest, but daytime is possible! Our schedule books out months in advance with various commitments and sessions (sunset only comes once a day), so if you’re looking for a weekend day, plan in advance!

engagement photo checklist

Decide on a location you both like 

You don’t need to be an expert in this! You can ask your photographer for a list of recommended places, but if you do have a vision in mind, don’t be afraid to speak up! 

Pick out your outfits beforehand

Pinterest can be your best friend when it comes to outfit inspiration. Make sure you pick according to the theme/location and try to stay away from anything that clashes like too many loud prints. For more advice on this one, check out my 12 tips for picking out engagement photo outfits. If you are someone who wants to bring accessories (hats, different shoes, scarves) pack those items in advance so you’re not scrambling on the big day!

Brides: Take time to have your nails done 

This may seem like a small thing, but with that new gorgeous ring to show off, there will be several photographs with your hands in them. Treat yourself to a manicure day! The best advice I ever received for engagement photos is to always have the couple touching. That means lots of hand holding and arms wrapped around each other, and in turn, lots of visible hands. It’s great to ensure you’ll love the close-up shots as much as the shots from far away. 

Bring comfortable shoes, you won’t regret it! 

In Colorado, the weather can change from summer to spring and then winter in 48 hours. Be sure to bring hiking shoes or closed toed, flat shoes in the event you end up walking to different spots of a park or lookout spot. 

Look at inspiration, but give yourself room to be you! 

I encourage couples to send me their Pinterest boards of favorite Instagram shots, but not every photographer agrees. Some photographers believe it sets the expectation that your photos will look just like the post, plus it doesn’t provide the level of creativity that a photographer is capable of. That’s why I say to think of it as inspiration. We’re not going to take every single photo and recreate what’s been done, but there’s no need to reinvent the wheel, either. Let’s find what you like and then make it yours!

engagement photo checklist

I hope this engagement photo checklist gave you some ideas as you start to plan for your engagement session! Sarah Arnold Photography has more tips and tricks, so feel free to contact us or send an inquiry. We’d be happy to help you throughout the process so you’re excited for your session and happy with the final product!