A couple of months prior to this incredible day for Joe and Sam, Joe’s sister googled and found me on rusticweddingchic.com and called me up about her brother’s plan to propose to the most important girl in life. And he blew her away! From my conversation with Rosa about his plan to propose at one of their favorite parks (which used to be an old dairy farm), I knew this was going to be a unique proposal to photograph! So I secretly met with the brother and sister to walk through this old farm park and plan how we were going to surprise Sam. We went over some of the key locations for the proposal during this meet-up. Here begins the scheming!
I hate photos of me, but here I am with the groom! Lol. (Thanks Sam! 🙂
Preparing for the Proposal
For a few months, while on walks in this park, Joe would talk to Sam about how neat it would be to get photos at this old farm. About a month before the proposal, I met with Joe and his sister to make sure that we were on the same page! The plan is that Joe would tell Sam the week of the proposal that “a friend of Joe’s coworker’s wife wants to build her photography portfolio.” Of course, Sam would be totally down for that, because she loves photos and dressing up!
Prepping for the shoot at home, I took off my battery packs on my cameras (so the cameras don’t look so professional and huge), took off my Black Rapid camera strap and put on the original newish-looking Canon camera strap that I see all those hobbyist photographers wear with their fancy-cameras-shooting-on-auto. I also made fake model release forms. How did Joe prep for the shoot? While Sam was excited and wore brand new cowboy boots for the shoot, before the session Joe acted like he didn’t want to do this!
It was very important for me to convey that photographing couples is a new thing, almost like I had never done it before. I also had a fake name, and was supposedly “in the Brookfield area after work that day,” and wanted “to photograph a cute couple at a farm or rustic location.” I tried to think back to 4 years ago when I first got started into the photography thing! So a lot of non-truths and acting…
The proposal day at Williams Park, the Old Gurski Farm, Brookfield, CT
When the couple first arrived, I couldn’t contain the excitement! Pretended like I had never met Joe, asked them questions, thanked them so much for being willing to be “models” for the shoot, and how I’m just a “hobbyist” bla-bla.
We’re taking great photos, but I keep them going to lead them to one side of the big old barn. This is the spot where it all happens!
On one side the of the barn, Joe’s sister had set up a cute rustic chic table, with champagne in ice, and we made sure in advance that it couldn’t be seen by Sam as we walk down the hill to the barn. When I led the couple down to one side of the barn, I decide to do a “wide angle shot” of the barn, with the couple standing on different sides of the barn, so that Joe could hold up this sign that Rosa had set aside! Awesome thing was that the lucky girl didn’t know Joe was doing this!
The secret shot! “I’m About to Ask Her”
Then I said, “let’s do another shot where Sam is” and so I tell them to touch foreheads and close eyes, that’s when I quickly photographed the sister’s cute table before it’s touched.
Rustic chic champagne table
As I change my lens, and back away, Joe knows that it’s time for him to lead her around the corner!
How I love my 85mm lens! Love this shot.
It was so great later on how Joe explained all of his planning for this proposal to Sam at this moment. The moment that she found out that my real name was Ling, and that I was a professional photographer…PRICELESS! As Joe said, we sold it!
As we keep on doing fun pics and make our way back, the sun sets, and sprinkles of rain result in a rainbow. Perfection!
What an amazing time. There have been sooooo many fantabulous couples and engagement sessions, but a proposal shoot is a first for me! So many people don’t think of photographing a proposal. It’s a great idea, because wouldn’t these be moments you’d want to still remember decades later?
I love this shot of Joe explaining how he got the ring, which was actually her grandmother’s!
A sign at Williams Park…we obeyed. 😉
How He Proposed (Joey’s Proposal Story!)
So knowing Samantha is curious by nature, I knew a surprise proposal would be challenging. I have always embraced a good challenge.
So I began laying the ground work about two months ago when Samantha and I were hiking. We were hiking a trail that leads to numerous open fields, and a few barns. This was perfect because she is completely into this thing called chubby chick, or is it shabby chic? Idk, Either way, she fell right into the trap!!
On the hike we began talking about how beautiful the trails, farm, field, and barns were. I mentioned that I always wanted a picture of us in a setting like that, she did too!
A few weeks had past, and each time we hiked I made sure to mention the idea of pictures. Over and over again, so that way it was not going to be out of ordinary when I made “plans”.
While I worked out the details on when, where, and how, my sister worked out the who! She booked an amazing photographer that was also into this chubby chick design thing.
My sister and I picked a day approximately 1 month before the day, to walk the property showing the photographer, Ling. I also had to make sure the photographer was down for my “plan”, which she was. She had to act like a rookie, after all we were doing the photoshoot to help her “build her portfolio”. She made up ordinary model release forms, a fake name and acted like a rookie just stepping into the photography world. Her name was now “Lee” and she was a friend of my co-workers, wife… Yea I sold that shit!
With Sam now thinking my co-workers, wife’s, friend, will be taking our photographs to build her own portfolio. All I had to do was act calm, pray for nice weather, and down play the entire thing.
April 22, 2016
About an hour before we were supposed to meet “Lee” for this awkward photo shoot, my sister put out a chubby chick style table, Sam’s favorite bottle of champagne in a bucket of ice, two champagne glasses and a sign… I’ll get to the sign in a minute.
Sam came home and looked AMAZING! Like she normally does, but I feel like she was even hotter than normal! 😍 I made her laugh, complimented her like I normally would, and even stayed in bed until she hassled me “cmon babe, you got to get ready”… This is how a pro sells shit. Suddenly, she can’t wait for the photos.
She asked if i wanted to have a glass of Prosecco before we left… This is totally normal for us, BTW! So of course I said yes. I went downstairs to get the Prosecco. This gave me opportunity to grab the ring, which was in hiding. Ring in pocket, Prosecco in hand… It’s game time kid!
The weather was supposed to be crappy, but for some reason it was PERFECT! Slight breeze, warm, slightly overcast, bright… Amazing! Did I mention, Sam was looking like a BOMBSHELL? I even managed to convince her to buy a pair of cowboy boots she liked for this photo op, but that barely took any convincing… Not sure why? 😂
Off to the Farm we went!
We arrived and met this “rookie” of a photographer named Lee. Little did Sam know is that isn’t her real name, and she actually is a pro! We introduced ourselves, signed her whack-ass beginners model release forms and began our hike through the woods to the farm. Making Sam laugh, keeping my cool, even making a few inappropriate comments about our identity being stolen by the photographer and ending up on a “Living with STD’s” magazine cover… Clearly I’m still selling… Always selling!
As we walk about a half a mile, taking photos along the way, having honestly the time of my life with my best friend, the barn where it is going to go down is suddenly at my feet.
Photos at the barn, Sams looking amazing… Dude your getting nervous, your sweating… Blame it on the hike!
Sam is on one side of the barn, Ling asks me to go to the other for “a wide angle shot” holy shit that’s my que! Out of sight from Sam, I pick up the sign that reads “I am about to ask her….” Ling takes the pictures… Sam has no clue! I put the sign down and meet my beautiful fiancé-to-be on the frontside of the barn again!
Give her a kiss, act cool, she still doesn’t know, grab her hand, Ling gives me the signal that she is ready, I led Sam to the side of the barn, my right hand drops into my pocket.
We turn the corner, Sam sees the Chubby Chick table, an iced champagne bottle, two champagne glasses, she looks at me, and I’m already on my knee!! And just like that I asked my best friend, my one and only, to be my forever and ever!” – JOEY