Planning a surprise proposal isn't always the easiest task and, as a photographer, they are some of the trickiest ones to shoot. Now imagine planning a surprise proposal that involves a hike and a cliffside popping of the question and you've got yourself one heck of a challenge. So when Nirav contacted me wanting to propose to his girlfriend Rose at Taft Point, I was ecstatic and couldn't wait to help him plan and photograph this important moment in their lives.
When helping Nirav plan his proposal to Rose, the biggest obstacle was, well, me. We needed to make sure that she didn't see me before he popped the question. The problem for them was that they had never been to Taft Point before and really wouldn't have a great idea of where to stand to get those epic shots or even how to get there. Luckily, I am super familiar with Taft Point and would be able to give him directions on how to get there. Of course, I wanted to make sure they stood in the exact perfect place and because it just so happened that Nirav's excuse for going to Yosemite was that they were attending a colleague's elopement, we were able to concoct the perfect story.
We decided that I would hike out to Taft Point first and meet them at the overlook under the guise that I was his colleague's photographer who was told to wait for them because the rest of the group was waiting behind the rock near the cliff in anticipation for a group photo shot together. In the lead up to this, Nirav sent me outfit ideas for him and Rose and I sent him ideas of what to bring for their big adventure. Because of the story we came up with, we had a little bit more freedom in approaching this, especially with the outfits. Nirav was able to get input from Rose herself on what she liked and wanted to wear. We actually talked about her wearing a white dress which she 100% shut down. Funny enough, after all was said and done, this outfit suggestion came up and she said that she shot it down because she couldn't imagine showing up to someone's elopement photos wearing white. I almost died of laughter because, well, she wasn't wrong!
On the day of, all went as planned and when we met at our agreed meeting spot, I introduced myself and pretended to not know Nirav at all and told them they needed to hurry and head over to where their friends were behind the rock. I also let them know (because this was the part that I wanted to make sure we got right) to remind the "group" where to stand once they were all ready. The plan was for them to get over there and obviously there wouldn't be a group so Nirav would tell Rose something along the lines of "let's go check out the cliff that photographer pointed out". And this is when the magic happened!
I waited from a distance as they stepped out onto the cliff and took in the view of Yosemite Valley below them. As Rose stood closest to the edge and looked out into the distance, behind her, Nirav was getting down on one knee and ready to pop the question. From my vantage point, I couldn't hear anything but I could see Rose's expression and it was incredible. As soon as they walked away from the cliff, I ran over to congratulate them and do an actual introduction of myself now that I was no longer pulling a charade as someone else'e photographer.
We spend the rest of the evening exploring the area and celebrating their big moment. Rose couldn't stop looking at her ring (I mean, who could blame her?!) and Nirav couldn't stop looking at Rose. We talked about their lives in San Francisco, what their wedding might look like, and took in one of the most incredible sunsets I have ever seen. They popped a bottle of champagne that I had snuck in my backpack with me and we all toasted to their engagement. It was absolutely perfect. As the orange and purple sunset faded to dark, we started our hike back to our cars but the night wasn't quite over. Nirav wanted to check out the night sky so I took them to one of my favorite views in Yosemite: Tunnel View. I pointed out the faint glow of the Milky Way (the nearby fires made it a little tricky to see) and we just enjoyed those final moments of adventure before they drove back to their hotel to celebrate.
It was an incredible evening and one that none of us will ever forget! If you are thinking about proposing to your partner and looking for someone to capture that special moment, reach out! I would love to help you with such an important milestone in your relationship.