Branden & Kendelle’s Surprise Proposal on Kiawah Island

When Julia told me Branden & Kendelle’s story, and explained that he was going to propose to her beautiful daughter the day before Thanksgiving, I knew right away that Cami and I needed to delay our travel plans by a day so that we could capture this moment!!!

Julia and I concocted the ruse that she hired me to photograph family portraits during their visit to Kiawah Island. We all met up at The Ocean Course.  I loved the colorful outfits they had all chosen.  And we had a blast, capturing a variety of shots, including their Christmas Card photo. Then towards the end of the shoot, I suggested some candid “walking on the beach” photos of each couple. When it was Branden & Kendelle’s turn, he took her hand, led her down the beach for a little privacy, dropped to his knee, and ask her to be his wife. It was SUCH a special moment!!!

Afterwards, everyone congratulated the newly engaged couple with hugs and high-fives. The others went inside for drinks at the Ryder Cup Bar while Branden & Kendelle did some engagement photos with me before meeting up with them in the Atlantic Room for dinner. As soon as the rest of the gang left, the overcast skies cracked open a sliver of light at the horizon, allowing the AMAZING sunset to shine through for the amazing couple!

CONGRATULATIONS Branden & Kendelle!  You have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving!!! We wish you all the best as you begin your new journey together…

Alex & Hannah’s Surprise Proposal at White Point Garden

Alex’s heartfelt email arrived on my desktop back in July: “I’m looking to propose to my girlfriend on the evening of either 11/11/22 or 11/12/22 and would love to have the surprise proposal photographed.”. (I owe my good friend and amazing photographer, Michael Cyra, a HUGE Thank You for recommending us to him!)

This contact sparked a wonderful series of emails and phone conversations with Alex, in which we concocted a secret plan of action. Alex & Hannah were going to be visiting Charleston that weekend. We decided that after a fun tour of The Aquarium, he was going to let her know he had arranged for a private walking tour around historic Downtown Charleston for the two of them. And they had to meet their “tour guide” under a certain tree at White Point Garden.

When the big day arrived, I got to the park ahead of schedule, and set up my spot. Due to the wind (remnants of Tropical Storm Nicole that had passed through days before), Alex and I had to call an audible. We needed to reverse their positions so that Hannah’s hair wouldn’t be blowing in her face! 🙂 Alex handled the change of directions with confidence and discretion…expertly guiding Hannah to a beautiful spot on the lawn, underneath the avenue of oaks that line the edge of the park.

Dropping to his knee, Alex delivered a beautiful speech, and asked Hannah to be his wife. SHE SAID YES!!! The park was filled with tons of tourists, who all noticed what was going on, and broke out in applause afterwards! It was such a special moment.

Following their surprise proposal, Alex, Hannah, and I enjoyed a wonderful stroll through the park, into the surrounding old historic district, ending up along The Battery for some dramatic shots with the sun setting in the distance over the Ashley River!

CONGRATULATIONS Alex & Hannah!!! We wish you all the best as you begin this new journey together…

Izzy & Stephen’s Surprise Proposal

It was such an honor being a part of Stephen’s Secret Proposal to his beautiful girlfriend, Izzy, last night!

Stephen & Izzy have been together for 3 years now.  Although her family now lives in Florida, her dad is originally from Colombia, which explains her gorgeous Latin complexion.  His is lives in North Carolina.  The two of them met at a college in NC and have been dating ever since.  They live near Charlotte, where she works for a marketing agency, and he works for the Whitewater Center (like a Theme Park for outdoor enthusiasts).

When his company purchased the gorgeous Middleburg Plantation in Huger, Stephen knew EXACTLY where he wanted to propose!  So he called me and we came up with a plan.  Because his company has had surveyors, maintenance workers, photographers, influencers, and marketing teams out at the new property to get it ready for launch, he said it would be easy to pretend that I was out there to photograph the grounds for the company brochures.  We agreed on the perfect spot under the long avenue of amazing oak trees for me to photograph his surprise proposal.  And sure enough, it worked like a charm!!!

CONGRATULATIONS Stephen & Izzy!  We wish you all the happiness in the world as you begin your new journey together…

Matt’s Middleton Place Proposal to Becca

Becca & Matt are the most adorable couple ever!!!

When Matt called to ask if I would capture his surprise proposal to his girlfriend, Becca, I was super excited. He had already put so much thought into how he was going to propose, and had so many fantastic ideas. I could tell he was head-over heals in love. And I couldn’t wait to be a part of it!  We spent the next few weeks planning out every detail.

Matt knew how much Becca loved gardens and flowers. So he had chosen the Octagonal Garden at Middleton Place as the spot where he would ask her to marry him. Isn’t that awesome! I arrived at “the spot” a little early that morning to get in place. Right on cue, Matt led Becca around the corner and over to our pre-chosen location. Taking a knee in front of the girl of his dreams, he asked Becca to be his wife. She said YES!!!  🙂  I could hardly contain my emotions, as I witnessed the whole thing from inside my viewfinder.

Afterwards, we had so much fun, exploring the gorgeous grounds at Middleton Plantation, getting to know each other, and photographing a variety of authentic engagement photos for them to commemorate this special day! CONGRATULATIONS Matt & Becca!!!

Nick & Nicole’s Secret Proposal at The Sanctuary

After weeks and weeks of planning every detail for Nick’s secret proposal, we had to call a last-minute audible!!!

Nick and I had worked so hard to come up with the perfect plan for him to ask his beautiful girlfriend, Nicole, to marry him. We had picked a pristine beach at the northern end of Kiawah Island as the backdrop. We had chosen the perfect time of day to catch that “golden hour” light before sunset. But all our plans fell apart minutes before our scheduled time when the skies opened up, pelting buckets of rain down from the sky!!!

Fortunately, Nick and Nicole’s parents had secretly flown in to surprise the couple after the proposal. Since his parents were staying at The Sanctuary, they quickly scouted out a secluded spot indoors and out of the rain. They even placed a trail of rose petals leading Nick to “the spot” where he would do his magic. It worked out PERFECTLY!!!

Arriving right on cue, Nicole said later that she could sense Nick was acting a little strange. But she wasn’t sure why? Then Nick hit his mark, turned to face the love of his life, and dropped to one knee. It was a truly magical moment. Nicole burst into a HUGE grin as she realized what was going on…and she couldn’t stop smiling the rest of the night!

Afterwar she said “Yes”, we were able to incorporate the beautiful hallways, archways, and grand staircase of the famous hotel into a fun authentic engagement shoot. I got some neat candids of Nick & Nicole’s parents surprising them and checking out Nicole’s AMAZING ring. And of course we captured a few nice family portraits to commemorate the occasion.

CONGRATULATIONS Nick & Nicole!!! We wish you all the best as you begin your new journey together!

Richard Surprises Stephanie with Folly Beach Proposal

SHE SAID YES!!!

It was such an honor capturing Richard’s Surprise Proposal to Stephanie on Folly Beach last evening!

This amazing couple met at Southwest College, where Stephanie played hard to get at first. But before long, her and Richard became inseparable. They’ve been best friends ever since. After 5 years together, Richard FINALLY dropped to his knee at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean and asked Stephanie to be his wife. 🙂

While making plans to vacation on Folly Beach together, Stephanie thought it would be fun to schedule a couple’s session. Since Richard had already bought the ring, and was trying to think of the perfect time to pop the question, he thought this could work in his favor. Together, he and I worked out a secret phrase so that half-way through their couple’s session, he would know it was time to do his magic. Richard’s brother had joined us under the ruse of “helping hold your phones and sunglasses”. Unknown to Stephanie, he was also secretly hiding the ring! At our pre-determined time of 8:00 PM, I distracted Stephanie by asking to photograph a couple shots of her by herself…giving Richard time to get the ring from David. Richard then took Stephanie’s hand and led her down the shoreline for a little privacy. Facing her with waves gently lapping at their feet, he opened his heart and asked her to marry him. It was SO AWESOME!!!

CONGRATULATIONS Richard & Stephanie! We wish you all the best as you begin this beautiful new stage in your journey together…

Tres Surprises Keri with a Secret Proposal

I owe a HUGE “Thank You” to Tres’ mom, who called to vet photographers in Charleston for her son, and decided we were worthy of this special event!

Tres and Keri met online and have been inseparable since. Tres has known for a while that Keri was “the one”. In fact, he’s had her engagement ring since August!!! He wanted to wait for the right moment, and to make sure Keri had a very special proposal. I would say he pulled that off in spades!

Tres is from Alabama. But he and Keri now live in Charlotte. This weekend, they planned a fun “get-away” for a few days in Port Royal, with a side-trip to historic Charleston. It’s been so much fun working with Tres the last couple months, secretly scheming about how to make his proposal absolutely perfect!

Arriving at White Point Garden early, I scouted our location under the avenue of oak trees, and placed two branches in an “X” formation so Tres knew the right spot. I took my position on the curb, hid my cameras under a towel, and pretended to be a tourist reading a map. Arriving right on cue, Tres led Keri to the beautiful location he had picked, dropped to his knee underneath the gorgeous cathedral of oaks, and asked Keri to be his wife!!! 🙂

Getting to know Tres & Keri afterwards, as we walked around historic downtown, was so much fun! We captured a ton of fun engagement photos for them. These were “authentic” engagement photos because they weren’t staged months later, but actually took place moments after she said YES!!!

Eventually it was time for this amazing couple to head off to the next part of Tres’ surprise…a fantastic dinner cruise around Charleston Harbor.

Please help me in saying CONGRATULATIONS to Tres & Keri!!! We wish you all the best as you begin this new journey together…

Lea & Frank are ENGAGED!!!

Frank has been a fantastic friend, a fabulous neighbor (4 doors down from us), and a fun colleague (he’s an awesome wedding videographer that I frequently get the privilege of working with). Yesterday, it was my distinct honor to help Frank capture this secret proposal to his beautiful girlfriend, Lea!!!

May 8th has special meaning to Frank & Lea. It’s Lea’s son’s birthday. It’s Mother’s Day. And it’s the day Frank’s beloved father passed away. Knowing how special this day already was in their lives, Frank wanted to make it even MORE meaningful to the two of them! So we came up with a mischievous ruse together…

Frank told Lea that he booked me to photograph a special “Mother & Son” photo shoot for her on Mother’s Day. We even had Cami print out a fake gift certificate for him to put in her Mother’s Day card. When I met up with them at the picturesque Stono River Park that morning, I pretended to follow along, photographing a variety of portraits of just Josiah and his mom as we walked along the path.

Arriving at the entrance to the boardwalk, I told Leah “Hey, we should get a few shots of you and Frank while we’re here!” This was Frank’s cue to lead her out onto the boardwalk, overlooking the peaceful marsh. When he got to the middle, he pretended to tie his shoe, and then surprised her with a beautiful diamond ring! Lea’s expression speaks for itself!!!  🙂

CONGRATULATIONS Lea & Frank! We wish you all the best as you begin this new journey together!!!

Tyler & Melody’s Surprise Waterfront Proposal

Melody got a new Fuji XE4 and has turned into quite an amazing photo buff. So Tyler thought hiring me to give her one of my private photography mentoring sessions (https://chrisandcami.com/workshops/private-mentoring/) would be the perfect ruse for his proposal. HE WAS RIGHT!!!

It’s been so much fun secretly scheming with Tyler over the last few weeks to come up with the perfect plan to surprise the love of his life. Finally the BIG DAY arrived! I met up with Tyler & Melody at the famous Pineapple Fountain in Waterfront Park. After going over Melody’s camera settings, and practicing a few techniques, we went on a fun walk-about around the picturesque back alleys and colorful walkways of our historic city. Melody and I would stop periodically to shoot photos together. And I would suggest they do a nice portrait in front of whatever backdrop had caught our eyes. Since they are moving into a new house soon, and wanted photos to decorate it with, the “let me get a shot of you guys here for your house” excuse was a natural part of Tyler’s plan.

Now let me back up here for a minute. Believe it or not, Tyler & Melody got together because of the pandemic! Originally from L.A., Melody moved to Dallas, where she enjoys her career as a financial planner. Tyler travels a lot for his work as a medical consultant.  Originally from Michigan, he lived in the same apartment complex as Melody. In fact, they were neighbors on the same floor, and kind of knew each other in passing. When the pandemic shuttered a lot of travel, forced everyone to quarantine indoors, and curtailed extra curricular activities, Tyler & Melody began hanging out and became good friends. Then they began hanging out a LOT MORE!!! Until…well…here we are today.

Tyler really wanted to propose with the gorgeous Charleston Harbor behind them. So we had planned to conclude our photo walk down at the dock with the soft glow of twilight. Arriving at our location, it was miraculously void of all tourists and fishermen! Tyler and I had a secret sign arranged so that he would know when to make his move. Right on cue, as we stood on the open dock with the famous Arthur Ravenel Bridge standing as witness, Tyler NAILED IT!!! Melody was so surprised!  It was a beautiful moment I’ll never forget.

Some heartfelt words were spoken by Tyler. A GORGEOUS ring was placed on Melody’s finger. And SHE SAID YES!!! Please help me in congratulating this amazing couple! 🙂

Lucas Surprises Callie with a Secret Proposal

I got a call over a month ago from Jamey who was interested in booking a family photo session…with a twist! Jamey and her family were going to be vacationing on Isle of Palms. She wanted me to photograph their family portraits on the beach. At the same time, her oldest son, Lucas, was going to be proposing to his longtime girlfriend. She wanted to know if that could even be done, and how we might work it out so that Callie didn’t suspect anything. After sharing some ideas with Jamie, and talking it over with Lucas, a doubly-devious plan was hatched! 🙂

Lucas invited Callie to join his family on their beach vacation. Jamie booked the family portrait session with me, and told everyone (including Callie) what day and time they were all expected to be dressed and ready for photos. Arriving for the shoot that afternoon, I rang the bell at their beautiful beach house, and went inside to meet everyone. As introductions were being made, Jamey explained that she wasn’t ready yet and to go ahead and start with a few couple’s photo of Lucas & Callie. Callie & Lucas had just bought a house together, and had talked about getting a few photos of them made during the family session that they could hang in their new home. So this all seemed totally natural to Callie.

After photographing a nice variety of couple’s shots for them, I suggested some casual candids of them holding hands and walking down the beach. We picked a spot where they would turn around. This was Lucas’ cue. He and I had pre-arranged which side he would walk on, which way he would turn, and how to drop to one knee at the turning point to completely catch Callie off guard.

It worked like MAGIC!!! Lucas did a fabulous job of hitting his mark. Callie was completely surprised by the whole thing!  And I just fired away, catching every moment of the excitement!  After she said “YES”, Callie & Lucas came back down the beach towards me. At this point, Luca’s parents and his younger brother, who were all hiding back at the boardwalk, came running out to join them and congratulate them!

We still had plenty of light left to photograph a variety of family portraits. And we capped off the session with some gorgeous shots of Lucas & Callie (with a sparkly new diamond on her finger) in the dramatic setting sun. BUT WAIT!!! The surprise wasn’t over yet!

After we got back to the beach house, Lucas told Callie she should go ahead and call her parents to let them know the good news. Little did Callie know, her parents had secretly arrived in town the day before. While I was out photographing the “couples photos”, Jamey called them to say the coast was clear. They then snuck into the house while we were doing the family photos, and hid upstairs. When Callie face-timed her Mom, she answered and pretended she didn’t have a clue. Thinking her parents were miles away in Georgia, Callie excitedly began sharing the “big news” of how Lucas had asked her to marry him.  While she was mid-sentence, Callie’s parents magically appeared on the staircase coming down towards her!!! The look of utter disbelief on her face was simply priceless!

What an AMAZING honor it was to capture Lucas’ Surprise Proposal to Callie!!!  Congratulations to Jamey and Lucas for pulling off a massive DOUBLE surprise!  And CONGRATULATIONS to Callie & Lucas!!! They are an absolutely adorable couple! We wish them all the happiness in the world as they begin this new journey together…

Natalia and Andres in Key West

Photographing proposals is one of my favorite things to shoot! So when a random couple came up to me in Key West last week, let me know they’d just gotten engaged, and asked if I would take a few photos, I jumped at the chance!!!

Jason, David, and I were in Key West photographing another one of our Moto Photo Adventures episodes, which you’ll be able to watch on our channel at http://youtube.com/MotoPhotoAdventures in a few weeks. As we walked around, enjoying the sights, photographing the chickens and tourists alike, we happened upon the famous Hemingway House.

As we gathered outside this popular tourist stop to get a glimpse of the 6-toed cats, and inquire about tour costs, Andres must have noticed my more professional looking camera. While Natalia was at the booth buying their tour tickets, he told me that he had just asked Natalia to be his wife! How cool is that?!? And the best part is, she said YES! He asked if I would mind taking a couple photos for them to commemorate the occasion. And of course I too said YES!!! 🙂

We only had a couple minutes before they were to enter for their tour. Quickly switching from my “travel photographer” hat to my “couples portraits” hat, I captured a few fun portraits for Natalia and Andres while everyone watched. They were so much fun to work with!!!  Andres was tall and strong…his khaki pants and penny loafers an indication of his laid-back demeanor.  Natalia was stunning with her flowing hair and beautiful Bimini-blue blouse.  It was an an absolute delight to spend a few minutes with these two amazing people before we headed down the road to find our campsite for the night.

Many thanks to Natalia and Andres for allowing me to have the honor of photographing their first portraits as a newly engaged couple.

Evan Surprises Brianna with his Proposal

Brianna & Even met and fell in love at Winthrop University. Now living in Charlotte, he’s a financial advisor, and she’s a flight instructor. This week they came to Charleston to run the city’s half-marathon race, and to celebrate 6 years together. Evan thought this would be the PERFECT time to ask Brianna to be his wife!!! 🙂
 
I was so excited when Evan called a few weeks ago to ask me to photograph this special occasion for the two of them. He told me all about their story and how much he adored Brianna. I was hooked! So we began secretly coming up with the perfect plan on how to pull this off without her finding out.
 
When the big day arrived, I went down to White Point Garden early to scout it out and get set up. We had picked one of the beautiful avenues of oaks as the spot for him to propose. Finding the perfect angle with the best light, I placed a marker so that he knew exactly where to stop and do his magic! Then I settled into “hiding in plain sight”, sitting on the curb, pretending I was a random tourist just resting and checking his map. Later, Brianna said, “You are so sneaky…I never even noticed you sitting there!!!”.
 
Once they arrived, Even led her down a couple paths to keep Brianna guessing. Then he took her into the alley where he dropped to one knee under the majestic cathedral of giant oak limbs towering above them, and asked Brianna for her hand in marriage! It was incredibly MAGICAL!!!
 
But the surprise didn’t end there! Evan had also secretly arranged for Brianna’s twin sister, Marissa, to fly in that afternoon and hide around the corner. After he proposed, he signaled for Marissa to come out from hiding and the look on Brianna’s face was absolutely PRICELESS!!!
 
Before the three of them went off to celebrate, we strolled around the park, and up some of the old historic alleys, capturing some beautiful engagement photos to commemorate this special time in their lives. CONGARULATIONS Evan & Brianna!!! We wish you all the best as you begin your new journey together!