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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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…

Glenda & Larry’s Wedding at Taylor Ranch

Love is patient. Love is kind. Love always perseveres!

What an HONOR it was for Cami and I to photograph Glenda & Larry’s beautiful wedding! Glenda & Cami have been friends for close to 20 years. When Glenda moved away from Charleston for her new job, she had no idea what was in store for her! One day as she arrived for services at Biltmore Church, she met an amazing man named Larry. They soon fell in love. Larry proposed to Glenda in front of all their friends one morning during their small-group gathering before church!

Their wedding was held at Taylor Ranch in Fletcher, NC. It was a picture-perfect day with mild temperatures, and clear blue skies. Glenda was absolutely stunning in her elegant wedding gown, complete with adorable lace-toped tennis shoes. Larry was quite dashing in his embroidered guayaberas Sunday shirt with tan blazer. Led by their good friend Kelvin, the ceremony was heartfelt and spirit-led. A casual reception in the open-air pavilion, overlooking the lake, was the perfect place for everyone to relax and celebrate with the newlyweds!

CONGRATULATIONS Glenda & Larry!!! We wish you all the best as you begin your 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!!!ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

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.ย  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!ย  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! ๐Ÿ™‚

Danielle & Andrew are Engaged!!!

I had SO MUCH FUN meeting and hanging out with Danielle & Andrew this weekend during their engagement session!!! I owe a huge “thank you” to my friend, Kim, for her kind referral. 🙂

Although Danielle & Andrew were both born and raised in southern California, the two met while working in Washington D.C. They now live in Greensboro, NC, where Andrew works in infectious diseases, and Danielle does research on the long-term effects of tobacco use. They really like being closer to Charleston, where Andrew’s parents live now. Andrew lived here for several years in his younger days. And Danielle fell in love with our charming city during their visits. So they decided to have their wedding here!

Meeting up at Waterfront Park, we were overwhelmed by how packed the park was with young people dressed to the hilt. Turns out it was graduation weekend! But we ducked down some side streets to avoid all the mayhem, and had a fantastic evening strolling around and capturing fun photos of them to commemorate this beautiful time in their lives!!!

Paulina & Ben’s Engagement

You may remember Paulina & Ben from one of the most unique secret proposals I’ve ever had the honor of capturing: https://chrisandcami.com/ben-proposes-to-paulina-at-the-holiday-festival-of-lights/. Fast forward to springtime, when I had the pleasure of photographing their beautiful engagement photos last evening!!!

We met up at White Point Garden to take advantage of the gorgeous spring sunshine, and the amazing backdrops that this historic park and surrounding neighborhood has to offer. To make it extra special, Paulina & Ben brought their adorable 2 year-old Goldendoodle, Cooper. We all know what a big dog-lover Cami is. So of course she jumped at the chance to join us so she could play with Cooper when we didn’t need him. ๐Ÿ™‚

For this session, I brought the flagship Nikon Z9, coupled with the incredibly versatile new 24-120 f4 Z-mount lens. This lens is in such high demand that it’s very hard to get. I’m lucky to have it in the bag! Attaching the WR-R11 wireless transmitter to the Z9 allowed me full control of the off-camera SB-5000 when needed.

We had an absolute BLAST exploring downtown Charleston and strolling along The Battery, photographing tons of great shots as we went! Paulina & Ben are such a perfect couple. I can’t wait to photograph their FABULOUS wedding!!!

Leslie & Colton’s Rainbow Row Engagement Session

I owe a HUGE thank you to Pam at First Citizens Bank for referring us to Leslie & Colton!

Leslie works at First Citizens. So after Colton proposed to her and she started looking for a photographer, Pam gave her our information. I am SO GLAD she did because these two are an AMAZING couple!!!

We met up at the famous pineapple fountain in Waterfront Park. Wandering through the French Quarter, up to Rainbow Row, and back down the cobblestone streets of Adgers Wharf gave us so many beautiful backdrops to work with. Our grand finale on the dock overlooking Charleston Harbor and the iconic Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge coincided with the last glow of daylight. It was a PERFECT day with two beautiful human beings! I’m so honored that I got to meet and work with these two!!!

Leslie & Colton, we wish all the happiness in the world as you begin this new journey together…

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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!ย  And I just fired away, catching every moment of the excitement!ย  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.ย  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!!!ย  Congratulations to Jamey and Lucas for pulling off a massive DOUBLE surprise! ย 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…

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!!! ๐Ÿ™‚
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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.
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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!!!”.
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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!!!
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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!!!
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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!

Ben Proposes to Paulina at the Holiday Festival of Lights

I had so much fun photographing Frank and Sommer’s wedding last year. The Kordonis’ and Peterman’s are such wonderful families! So when Ben called to ask if I would photograph his Surprise Proposal to Frank’s sister, Paulina, I was ECSTATIC!!!

Ben had come up with a really unique but challenging idea for his proposal. He wanted to do it at the James Island County Park Holiday Festival of Lights. There were two major obstacles against us…there is no light…and there is no privacy! However, I loved the idea and went out to the park on a scouting trip. Soon a plan began to take shape.

I reached out to my friend, Gary Coleman, who is a good friend and has been Santa’s private photographer at James Island County Park for 13 years. Since Santa doesn’t make appearances after Christmas Eve, Gary was free to come with me and help out. He was able to let the park staff know what was going on, and ask Laura, one of the kind staff members, to help us with “crowd control”.

Arriving early to set up, we mounted a flash on a Manfrotto Magic Arm on one side of the “Tunnel of Lights”, and a second flash on a light-stand in the forest on the other side. Both were dialed way down to 1/128th power so as not to over-ride the beautiful ambiance of the festival lighting. I hid a Nikon Z6II with a 24-70 f2.8 under the “mushroom” display, which I triggered with a WR-R10 remote control. And I hid back behind the “woodpecker” display with a Nikon D5 using a 70-200 f2.8. Both cameras were set to ISO 2500, f2.8, and 1/60th sec.

After a nice dinner together, Ben & Paulina arrived at the Festival of Lights for what she thought was just part of their date night. Secretly staying in touch with Ben via text, he let me know when they were approaching the “Tunnel of Light” that we had selected as the spot to do his thing. Once I got the word, Laura helped me ask the crowd on my side of the tunnel to wait a moment for him to have a little privacy (and a clear shot from my cameras). Meanwhile, Gary, who was stationed at the far end of the tunnel, asked everyone on that end to wait a moment for them. By the time the tunnel was clear, there were probably 30 people all hiding behind me and holding their breath in anticipation of the big moment!

Ben rounded the corner exactly as planned, took to his knee, and asked Paulina to be his wife. Of course SHE SAID YES!!! And the crowd of people that had silently assembled all broke out in thunderous applause and loud cheers of encouragement for the happy couple! ๐Ÿ™‚ Following this special moment, Gary and I took Ben & Paulina on a fun little mini-shoot throughout the Festival of Lights, before leaving them to enjoy their roasted marshmallows and celebrate this special moment in their lives.

CONGRATULATIONS Ben & Paulina! We wish you all the best as you begin this beautiful journey together…

Hunter & Sydney’s Surprise Proposal at White Point Garden

She was so surprised that she dropped her phone!!!

I had so much fun photographing Hunter’s surprise proposal to his beautiful girlfriend, Sydney! Hunter works on the nuclear subs in the Navy, and may be getting stationed in California soon. He and Sydney have been together for a year now, and are a match made in heaven! He knew in his heart this was the girl of his dreams. So he wanted to promise her his undying love before shipping out.

Hunter & Sydney had their first date at White Point Garden. So he and I arranged for him to propose in that beautiful park, underneath a giant oak tree, near the bench where they had their first kiss. It was a magical moment! And she was so surprised that she dropped her phone!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

CONGRATULATIONS Hunter & Sydney! We wish you all the best as you begin your new journey together!!!