This was one of the most exciting wedding proposals yet! Many of the couples I work with here in Lake Tahoe are visiting from their hometown. So, most of the surprise engagements that I photograph are at locations that I recommend. But in this case, the groom-to-be proposed at a family member’s private lakefront dock.

Okay, so here was the plan. First, a morning snowshoe hike along the shore of Lake Tahoe. After returning to the lakefront house, he guides her onto the dock to admire the view. At the end of the dock, he gets down on one knee and pops the big question!

You might be wondering what made this surprise proposal so exciting to photograph. Well, I usually shoot these special events in a public location. With other people around, I can easily remain anonymous. As the couple approaches, I simply point my camera towards a mountain or a bird and act like I am taking landscape photos. In this case, there was nobody else around. And as it turned out, the only way for me to stay “undercover” was to squeeze under the dock.

Now, I should mention that it snowed several feet in the days before. This made a snowshoe hike a perfect cover story for him. But it meant that I had to hide in a deep snowbank under the dock while they crossed the dock above me. And then, I had to posthole through deep snow (without making noise or being seen) to quickly reach my shooting location. My heart was beating fast!

Surprise wedding proposal during winter on a lake pier.

My preparations paid off. When he got down on one knee, my shooting location gave me a great angle. At a minimum, I believe there are two important aspects of professional proposal photos. First, the photos should include facial expressions. You have to see that surprised, joyful reaction! Second, the background should be picturesque.

Additional Angles and More Photos

Some photographers would call the photoshoot a success at this point. But I wanted to capture additional angles and more photos for this couple. I waded back through fresh snow to reach the dock. Then, I sprinted to join them at the end of the dock.

Lake Tahoe wedding proposal in winter.
Snowy winter wedding proposal on a dock.

As they celebrated together and savored the moment, I shot some great photos of them snowshoeing back along the dock. The setting was gorgeous. To be honest, it’s hard to find a lakefront location in Lake Tahoe that isn’t picturesque!

There was another surprise coming. While these two were on their snowshoe hike, friends and family arrived at the house and started decorating for a surprise engagement party!

From where they stood on the deck the whole group cheered loudly and congratulated the couple. At this point, the secret was out and the bride-to-be knew there was serious planning behind this day!

Winter engagement photo in front of Lake Tahoe.

Returning along the dock, I continued to shoot some beautiful, candid photos of the happy couple. In the photo above and below, you can see how far I ran to get those close-up photos!

Surprise Engagement Party Photos

I entered the house ahead of the couple and photographed their grand entrance!

Their surprise engagement party began with congratulations and celebratory hugs from everyone!

There is so much raw emotion in these photos. These are the photos that will remind this couple of the excitement they felt on the day.

Before I left, I shot a fun group portrait of the happy couple, their friends, and family members. I love the excitement and joy I captured in this photo!

Surprise Wedding Proposal Photos

Are you wondering how to get professional photos of your Lake Tahoe proposal? I can help. Use my contact page to shoot me a message and let’s talk!

My pricing for proposal photo includes an initial consultation. It also includes planning meetings over the phone to discuss your location and the best timing. On the day of the photoshoot, I will be incognito while I photograph your surprise proposal. After your partner says “Yes!” I will shoot some relaxed engagement photos to capture these memories and share the good news with your friends and family.

Once the photos are ready, you will have access to an online gallery to enjoy and share the images. You will also receive a link to download full-resolution copies of the photos.

Lastly, I love working with couples and capturing memories throughout the engagement and wedding journey. If I also photograph your wedding, your surprise proposal photography is free!

To see more examples of my work, check out my proposal photography portfolio.

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