Being a destination engagement photographer is not all about planning, about carefully-staged shoots set in tranquil gardens and luxurious hotels. On the contrary, often the best gifts come to us photographers amidst the hustle and bustle of life, on busy streets crowded with strangers caught up in the whirlwind around them.
Recently, my work took me far away from sunny Croatia, into the foggy heart of London, one of the largest cities in Europe. Naturally, I could not resist doing some exploring, so on one fine Saturday when the sun broke through the clouds, crowning buildings and shimmering along the Thames, I went out for an adventure.
As on any fine summer day - rare in rainy England - the streets were packed with vivacious people, with tourists, families, young people, and of course, couples. The atmosphere was akin to that of a great carnival, with everyone out to worship the sun and revel in the joyousness of being alive.
I was therefore not surprised to hear lovely music emanating from Piccadilly Square: All Of Me from John Legend danced on the breeze, amplified by the voices of a choir which stood on the steps before a beautiful young woman.
Years spent working as a destination wedding photographer - along with having been born a romantic at heart - has given me a keen eye for love unfolding, so I immediately noticed the nine red roses in her hand. “Ah ha!” I thought; “Someone is about to get engaged.”
Everything after that moment happened in a flash of emotion and inspiration: As the lyrics crooned, "'Cause all of me loves all of you", a young man stepped out in front of the choir, and my camera found its way into my hands. Astonishment and tears dawned on the face of the bride-to-be as her handsome prince knelt down before her, professing his devotion for all the world to see. “Yes!” was of course the heartfelt answer to his question, and thunderous applause erupted all around - along with tears of joy dampening the faces of total strangers - as my shutter click-clicked away.
I felt on that day like I captured something too precious to be described in words - the moment love comes to full bloom, the moment it overflows its cup and spills into the souls of all those around it, a wave of joy rippling out through the great sea of humanity. I wished in that moment that every couple could preserve the memory of such beauty, create lasting impressions of something so perfect and so fleeting, so that it might never slip away.
Too many people do not realise there is indeed a way to do just that - not all engagement sessions need to be staged, to be set up after the question has been popped, used only to commemorate the event once the initial thrill has passed and the couple can pose calmly together. On the contrary, one can hire a destination photographer to go “incognito” and act as a secret engagement photographer, blending into the crowd as I did and then springing into action just as you pop the question to your beloved.
Capturing that moment is so important; in many ways, it's equally as important as creating lasting images of you and your love saying “I do”. Never again will you and your partner stand on the cusp of such a well of emotion - love, anticipation, fear, shock, awe, and delight - as that moment when you cross that first bridge of agreeing to truly commit your lives to one another. As beautiful and touching as weddings are, they are most often a “sure thing”, where the commitment has been planned, the vows have been written, and each person is ready and willing to set the relationship in stone as an eternal bond. The engagement*, on the other hand, is where it all begins - and the look of knowing, for the very first time, that someone wants to spend the rest of his or her life with you, can never be recreated.
* Book your secret engagement session until 31st of December 2015 and get 10% discount on any engagement package. More info at