Taylor + Amanda’s Surprise Proposal – Old Barn Farm – Centreville, MI

Some thoughts from Tina… Surprise Proposal sessions are all about capturing the moment in the greatest degree of authenticity possible. It is organic and 90-95 percent unposed. They are meant to be the unfolding of events as they transpire, telling the unique story of two people who love one another. They are a token of remembrance between them and their hope for a new beginning together. The resulting photos tell the story of their decision to love one another more clearly than words alone.

Because it is, after all, a personally epic moment in our lives when we choose to love.

I’m not sure whose heart was pounding loudest…Taylor’s… or mine.

Quietly I crouched behind a super-heavy-duty-state-park-style trash can on the upper end of the boardwalk, as a breathtaking sunset began to pick up its pace all around. The autumn air was crisp, and I could almost hear the whisper of leaves gently falling as I surveyed my surroundings, wondering about the sweet young lady I’d not yet met, and waited for the couple to arrive.

Taylor had thought of everything. First of all, he picked a truly gorgeous setting. The boardwalk on the water’s edge at Covered Bridge Farm near Three Rivers, Michigan is SO lovely. With the leaves almost to their peak and the sunset showing off like that, it would have been beautiful just as it was. But beautiful wasn’t quite enough… it needed to be perfect. From the lights he placed in the trees, to the sign he personally crafted, from the dazzling engagement ring, to the carefully planned timeline, from their families hidden in the trees, to the photographer hiding on the boardwalk; Taylor truly had thought of everything.

And there I was, breathlessly waiting behind the beautiful trash can. Trying to be still. Trying to be quiet. Trying to think skinny so they wouldn’t see me. And I was nervous. Nervous I was somehow going to miss the moment, or maybe I would peek out too soon and ruin the whole thing, or what if my camera lens wouldn’t focus properly in the quickly deepening shadows. (Taylor, are you this nervous too?) I got the signal from their families hidden in the trees: They had arrived!

The gentle breeze soon began to waft the sound of faint voices and quiet laughter coming my direction as undiscernible conversation passed between the couple. They were strolling straight towards the trash can, just as planned.

Then suddenly, I heard nothing. No more footsteps. No more conversation. Was it time? Dare I peek out? Was she quietly crying with joy or were they just silently admiring the sunset together? Somebody SAY something! Carefully, I peeked out, and released a burst of shutter flies that would make the paparazzi jealous. All the nerves fell away. They were in the beautiful moment that would begin their journey of togetherness, and it was oh so precious.

After hugs and tears and more hugs and (…can’t she hear my camera?) Taylor finally let her know they were not alone. “Hello, there.” I quietly called, with the emotion of a mother’s heart. We smiled and Taylor explained their families were there as well. They had heard my greeting and were quickly making their way to exchange their own hugs and tears and congratulations.

And the shutter continued to fly.

But the hopeful hearts of Taylor and Amanda… I think they had begun to soar!


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  1. Amanda

    November 2nd, 2019 at 3:18 am

    Oh my gosh, this is so sweet!! Congrats to the happy couple 🙂

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