French Riviera Surprise Proposal

This is my “how to” guide for French Riviera Surprise Proposals

Today, one of the most romantic ways of “popping the question” involves capturing this once-in-a-lifetime moment with a professional photographer. In the past couple years, I have seen the trend explode on the French Riviera. I love capturing a surprise proposal. For me, it’s much more than just capturing the jaw dropping moment, it’s also getting to know the couple, listening to their love story, and getting to work closely to organize a perfectly timed moment. 

So how does it work?

Normally (but of course not limited to), guys email me with no clue where to start. It’s intimidating planning a trip in the first part. Including this momentous event makes it even more stressful. No worries, I’ve done this a few times so I am happy to guide you along the process. 

First thing’s first. I always start with a location. I made a handy blog post about the most photogenic locations on the French Riviera. However, there is one thing you have to be more careful about when planning your surprise proposal: the crowds. It’s not easy to do a surprise proposal at Castle Hill in Nice because the crowds. One time I was lucky and the rain drove the crowds away. You can see that blog post here. Clients normally want a stunning vista for their surprise proposal. That’s why I think the Jardin Exotique in Eze is a stunning spot. You can see an example of that surprise proposal here. One note about the Jardin Exotique: you need to pay 6 euros per person to enter. A small price to pay but just make sure you have the money on you. Lately, another favorite spot for me to do surprise proposals is the beach in Villefranche-sur-Mer because the beach clears out in the evening before dinner and the couple usually has a lot of freedom to explore the area. You can check out a photo shoot in this location HERE

Ok, so once we have the location figured out I normally send maps and pictures to clarify everything so that there is no confusion. 99.99 percent of surprise proposals happen just before sunset for amazing lighting. Also, this gives you the chance to plan a romantic dinner (ask me for my recommendations). Another important factor: she is going to want to look back at these photos and really love her outfit. Planning before dinner gives you the opportunity to tell her to dress nicely for your splurge fancy French Dinner. 

How do I blend into the background?

A lot of people wonder if I wear camo or if I’m hiding in the bushes. This is France people! Every other person carries a camera with them. I play tourist (complete with fanny pack?). When the couple arrives he sees me snapping away. I wait for them to get into position and get ready for the signal (down on one knee). 

TIP: Long speeches with love proclamations are adorable but consider saving it for the wedding. You are going to be really nervous and about 75 percent of long proposal speeches end up sinking as you forget your lines, the paper gets torn in sweaty tremblings, etc. My advice: keep it simple. Or continue to confess your love over dinner. 


During a surprise proposal communication is key. I use both WhatsApp and Imessage to communicate. We swap messages in the morning to make sure everything is running according to plan and normally as the couple is leaving the hotel/airBNB so that I can plan things on my timetable. 

TIP: turn off push notifications so that she doesn’t see my text response! 

I’m so happy that I get to shoot these special moments. These are the memories that we will be sharing with kids and grandchildren years to come. Just think, having professional photos to show them how young, hot and romantic you were!! ;-P 

For more information don’t forget to check out my pricing and packages HERE

Also, check out the FAQ’s

Don’t forget to check out Vince and Tara’s romantic surprise proposal on the French Riviera HERE


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