Photographing a New York City Engagement / by Christian Hernandez

In late April, Cecil - a good friend from church - told me he was planning on proposing to his girlfriend Ally and asked if I would photograph his engagement in June in New York City. Without hesitation, I said a big YES!

At this point in my photography, I had never photographed an engagement as it was happening - I had done plenty of engagement photos after the couples had already been engaged for some time. Understandably, I was nervous and excited, but was up for a new experience to grow my skills and experience as a photographer. One thing that was invaluable to prepare myself for the occasion was going to the location the day before and running through the details/timeline of events with Cecil.

The story was that he was “away” for the weekend on a work trip to Philadelphia. Similarly, the story was that Ally would go to Central Park for some photos with a group of her girl friends.

She had no idea that Cecil was still in NYC. She suspected nothing.

He planned for several of her good friends line up on a walking path in Central Park, and as she walked down, each would give her a flower and say a specific phrase, like ”you are loved.” As she made her way down the path, he would be waiting for her at the end with flowers, surrounded by both of their families/friends while he proposed. This was the culmination of months of planning, gathering people, and working out logistics - and I was there to capture the occasion.

The first section of photos here shows some preparations happening, as well as friends and family in attendance praying over Cecil and Ally before the proposal occurred.

Here is what I captured.

LOCATION: 103 & Central Park West | New York, NY
GEAR USED: Canon 5D Mark IV | Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 | Canon 50mm f/1.4

After that, it was a matter of waiting until Ally arrived with a friend (who was actively stalling her while everything was getting arranged in the park. And after Ally arrived, the handing of the flowers and the walk down the path began. Here are close friends of hers that she had no idea were going to be there, handing her the flowers.

After the walk down, it was time for Cecil to propose.

She said yes.

After the big moment, it was time for celebration with family and friends.

And after some time celebrating, we walked around Central Park for some engagement portraits.

I’m so happy I was able to be a part of this and look forward to continuing to capture happy memories for people :)