Shane & Keri's Surprise Proposal // Battery Spencer, San Francisco
When Shane reached out to me cold through Facebook to photograph his surprise proposal to Keri, I was really flattered but also curious as to why he chose me.
He apparently saw some of my work online and really liked it - the outdoor natural lighting was a big factor and he thought my style and personality matched up well with what he was looking for. It's always nice to get these cold leads and hear random people admire my work - these are the things that give me that creative energy and keeps me going.
I talked to Shane a little about his relationship with Keri, and their history with San Francisco. They're actually from San Diego, but enjoy visiting SF a lot and it had a special place in their hearts.
He decided to propose at Battery Spencer with the bridge in the background. And I got excited because I've always wanted to shoot there - the bridge and City in the backdrop has always been an iconic image in my mind. To me, it just gives off the perfect Bay Area vibes.
A Tale of Two Bridges
It turns out the two of them actually had a fun inside joke about the Golden Gate Bridge. Keri had visited San Francisco once as a child, and apparently her family was in a rush to get to the Oakland Airport. So they missed a turn to go towards the Golden Gate Bridge and instead just took the Bay Bridge to Oakland.
And at that point, it was much easier to just let Keri think that it was the iconic Golden Gate Bridge LOL. It wasn't until much later in life that she found out the truth. I couldn't stop laughing when I heard it!
Overcoming Complications With The Shoot
Getting back to the shoot, everything didn't go exactly as planned... Shane and I had coordinated earlier and he'd let me know when we was on the way to Battery Spencer. Our plan was to meet there at 4PM to get the last hour of sunlight. I got there about 15-30 minutes earlier just to scope out the place and plan my shots.
So I hear he's on the way from Fisherman's Wharf at around 3:30PM. And I'm like, great, I'm already here and just have to wait. He says his Uber just dropped him off and he's walking up, but I don't see him anywhere. We text each other about what we see and where we're at, and apparently the Uber driver dropped him off at the wrong place!
They were left at this random trail bout a few minutes before where Battery Spencer is, totally out of reach for me because it's a one-way road and not walking distance.
This is all happening while he's planning to propose to Keri who is just enjoying the views without a clue as to what's really happening. What a mess.
So a few minutes later, I get a text from Shane saying he didn't want to wait, and just proposed right there on the spot. I was pretty sad I missed it, and wish I'd given clearer directionsv even though Battery Spencer is very obviously marked on map apps with directions.
But it turned out it wasn't all that bad, I knew we could make things work and I could capture the happiness of the moment they were feeling, even if I didn't get the actual moment of proposal. I went ahead and drove all the way back around to pick them up at the trail and drove them to the REAL Battery Spencer. By this time it was about 4:30PM and the sun was just slowly fading. It was also a very cold and windy winter day with extremely cool blue tones, typical SF weather.
There was still about thirty minutes of light, plenty of time to get some great shots. We actually ended up recreating the proposal moment with the bridge in the background. Who can really tell, right? Afterwards, I wanted to get them into each other's arms and just capture the two enjoying the moment together. It ended up working out really well and both Shane and Keri left extremely elated.
All in all, I told them that at least they'd have a fun story to tell about how Shane proposed to Keri. So, it wasn't all bad.
So, I guess the moral of the story is, make sure you give absolutely clear directions to your Uber driver if it's somewhere you haven't been before... even if it's super obvious and clearly shown on Google Maps. You can never be too careful!