Planning a surprise proposal?

surprise proposal on longboat key beach florida, engagement session on longboat key beach florida, close up of engagement ring in box

Engagements & Proposals

Looking to do a surprise proposal?

You’ve come to the right place!

If you’re planning to propose to your partner, there are probably a THOUSAND things going through your mind! How do I keep this a secret? Where should I do it? What should I bring? Should I hire a photographer? (um, YES.)

Here are my key tips on planning the ultimate proposal with Juliana Montane Photography:


One of the first things I go over with my clients is figuring out a good plan for the surprise proposal that works for everyone. And this is different almost every time! It depends on the location, how nervous you are, if you have friends or family in tow, etc. Here are a few of my methods that I always recommend first.

This plan is the simplest one, and the one with the least amount of interaction. I will get to the location we decided on and get there early to find a good spot. This can be very important, especially on the beach, so that there are not a ton of people around to get in the way. I will always let you know ahead of time of something to look out for – if I’m wearing a big hat, or have a bright-colored towel! The key from there is to get close to me, or in front of me so I have a clear view of what’s going on. Now, keep in mind that I always have a zoom lens so you don’t need to get too close! And now I wait and stalk you, hence the name of the method.
And yes, I have had instances where it was too difficult or awkward to get too close and that’s okay! I know how to slyly make my way closer if needed.

The first time I used this method was on Siesta Key beach and it was a very crowded weekend evening. Although– I have used this when there was NO ONE on the beach but the 4 of us, so keep that in mind too… This method allows for closer photos of the actual proposal.
This method requires some interaction. I will get to the beach early with a friend or my partner. Once we spot you, we go walking down the beach in the other direction with the intention of coming back and walking past you two (whether you are walking as well, or if you have a blanket setup). When we approach you, I’ll ask if you can take a photo of us with one of our phones. When your partner is taking a photo of us, you will get down on a knee behind her. Once she hands the phone over, I will grab my camera and start shooting!
*TWO THINGS: 1. You have to remember to keep back so that your partner is the one that grabs the phone to take our photo. 2. I will have my camera slung behind me but don’t overthink it– they never notice!


From the very beginning, I always make sure to ask what is the best form of communication. I will NEVER just start texting or calling you. Once we confirm a plan & location, I will let you know that I’m going radio silent until we get closer to the day of the surprise proposal.
For you, the proposer, I think it is always good to have at least one person in the know that you’re proposing! It helps not to keep it a secret all to yourself! Plus, then you can always plan a surprise dinner or party for afterward with your friends & families!


This is up to you, my friend. To each their own! If you’re on your way to dinner, it might be suspicious to bring a blanket, champagne, etc. But if you are there to sit and watch the sunset, take advantage! Bring a blanket, bring some bubbly and relax!


Alright – let’s talk locations! I will say that 95% of the surprise proposals that I have photographed are on the beach and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! Who wouldn’t want a beautiful sunset on the water? Here are my favorite beach locations:

This is the quietest out of all the locations. Every time I photograph here, I have seen no more than about 5 people.
View this Longboat Key Surprise Proposal

Longboat key beach proposal, surprise proposal photographer

Lido Beach has a few options but my favorites are South Lido Beach and the small access closest to St. Armands Circle!
View this Lido Key Beach Surprise Proposal

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This is going to be the most crowded option, especially if you go to the main area. I would recommend going to one of the tiny beach accesses away from the main public beach.
View this Siesta Key Beach Surprise Proposal

siesta key beach proposal, surprise proposal photographer

Turtle Beach is definitely a hidden gem that everyone forgets about, including me sometimes! It’s quiet, easy to park, and just south of Siesta Key Beach.
View this Turtle Beach Surprise Proposal

turtle beach proposal, surprise proposal photographer

And seriously, You got this.


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