My girlfriend hinted (like beating me over the head with a 2x4) that she hoped a photographer would be around to capture our impending proposal. So I did what any 21st century guy would do and hit the internet. I emailed several photographers in the tri-state area, all getting back to me with varying fees and availability. I found Neil Blake on Thumbtack. His personal website showed his experience, so I explained to him that I would like for him to secretly photograph my proposal. I detailed that I had hired a caricaturist (if youre reading this and also are in the market for a caricaturist, look no further than Jessica du Preez) that would be drawing me on one knee proposing to my girlfriend though we would be sitting next to each other on a park bench. He agreed, and we were set.
The big day was a beautiful October Sunday in Hoboken. So perfect, in fact, that there were literally dozens of people taking pictures (with what looked to me like high-end cameras). My girlfriend and I walked around the general area that I had laid out for the caricaturist to set up and for Neil to be ready to find us. I literally had no idea what Neil (or my caricaturist looked like), and so I wasnt sure if people were taking pictures of us or of the scenery (and it turned out that it was Neil taking a few of those pictures, he really did a wonderful job at being so discreet).
Once I found my caricaturist and the drawing was in progress, he would walk by non-chalantly (pretending to be one of these everyday photographers enjoying the beautiful day) and marvel at how well the drawing was coming along and ask my caricaturist if it would be alright if he could take a picture while she sketched and ask us if he could take our picture (of course it was okay! But my girlfriend was still not entirely in the know. It was all for her, and it was perfect. Neil was fantastic. I cant believe how they went above and beyond to really play the parts that I asked them to play). He walked away and took some other discreetly long-distance shots, shots from behind, everything. You can really tell the entire story from the pictures leading up to the caricature, during the caricature, after she said yes. And I think thats more than I could have hoped for when I hired him to be our photographer. After the gig was up, he brought us around for 30 minutes or so posing us against the skyline and taking literally hundreds of pictures. I really feel like I got a lot for my money, and I dont see how I would do it any differently (and that goes for not only Neil, but also Jessica).
I am still blown away by how flawless the day turned out for me and my now fiancée partly due to the fact that I did not know what Neil (nor my caricaturist, Jessica du Preez, for that matter (whom I also highly recommend, but that is for another review)) looked like, partly because I was hoping for true perfection, and partly due to the stress of getting several pieces (timing, two people (caricaturist and photographer) working together that have never even met, etc) into place without my girlfriend knowing (okay, so she knew it was coming. But she did not know how and what I had planned, so she was still very much in the dark). At the onset of this review, I had hoped that it would be more about the professionalism and expertise of Neil and less about me and the proposal, but let my excitement and joy be a testament to him. For any function at all, consider hiring Neil Blake to capture the story. He will do a superb job.