A Surprise Banff Engagement

Apr 17, 2021

What could be more romantic than taking a trip to the beautiful Alberta Rockies with your partner? A surprise Banff engagement!

I was beyond thrilled when Z reached out to me about his plan to capture his proposal to his girlfriend; he had the ring, and the location all picked out, and the last part of the plan was coordinating the photography. Read on to find out how we pulled off this romantic Banff engagement… And managed to keep it a secret!

The couple set out on a trip from Calgary to the Alberta Rockies, and along the way, Zain presented Fatima with hand-written notes and flowers to commemorate each step along their journey as a couple. Their first stop was to Lake Louise, where they explored the world-famous glacier lake and then Zain suggested that they head to Lake Minnewanka to finish the afternoon with a picnic along the shores. I arrived ahead of time and discovered that the original spot Zain and I had planned for the proposal ended up being about a 2-hour hike deep into the mountains, and there was no vehicle access, so we had to come up with a new location on the fly. There is a long wooden dock along the lakeshore, so I followed the couple at a distance until they reached the end of the pier; Zain had told Fatima he just wanted to get a couple of shots of the picturesque frozen lake surrounded by snow-covered mountains. Here, he handed her the last note and flowers… #20. Fatima read the letter, and then Zain got down on one knee. Her eyes widened, and she dropped her jaw as he presented her with the most stunning round-cut diamond engagement ring. After Fatima composed herself, she looked over her shoulder at me, the stranger with the camera. Zain explained that he had hired me to photograph the proposal and to take some celebratory photos afterwards. I presented the couple with some bubbly for a toast, and then we continued along the shoreline the taking shots on and around the breath-taking frozen lake that stretched on for miles. Zain and Fatima’s excitement and love just radiated throughout the photography session, making it so easy to capture their connection on-camera; It was truly a pleasure and honour to capture their blooming love story!


How We Planned and Pulled off the Surprise Engagement- Tips and Tricks:


Zain gave me an alias in his contact list on his phone:

This way, if Fatima asked who he was texting, or saw a notification come through, it was Zain’s friend ‘Tom” and not “Lily”.

We Shared Our Real-Time Locations on our iPhones:

Zain and I turned on location sharing so that we could track exactly where each other was at any moment during the day leading up to the proposal. This was especially important as we were in the Rocky Mountains, and it was a bit more remote.

We Communicated What Each of Us Was Wearing:

This was important since it was quite cold and windy, so in case there were many other people in the area, it made it easier for me to spot the couple and for Zain to know that it was me and not just another tourist taking photos of the landscape.

We Allowed for Flexibility in the Plan:

Zain and I were in constant communication on the day of the engagement, and when I checked in, he told me that Fatima wanted to capture more photos at Lake Louise. I was then able to hang back in Canmore and wait a bit longer before driving to Lake Minnewanka. If Zain had been on a tight timeline, Fatima might have suspected something and questioned why they had to leave Lake Louise in such a rush.

We Used the All Trails Application To Scout Locations:

Since Zain had not visited Lake Minnewanka before, we used the All Trails application to look at possible areas that would work for the proposal. One thing we failed to consider is that the picnic area was only accessible by foot, and it was a 2-hour hike. Thankfully, there was a beautiful pier that was only a quick walk away, so we were able to quickly change our plan and use that location instead.

I Used a Long Lens:

My camera set-up included using a long lens so that I was able to be further away during the surprise engagement, whereby making my presence less intrusive and distracting.


See More About How I Plan And Capture Proposals Here!



A Surprise Engagement on Lake Minnewanka, Alberta captured by Lily Laidlaw Photography.

Interested in Capturing Every Detail of Your Surprise Engagement?

Send Me a Note and Receive a Complimentary Planning Consultation


Engagement Photography


To stay connected with me as well as view some of our most beloved images,
follow us on Instagram.